26 September 2005

New Developments on the Labour Front

More protests have taken place in Dubai by workers who were demanding their overdue wages.

This time they were 100 Egyptian labourers working for Kuwait Control Company who hadn't been paid for three months. They staged a sit-in in Al Ghusais, an industrial part of town, and were paid eventually.

The late payment and bad treatment of workers has suddenly become a hot topic, with opinion pieces calling for fair treatment and the Ministry of Labour finally getting beyond merely repeating that they will consider all complaints, but then requiring formalities (and payments for form-filling and submission) and only considering a claim if the wages are two months overdue.

What seems to be exciting most criticism is the fact that not paying workers on time makes the UAE look bad to the world. The country's reputation is at stake, therefore something must be done. The fact that these workers are housed in shacks and paid a pittance is curiously not the issue nearly as much as the idea that a local company lessens the credibility of the country as a whole in the eyes of the global community. As long is something changes, I suppose...

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