UAE workers on strike

This video says about itself:

Dubai‘s Dirty Little Secret

Aug 5, 2007

The Middle East’s boomtown is built on the backs of exploited foreign workers.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dubai workers continue strike into third day

Monday 20 May 2013

by Our Foreign Desk

Thousands of workers employed by Dubai’s largest construction company Arabtec stayed out on strike for a third day to back wage demands today.

It was a rare labour protest in the Gulf emirate where trade unions are banned.

An strikers’ spokesman said that the walkout began on Saturday and the workers were determined not to end it without a pay rise.

“They are upset at the low wages and also about not being paid for overtime work,” one striker said, claiming that workers at his site were only paid between £105 and £124 a month.

“The protest started in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Workers in Dubai have also joined,” he said.

“We have not been working for the past three days,” added one worker from a labour camp in Dubai Investments Park.

“Staff salary was increased but not ours. We want at least a 200 dirham (£35) increase in our salaries,” said the worker, who earns a monthly wage of Dh800 (£143). People have come from the labour court and negotiations are on.”

Most manual workers in Dubai are migrant contract labourers from south Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, and strikes are rare, though not unheard of.

The strike is not the first labour dispute to affect Arabtec. In 2011, 70 workers were arrested on charges of instigating a 3,000-man protest over wage demands.

And in November 2007 around 30,000 Arabtec workers went on a 10-day strike to demand a pay increase.


Arabtec workers back at work after protest

Thousands were demanding overtime pay and a salary increase

By Bassma Al Jandaly, Senior Reporter

Published: 00:24 May 21, 2013

Dubai: Thousands of workers employed by Dubai’s largest construction firm, Arabtec, who stopped work demanding a salary increase and overtime pay are back at their worksites after being promised their issues will be sorted out.

On Saturday the Arabtec workers in Abu Dhabi stopped work while the company’s Dubai workers joined in on Sunday — also demanding they receive overtime pay and a salary increase.

The workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries stayed in their accommodation.

7 thoughts on “UAE workers on strike

  1. UAE migrant workers end strike

    Thousands of Asian migrant labourers ended a four-day strike on Wednesday. They were demanding a wage rise.

    The action is extremely rare as strikes and unions are banned in the United Arab Emirates. Asian migrant labourers—who make up most of the workforce—are super-exploited, with many receiving no more than $250 a month.

    The workers were employed by the Arabtec construction company on a new track for Dubai Metro. In a statement, the company threatened that “this unwarranted stoppage had been instigated by a minority group who will be held accountable for their actions.”


  2. Immigrant workers talk after strike

    Friday 24 May 2013

    Immigrant workers at UAE firm Arabtec spoke out about their modern-day slavery yesterday following a rare strike earlier in the week.

    Trade unions and strikes are banned in the oil-rich Gulf states and the super-exploited labourers are not allowed to change jobs without their sponsor’s approval, while bosses can have them deported.

    But that didn’t stop thousands downing tools on Saturday over their poverty wages.

    They held out for four days before police forced them back to work.

    The UAE now plans to deport at least 200 of them.

    Workers told al-Jazeera yesterday that many were earning less than £150 a month and were banned from taking annual leave.

    One worker said he had not received a wage in his nine years at Arabtec.

    Another said that if they tried to form a union the leaders would be deported.


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