Friday, April 28, 2006

Labor issues heat up in UAE

There's a long, hot summer in front of us.

In this morning's news:

Labor protest by thousands turns to violence at Dubai Marina construction site: "Government officials said they are prepared to deport all the men if they do not return to work. . . . On Wednesday evening, more than 2,000 labourers blocked the company's construction site at Dubai Marina and smashed buses, company cars and equipment, setting off a four-hour stand off with riot police. ... Workers said the company cut about Dh200 from their wages last November, leaving unskilled helpers with about Dh450 a month. The men said the food was unhygienic and that their rest time was reduced, from 30 minutes to 8 minutes. ... Lt Bilal [member of the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs in Dubai (PCLAD)] said the company began using punch cards last year, reducing workers' salaries 'because they are being paid for the hours they work.' "

The Khaleej Times report on the same events is here. A second Gulf News article on the protests is here. And here is a report by an Indian newspaper.

Summer heat is on the way. Are we ready? Here's how the Khaleej Times puts it in a editiorial today: "From May end onwards, upto the middle of September, the temperature is above 43 degrees on a daily basis. And the humidity levels. It should make one more concerned about following the best systems and norms. The authorities have made a good gesture by banning construction work during the peak afternoon hours. But, more can be done. ... Dear readers, the reason why I do not speak about other cities in the Gulf, and only Dubai, is that Dubai is taken as the best example for the rest of the region. Dubai can show the way to others."


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