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Thursday24 July 2014

Use authorities to get your wages, RMJM boss advises staff

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RMJM engineers lodge claims with Dubai’s Ministry of Labour

A director of RMJM has urged staff in Dubai owed wages by the firm to use local labour laws to recover missing money.

Ray Crane is the managing director of RMJM’s engineering business, which is based in the same office as the firm’s better known architecture arm.

Ray Crane, RMJM

Ray Crane, RMJM

Its engineering division employs around 75 people and is currently in the process of being sold to US firm Ted Jacob Engineering which has a number of offices around the world including Dubai’s neighbour Abu Dhabi.

In an email seen by BD, and sent out to all engineering staff, Crane, who joined the firm in 2009 after spending nearly 30 years at Arup, took the unusual step of sharing his concerns at ongoing salary problems with chief executive Peter Morrison and group commercial director Declan Thompson by copying them in.

He told engineers: “I regret to, yet again, inform you that there has been no communication from senior RMJM management on the status of April’s salaries.

“As previously advised, the resident RMJM directors have done everything in their powers to obtain an update but to my knowledge have not received a reply. I can offer no explanation on the actions of RMJM on this matter.

“Employees in the UAE have protection under UAE labour law and it is there to be used in these circumstances.”

Just two days after Crane sent his email, more than 30 staff took his advice and lodged claims with the Ministry of Labour (MoL) in Dubai last Thursday. Because of the volume of claims BD understands the MoL visited RMJM’s office last Sunday and has now asked it to provide evidence that staff are being paid.

BD understands around a third of the 75 engineering staff have been paid their missing wages for April with one source putting the reason down to the influence of three clients – Emirates Aluminium, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company and Aviation Club Hotel – who have asked RMJM provide proof that RMJM staff on their jobs are being paid.

In a letter sent in the midde of March to Emriates Aluminium, where RMJM is carrying out work on its smelter complex in Abu Dhabi, Morrison wrote: “I understand fully the concerns you have expressed in relation to ensuring the continuity of the RMJM team working on this project.

“I would welcome your assistance to accelerate payment of our current invoices which will greatly assist our efforts in meeting salary commitments. In return for this I am happy to confirm that RMJM staff deployed to your project will immediately be paid any outstanding salary due on receipt by us of the payment from you.”

One source said: “Only the engineers on those three jobs have been paid because they don’t want to upset these clients. The rest are still missing their wages.” It is understood staff working at its architecture business in Dubai have been paid their wages for April.

RMJM declined to comment.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • "I would welcome your assistance to accelerate payment of our current invoices which will greatly assist our efforts in meeting salary commitments" = We have no money

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  • Actually Nigel its the reverse. To pay staff, companies need to pay RMJM on time or as agreed which simply does not happen. on paper RMJM are rock solid but its the problem of converting the invoices into actual solid cash that is the problem.

    Companies are requesting confirmation that the staff are being paid, yet do not pay there invoices on time or in some cases several years late or even not at all. And we are not talking about companies who are struggling themselves, were talking about organizations and individuals who are not strapped for cash in the slightest.

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  • There is only one way to get money out of clients like that and that is to stop all work on the projects in question till they pay up. Why isn't RMJM doing this I wonder? Why are they providing staff to work for clients that aren't paying? They are messing their staff around because they don't want to upset their clients. What about upsetting their own staff for godsake?

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  • Nirmeth

    I don’t disagree with the basis of your message, but I have no sympathy with a consultant that will continue to works 60/90 days past a due payment…especially in the Middle East. Granted, some of the financial issues may be legacy items from 3/4/5 years ago, but whether it was 5 months or 5 years ago, running up millions of dirhams of debt is financial mis-management.

    A financially sound business will have cash reserves to keep the running of the firm for a good 60 days, after which there is the option of emergency credit lines with the banks. The fact that RMJM are either unable or unwilling to utilise these options, even with the horrendous press coverage, smacks of both financial and professional mis-management.

    I can sense the negative connotations of the message as I type, but it infuriates me to see the once good name of RMJM dragged through the mud through no fault of the hard working staff on the ground.

    I would also like to congratulate Ray for being open and honest with the information (or lack thereof) available and having the best intentions of the staff at heart. Take note Peter & Declan!

    NH

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  • Who's fault is it this time?

    R.I.P - RMJM

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  • when I worked at RMJM Dubai, when UAE clients did not pay, the Chief Executive flew out from Scotland and sat in their reception until a cheque was produced. It worked.

    Perhaps the current regime should never have voted him out.

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