Workers demand higher pay and better housing as government threatens to deport rioters

Thousand of foreign construction workers in the Gulf state of Dubai have gone on strike over pay and conditions.

Workers blocked roads and threw stones at police on Saturday, sparking a government threat to deport rioters.

Dubai's booming economy has been fuelled by a construction industry reliant on low-paid workers, many from South Asia, but a fall in value of the UAE dirham means workers are sending less money home than before.

The emirate has also been hit by labour shortages as India's own economic growth has offered an alternative source of jobs.

Now workers are demanding higher pay and improved housing as they work on prestige projects such as the Burj Dubai – set to be the world's tallest building.

Emirates' Minister of Labour Ali bin Abdullah al-Kaabi described workers' behaviour as “uncivilized,'' and said they were tampering with national security and endangering residents' safety.

Analysts said the authorities should consider a minimum wage of at least $272 a month.