Have you ever wondered what life is like as a construction worker in the UAE? Are you planning on becoming one someday? The best way to answer these questions is to experience it yourself. However, while you’re still waiting for that opportunity, the second best thing is to learn from the construction workers/labourers themselves; in particular, through the stories they share using the YouTube platform. As part of our OFW stories, we feature videos/vlogs of Overseas Filipino Workers who give a glimpse of their lives working in the Middle East.
Many people might think that Filipinos or actually any expat who is working abroad has already made it “big time”. But they what they don’t realize is that amidst the money that these expats send to their families back home is the hard work and dedication that is needed to be away and to adjust in a new country and working environment. It’s really not easy.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFWs in the videos below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFWs by commenting on their videos on their accounts.
What it’s like to be a labourer / construction worker in the United Arab Emirates – Three OFW construction workers share their stories
This article shares the stories of three construction workers, sharing what a typical day at work looks like. You will learn through these stories that Filipino workers are really persevering and dedicated, and are well-loved by other nationalities because of their wonderful qualities.
Also Read: Cost of Living in Dubai as a Single OFW
Construction at Sea
Construction worker is a very broad profession, in the sense that there are all sorts of construction jobs catering to all sorts of infrastructure.
In the video below, Rudy Mendez shares his life as a construction worker and shows a day’s work of their company’s current project involving building a huge bridge.
Here are some facts about Rudy Mendez’s construction worker life:
- Accommodation – standard labor accommodation in a building with several rooms, and several double deck beds per room. There is a common kitchen shown as well, with lots of stoves so many people can cook at the same time.
- Work project – Using a special device, the construction workers measured the diameter of a foundation which was already set in place in the water.
- Rudy Mendez mentioned that supposedly, there was a platform to make the measurement easier, but they had to resort to riding a small boat towards the foundations.
- Work project number 2 – After the previous job, they proceeded to a different area but the same project. Here they installed thermocouple cables to the posts that are a major part of the bridge.
Rudy Mendez mentioned that they will probably work beyond their working hours, but that’s okay because they will be getting overtime pay.
Building in the Middle of the City
In this video from the YouTube Channel Casterbal TV, the vlogger gives a tour of the unfinished building that has already taken shape but is probably still halfway into full completion.
Casterbal TV’s vlogger has been working in UAE for 13 years already.
Because of his experience, he’s really close with the owner, which is Lebanese. He now works as one of 5 engineers for this particular project.
There is a temporary office set-up in the ground floor, where meetings with clients, consultants and sub-contractors happen on a weekly basis.
Each Monday, they meet with the sub-contractors, while every Thursday, a meeting with the client and consultants take place.
The vlogger mentioned that while his salary is low compared to others, his job is secured anyway, and he knows after a year that he has a job to go back to, unlike others who receive higher salaries but may no longer have a job the following year.
He mentioned the following reasons why OFWs are loved in UAE:
- Filipinos are kind
- Filipinos are happy
- Filipinos are hard working.
As a result, the vlogger mentioned that in general, OFWs are treated differently, in a good way, compared to other expat nationalities.
Construction During Challenging Times
In this YouTube video by the channel, Dojiemar hakika vLogg, we can see that our OFW construction workers are working despite the current health crisis.
They are working with masks, though, as a precautionary measure.
The following is a summary of construction work facts mentioned in the video:
- A good majority of the construction workers are Filipinos.
- Since the construction job is in its early stages, there is no resting area yet, and so they eat and rest in a tree shade but the weather is quite hot.
- The video shows the construction workers gathering huge steel parts used for the foundation of a building.
- They are joined by sub-contractors working on the electrical aspect of the project.
- The construction workers ride a bus to go back home; their temperatures are checked before they are allowed inside their accommodation.
- In one of the comments mentioned below the video, the vlogger mentioned that he is receiving a basic salary of 1,500 AED per month, equivalent to 21,000 pesos more or less.
A job at construction is not that easy; it involves a lot of physical labor, but you have to be mentally fit as well because precision is the key. These OFWs are truly heroes for working hard in UAE just to give their families back home in the Philippines a better life.
We hope you get a better idea of the life in the Middle East. Life as a labourer is tough but somebody has to do it. The important thing is how we can utilize our time while we are abroad and save money so we can invest for our future. We applaud these Filipinos and to all the labourers who have built the city to what it is now.
For others, may this post serve as better insight so you will see the condition and how things are if you have plans of working overseas as a labourer.