Sunday, April 23, 2006

The UAE takes action on the labor front

Plan to make firms pay wages on time

Improved labour housing 'across UAE soon'

Reports on unstable labour conditions are unjustifiable - Unstable: there's a euphemism for you. But even in the denials, progress can be seen.

In a related story on the labor front: Labourers incite workers for 'mafia' practices. Where I come from we call these people lawyers. Those are the people you hire if you want your contract enforced, and if they take your case and they win a judgment in your favor you pay them for their efforts.

Where I come from, contract violations are rare because the consequences of violating a contract are sufficiently severe for the party involved. Usually you don't need a lawyer to get your due. Here we see an epidemic of violations. The "punishment" for not paying your workers is to make you pay them. That's pretty much it. The violating firm does little damage to its own reputation with the labor pool back in the subcontinent. Instead, the cumulative news of these violations do get back to the subcontinent and they harm the reputation of all UAE employers.

In other words, when enforcement doesn't function those employers responsible are not held accountable. But there is an accounting, and it falls on the shoulders of every UAE employer. Most employers in the UAE keep their promises. They are suffering in silence as a minority of employers spoils the collective image.

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