The government of the United Arab Emirates has taken steps to improve the conditions of construction workers in Dubai, including establishing an official presence in labour camps to address workers’ complaints.
This occurred in the same week as safety issues were brought to the fore after seven Indian workers were killed by a bridge collapse in the Dubai Marina.
The Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs, a government department, has also installed a hotline for troubled workers in the Gulf state.
At the same time, the government is in the process of reviewing wages. Thousands of workers have been on strike over working conditions and pay since the start of the month and have urged the government to act. On Saturday, contractor Arabtec, which employs most of the workers who are still on strike, announced that an agreement had been reached between the workforce and management.
Meanwhile three employees at Wade Adams, the contractor on site at the bridge accident, have been charged with manslaughter and negligence.
The accident has increased pressure in Dubai to meet safety standards
Mark Prior, EC Harris
They are an engineer, a crane operator and a crane usher.
The seven victims were working on scaffolding beneath the bridge when it was hit by a 1.5 tonne load of steel.
Mark Prior, Middle East managing director at EC Harris, said working conditions in Dubai were “difficult” and criticised the amount it cost workers to reach Dubai. He said: “It’s a ludicrous situation. The guys pay about $800 (£400) to get here.”
A Human Rights Watch report found that the average migrant worker received a salary of about $175 (£88) a month, although some workers make as little as $8 (£4) a day.
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