Social Activist to the Rescue of Mangalorean Clifford Joseph Rebello facing Injustice with Abu Dhabi Employer

Social Activist to the Rescue of Mangalorean Clifford Joseph Rebello facing Injustice with Abu Dhabi Employer

Mangaluru: As of lately we have been hearing stories of Indian workers being tortured or not paid proper salaries, food or accommodation by the Gulf employers or cheated by agents who duped them with promises etc. So, What is it like to work in any of the Gulf countries presently? Has modernization replaced the ‘traditional’ Islamic rules or does doctrine govern all others present in the country? The beauty and working conditions of any of these countries attract a lot of expats to go to the Gulf. And India is no different. But sadly once they land in Gulf countries their dreams are shattered. Even though there are a number of Indians working in Gulf countries, and a number of them ready to move for an opportunity- but for many of them life has become a hard and a nightmare to live there.

But what is it like working in the Gulf? Is the scenario the same as depicted in the articles and news items or is there something that needs to be discovered? The above questions can only be answered by someone who has the experience of staying and working in the Gulf. Looking at the Positive Side Of Working In The Gulf-there are a number of benefits that someone working in the Gulf can experience. Some of them being: Higher salary packages; Cultural Experience etc. One of the expats working in the UAE states in her blog that working in the Gulf is an enriching experience not just in terms of wealth, but also culturally.

While The Other Side Of The Story working in the Gulf- With higher salaries comes a high cost of living and for many no salary at all as per the present situation. Labour laws until recently (only in a few countries) did not favour the expats working in the region. Changing jobs or returning home is a difficult process. Your sponsor, i.e. your employer, has full control of making you stay or letting you go. Also, the problems faced by white-collar professionals in the Middle East are far less than what the low wage workers face. The low-wage workers are the ones that see the other side of the story. Abysmal workplace conditions for these people have made headlines time and again. According to a survey, Indians working in the Gulf countries are 10 times more likely to die than in any other country in the world. Indians living in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia face the worst conditions.

According to some reports, between 2011 and 2015, 1,387 Indian workers lost their lives in Qatar. The country has also received severe criticism for the work conditions that prevail on the construction site of FIFA World Cup 2022. The government has maintained that recent deaths of Indians in the Gulf have been caused due to natural reasons, which seems unacceptable in light of the data released. According to the report, the maximum number of NRIs die in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Indians working in the US and the UK experience better health and financial conditions.

In conclusion, in my perspective, Gulf countries no doubt have a lot of exposure to give you if you’re looking for a job at the mid or managerial level. For the labour class, however, while the money might be more than what they get here, recent figures that have come out make these countries unsafe. Though the government of India promises to look after every issue that Indians working abroad face, the results are yet to be seen. It remains to be seen therefore, whether PM Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar will go on to improve the working conditions in the Gulf countries, especially for labourers.

Here we have yet another example of our own Mangalorean, Clifford Joseph Rebello, aged 54 years, a resident of Kankanady, Mangaluru, who having worked for years in Abu Dhabi has faced injustice from his employer, and a Social Activist on behalf of Clifford Joseph Rebello, is trying his best and also seeking the help of Indian Government and citizens of Mangaluru in getting justice to Clifford.

Following is the letter written to the External Affairs Minister-Govt of India:

To: Honourable Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishanker, External Affairs Minister, Govt. of India,

Respected Sir,

I wish to bring to your notice about Clifford Joseph Rebello’s case here below, requesting your good office to intervene/investigate through our Embassy in UAE for a quick speedy solution:- This is to share the plight of An INDIAN CITIZEN who is undergoing critical situation due to injustice by his Employer in Abu Dhabi since the past 3 years and totally penniless in this part of the world. You can say that his survival is a miracle as I have witnessed this after meeting him in Abu Dhabi on 4th of October, 2019.

His name is CLIFFORD JOSEPH REBELLO, 54 years old native of Kankanady, Mangaluru, Karnataka State who is later relocated to Mumbai. A married man with a wife and an 8-year-old son whose family also lives with his 82 years’ old mother who is badly sick and ailing.

To summarize his pathetic situation – He came to Dubai in July 2014 and since then never got a chance to go home in India. The reason behind this situation is that his Employer Coppins Holdings illegally terminated him in the course of the employment; never paid his salary for years together and been holding his Indian Passport illegally. He had no option than to open a case against the employer and was referred to Dubai Court of First Instance who passed the judgement on 27/11/2017 in Clifford’s favour and awarded AED. 67,000/-.

