ABU DHABI // Workers have demanded action to improve the quality of food served in their labour accommodation.
The National visited three camps to speak to labourers living in Icad, International City Abu Dhabi in Mussaffah, and Workers City 1 and 2 in Al Mafraq.
“Because of poorly cooked khobuz [bread] I developed digestive disorders,” said Zakir Hussain, 40, who lives in Icad.
“Caterers mix too much maida [bleached wheat flour] with wheat flour, which causes gastric ailments,” he claimed.
Mr Hussain has lived in Abu Dhabi for eight years and works as a mason. He said there were separate meals cooked for Bangladeshis, Chinese and Filipinos at the camp.
“There is one food for Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese Muslims, while different for non-Muslims, and this is good,” he said.
But expatriates from Nepal wanted more.
“We are workers and don’t have that much wages to eat outside, so if the management arranges separate food for us, it will be good,” said Sita Ram, who also lives at Icad, and earns Dh800 a month.
Shafeeq Mian, a Bangladeshi expatriate, said: “In Al Raha camp, outside food is not allowed, while other camps don’t object.”
He said that whatever food was cooked was not prepared well and was tasteless.
“When we complained about the poor quality of food, the caterers just said that ‘thousands of people eat it gladly, only you have a problem’.”
Mr Mian said he had not eaten the chicken served at the camp for the past six months because it was poorly cooked. “They just boil chicken and serve, which is tasteless, how you can eat that?” he said.
“When we go to the dining hall, we take along green chillies, onion and pickle to at least swallow the badly prepared food.”
But not everyone had complaints.
Icad resident Zaid Ansari, 20, said: “The food is good and they are allowed to take their own food into their accommodation to eat.”
A labourer from Workers City 1, Maroof Hussain, was happy with the food quality. “The food is good and they allow us to take outside food inside our accommodation,” he said.