Friday, April 07, 2006

Groups inciting worker protests :: Gulf News

Dubai: The Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai warned that an organised section of workers is deliberately provoking fellow workers to protest against their conditions even though such issues can be resolved through other means, says Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).
. . .
It seems that an organised systematic method of provocation exists.
You know what? This analysis is off target. Consider:

1. "such issues can be resolved through other means" if there is the government will to do so. That will has been lacking. Laws without enforcement are meaningless.

2. It's not easy to organize large groups to work for the common good of the group. You have to really motivate them to become a coalition. Consider the serfs of Russia as an example. Or the Iraqi people under Saddam.

3. You can't provoke unless the perception of injustice exists, and it is easiest to create the perception of injustice if injustice is the reality. Provocation (symptom) is being confused with the illness.

So what has motivated the workers to act as one? What "groups" are really "provoking" them?
Answer: Their malfeasant employers:

Item, same day's Gulf News: 'Construction companies flouting health and safety regulations'

Item, next day's Gulf News: Worker wages battle for years to get wages

The UAE's decades long failure to create effective enforcement of labor contracts has planted the seeds. Here is the bitter fruit, facilitated by having masses of workers sleep in worker enclaves:
"the huge worker accommodation have been producing leaderships that can speak on their behalf and can incite them to protest, whenever needed," said ECSSR.

"This is not confined to a particular company but has become a phenomenon in many companies, which could be due to the emergence of labour organisations working behind the scenes," said ECSSR.

"Such a scenario can be dangerous, if it surfaces, which we hope will never happen," it said.
Yes, let's hope. Hope solves problems.

Speaking of problems, several of you have asked why The Emirates Economist has not opined on the news that the UAE will have a 3,000 dirham per month minimum wage for nationals who have dropped out of high school. I've been slow to post on the subject because, unlike other labor stories (see above) this one has no consequences. None. Even if the government enforces the minimum wage. Unemployed nationals already are unemployed because they have declined to accept job offers that exceed 3,000 dirhams a month; going on government welfare or the welfare of your extended family is simply too tempting.

Note, I am not even taking the classical economics position that raising the minimum wage causes firm to reduce employment. Even if firms are forced to make nationals offers you'll find few nationals will accept offers at 3,000 dirhams a month.

I may be proved wrong, but I don't see this minimum wage having any effect at all. It's a diversion. It's a sop. It's all more Emiratization talk, but not action.

Get back to me when the minimum wage is raised to 10,000 dirhams per month and I will tell you what I think then. That will have consequences and they won't be pretty. If your problem is that your people are not taking education seriously, why would you want to confirm to them that they can get ahead without education?

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Blogger sandsOfTime said...

I have read some of ECSSR's so called "Research". I have seen middle-school children write research papers that are far superior to any trash that comes from the above "Research" centre.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous said...

This cannot have effect in actual fact, that's what I consider.

11:51 PM  

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