Since the awarded money was not deposited in the Court by the Employer and that the overtime hours were not considered/calculated, Clifford had to do an Appeal in the Dubai Court on 27/11/2017. The Court of Appeal also passed the judgement in Clifford’s favour and on 1/11/2018 awarded an amount of AED 90,041/-. So the total awarded money after considering all the fees is AED 93,191/- which the Employer has to deposit in Court and in return Court will handover to Clifford along with his Passport.

Unfortunately, the Employer disrespectfully has disregarded the Court Order for over five months now from the Court set date of 27/3/2019 for the Execution Order. As stated by Clifford, the Employer quite often kept sending his feelers to threaten Clifford to leave the country and that he will be tortured by various means if he did not obey. Clifford responded that he will keep a note of their threatening and said that he may commit suicide jumping from their building if they try those ways. This is as stated by Clifford.

Further, Clifford had appealed to the Indian Embassy (Ref. Letter to then-Ambassador Mr. N.S. Suri and to various reminders thereon) and have recently written to H.E. Pawan Kapoor narrating his stance and requesting legal help from the Embassy. His request letter was written to Ambassador and copied to R. Rajamurugan, Dinesh Kumar, Rajhans Baluni, Labour Consul Javed, Community Affairs and most of the departments he could notify as far as possible. No action was taken until last week when he got a call from Ramesh Chander Community Affairs on 6/10/2019 (after my meet) asking the whereabouts of his Employer. Clifford immediately sent all available details to the Community Affairs of the Embassy who have said will look into the matter. However, the past experience has put Clifford in a comfortless situation.

Five years of a lonely pathetic situation in this part of the world, without money for meager basic needs; be it food or shelter or few pennies to call and speak to his family, how would a human being survive? is a question to be raised. How many days can any friends help or support his daily living, is another matter of concern. However, since the respectful Court has awarded in his favour, he could borrow some money from few well-wishers on the pretext that he could repay once he may get from the Employer (deposits in court). What if not? Where shall he go? How can he repay?

No one can answer unless the Government of India intervenes to his rescue and confirms their solidarity of protection to a respected citizen in this situation. When the Government of Dubai has supported him so much in his favour for all his rights, now the Government of India should do the rest. They need to take this case further to the next level in getting the awarded money from the Employer. Or else our Mangalorean Community should come forward in finding a solution to Clifford’s case either by appointing a lawyer to do the needful formalities or help him with monetary support to make him join his family back home. This is my humble request.

Dear Sir, the above is purely an extract of my discussion with Clifford Joseph Rebello when I met him recently on his request as a fellow Indian. I have attached all the writings and documents provided by him in support of his plea and this request is purely based on these documents and my personal meeting with him in an attempt to help him selflessly. Kindly look into this matter on humanitarian grounds and your help/support in this matter in whatever way you could will be highly appreciated.

Thanks and regards,
– A Social Activist on behalf of Clifford Joseph Rebello

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the Social Activist. The opinions expressed in no way reflect the views of, and does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Clifford Joseph Rebello-Abu Dhabi (1)

Clifford Joseph Rebello-Abu Dhabi (2)

Clifford Joseph Rebello-Abu Dhabi (3)

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Vinson Vaz

I would like to respond to the situation faced by Clifford and as portrayed by Shodan who really went out of the way to let people know the situation faced by Clifford. As a lawyer by profession and presently heading the International department of one of the oldest law firm in the State of Kuwait and have been exposed to such related matters in relevance with the labor law, I would like to stress that Clifford had to hire the services of a lawyer for legal representation before the Court of First Instance and even the Appeal court. Please be… Read more »

shodhan prasad

Thanks for your views and advise. Clifford is not in a position to appoint a lawyer as he is penniless. Now Indian Embassy should take this matter up hiring a lawyer or any other move. Have interacted with them today and they assured all help.

Vinson Vaz

Hello Shodhan,
Am glad they Indian embassy officials has agreed to assist. They do have a list of UAE lawyers on their panel who will take up the matter pro-bono.

francis lobo Mangalore

I do not know whether Mr. Rebello has engaged a lawyer or not. But with the meager compensation of 69000 Dirhams for the past four years what lawyer fee he can afford. This is tragic. I have seen Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis coming to these countries for meager salaries and their contracting companies exploiting them. The external affairs minister says they can help, but they will not unless a social activist pressurizes them. They may even ask forego the compensation and return back to India. I heard someone of my relative not getting a salary for the past 18 months. He has experience… Read more »