Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Friday, 2 November 2007

Dubai workers' strike called off

Riot police at labour camp at Jebel Ali Industrial Area in Dubai - 27/10/2007
Workers were seeking higher pay and better living conditions

A strike over pay and conditions by thousands of foreign construction workers in the Gulf state of Dubai has been resolved, authorities say.

Work on the site of the world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai, had been disrupted after the largely Indian workforce stayed away.

But they have returned following visits from the labour ministry, police and an Indian consulate representative.

Dubai's rapid development has depended heavily on foreign workers.

Minimum wage call

Strike action and trade unions are illegal in Dubai.

But despite this, late last month a string of strikes spread to several building sites in the area.

In March 2006, about 2,500 labourers at the Burj Dubai site rioted over conditions which led to Human Rights Watch calling on the United Arab Emirates' government to "end abusive labour practices".

Subsequently, Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered measures to improve conditions for workers.

And in ending the latest strike, the chief of Dubai's police pledged to prosecute any employers not meeting health and safety standards.

About 700,000 Asians work in Dubai's construction industry.

But the emirate has been hit by a labour shortage recently as India's own economic boom has offered an alternative source of jobs.

Dubai's foreign workers are demanding higher pay and improved housing as they work on prestige projects such as the Burj Dubai.

Analysts say it is time for the authorities to consider a minimum wage

A fall in value of the dirham, the UAE's currency, means workers are unable to send as much money home as they previously could.


SEE ALSO
Dubai construction workers strike
29 Oct 07 |  Middle East
Dubai skyscraper world's tallest
22 Jul 07 |  Middle East
Strike halts work at Dubai tower
23 Mar 06 |  Business
Workers' safety queried in Dubai
27 Sep 04 |  Middle East

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