Slavery in Dubai is as normal as blue sky and wet sea. And you can't complain about it. Just yesterday a five-day strike involving thousands of construction workers came to an end. Without results.

So what does the government do about it? "Workers protesting over minimum wage issues in Abu Dhabi should understand their demands are illegal according to current UAE labour law", said the labour officials.

There is no minimum wage. So even if you pay a little over nothing, thats perfectly okay. They demanded minimum wage of 1,000 dirhams (~272$) and their request was flatly rejected. Even 1,000 dirhams is a salary which is very hard to get by with, not to mention living a normal life. So its perfectly legal not pay salaries, illegal to complain about it.

These people don't have money to go back home. Before coming to Dubai they are promised a lot of money and god knows what else, and they are charged thousands of dirhams for the "service" to get them to Dubai. In order to get this money they sell much of what they own, spend their savings and borrow money where they can. When they come here they realize they have been tricked into slavery and they can't afford to pay back the loans they took or go back home.

Right now the government has the power to do something about it, but they choose not to (problem has been there for years, if they really wanted to do something about it, it would have been done). Because that would "ruin" the economy. If you start paying human wages to the labourers, the cost of all real estate developments (worth billions) will go way up and the bubble of Dubai is broken.

Yesterday in many parts of the world, including Dubai, there was a march against hunger. An initiative I support. According to a local newspaper nearly 10,000 people attended the event. If only so many people would voice their opinions against the slavery in the country they live in.
Of course, saying something against the government in this country is a risky thing to do...


Gautam said...

Hey Peep, Gautam are you buddy..?? Hmmm...were you there for the walk at the Zabeel Park...?? Cheers


Peep said...

Hey dude! No, I was not there, I read about it from 7Days.

Gautam said...

Hmm... I see. I was there, it was a lot of fun! It was really well organized.

pj said...

I actually think it's good that they refused to raise those workers' wages. Call me a heartless human being if you want but if they gave them what they asked then every other worker across the city would say "hey, wait a sec, why did they get that and not me?". Imagine the chaos then. If they were to give them a raise then they'd have to give every worker in the city a raise too. I think a minimum wage system would be good since this way people could see a certain standard they'd have to go by. Aswell strict laws protecting workers and inspectors to go around the labour camps and make sure they're in good condition.
Problems like these aren't fixed overnight though. I've heard the number of inspectors will be increased from 80 to 2000. That sounds good, hopefully things will get better for these poor guys.