Mosque cleaners slog without weekly day off

March 09, 2013 - 2:16:48 am

BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB

DOHA: Many workers responsible for cleaning state-run mosques and toilets therein claim they do not get weekly day off. 

Some of them told The Peninsula yesterday that they worked seven days a week, 365 days a year, without being given any break. 

The recently revised work schedule has worsened their condition, the stressed workers said, adding they were not getting sufficient time to finish their work. 

Some of the workers of a Doha-based pest control and cleaning company rued that even if they get one day off every month, it will be like ‘Eid’ for them.

The company has recently been awarded a contract for mosque and toilet cleaning services by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

“We do not get any weekly day off or sick leave. The company deducts our salary if we are unwell and take leave. If we remain sick for two days, we get only a day’s wages, which is subject to providing a medical certificate. If no medical certificate is provided, there is no sick leave,” said an employee of the company.

Most cleaners have been recruited from the Indian subcontinent. They are on a three-year job contract for QR1,000 per month, plus food and accommodation. They will be given air tickets to go home after the successful completion of their contract. 

But after arriving here, they claimed, they did not get all that was promised at the time of recruitment. 

“Food is not complementary. If we take food from the company mess, they deduct QR300 from our wages. Since many of us do not like the kind of meals served in the kitchen, we have started cooking ourselves,” he added. 

The cleaners work for 10 hours — from 10am to 8pm. Duties include five times cleaning of toilets and ablution areas and  vacuum cleaning of prayer halls and other areas of mosques after every prayer. 

One of the cleaners said their accommodation in Umm Salal is very far from the mosques where they work. “Daily commuting is not only tiresome but also time consuming.

“According to the new timetable, our duty begins at 11am and lasts until 9pm which has made things more hectic than before. It is becoming increasingly difficult to complete the entire cleaning work before the call for noon prayer because shuttle buses drop all of us at one place near Lulu Hypermarket instead of our mosques. It takes another 20 minutes to walk to the mosques,” a cleaner who works at a mosque in the Matar Qadeem area. 

He said after hectic work and daily commuting, they don’t feel like doing anything except lying on the bed after they reach their accommodation at around 11pm.

“But we have to prepare dinner, clean utensils and finish other personal works before going to bed.

“At times it becomes so hectic that we do not have time for breakfast. So we prefer to sleep.” 

They said the rooms at their accommodation are spacious, and they have been provided with washing machines.  

“Every room is shared by six people, with three bunk-beds, and we are still left with enough space to sit for dinner. 

“What we need is some break from work; even if it is given on a fortnightly or monthly basis, we can have a day for rest,” said Mohammed Ali (not his real name).The Peninsula

 
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