At the start of Ramadan in early July, the municipality began handing out orange caps that match the reflective uniforms that outdoor workers wear.
Most of these workers come from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or other Southeast Asian countries, where jobs are scarce. And many are here under dubious circumstances.
In recent years, the public has become more critical of unfair working conditions, and laws designed to protect against such transgressions are gaining traction, even if they aren’t always well enforced.
In particular, employers have been criticized for making migrant laborers suffer under the hot sun in summer, even during Ramadan, when Muslim tradition dictates that they can neither eat nor drink from sunrise to sunset for a full month.
They get a break between 12.30pm and 3.00pm, but the days are hot and hard all the same.
3,000 caps equipped with a fan powered by two mini solar panels distributed to workers in response are designed to reduce stress and fatigue, The National reports.
“Along with the mandatory midday break, this will help our employees endure the harsh climate,” Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of the municipality’s Waste Management Department, told the paper.
We’re not convinced that the hats do much more than embarrass the men who are made to wear them; even Saifaie acknowledged that the caps are not the most ideal solution.
Still, even if the caps won’t provide as much comfort as a nice cool room in which to take regular breaks, they at least demonstrate some measure of good will towards the employees, and other government offices have been encouraged to treat their workers similarly.
Other employers in Dubai have no such qualms.
Gulf News recently reported that workers in Jebel Ali are required to sleep in dreadfully hot rooms that are “burning.” They are also small and cramped, despite laws which call for living quarters that provide each worker with a minimum amount of space.
:: The National
Image via Dubai Municipality