Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gulfnews: Labour needs laws. And fast

More laws? No. More resources to enforce existing contracts? Yes.

Actually, I've argued that what would really help is fewer laws, such as the law that does not allow firms to hire workers from other firms. The core of the problem is too many laws, and lack of effective enforcement of the terms and conditions to which workers and firms (or their recruiting agents) have agreed. If individual workers could change jobs when they were dissatisfied, then they would not be driven to collective action as their only recourse. And if firms could go onto the local market and hire workers, their workers would not be able to grab them by the short and curlies. It works both ways.

The government seems to recognize my point:
Mubarak said the Labour Ministry allowed him to "hire workers from the local market, if necessary, to continue work."

Labour law forbids companies from employing workers they do not sponsor, but officials made an exception because "they did not approve of the sabotage these people intend," he said.

"Dubai's economy will not be damaged by these kinds of people."

He said "foreign workers" also incited the men, without providing details. "Why did these men riot two and a half years after beginning work, as the project was nearing completion?"
Get rid of the law that prevents workers from changing jobs. That would defuse the situation that is threatening - I'm not saying it, the government is - the security of the UAE.

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