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Tue 19 Feb 2008 12:00 AM

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Article: 121412

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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Glory 12 years ago

To get loyalty one must give respect. A lot of attention is given to the plight of construction workers, but little is given to the thousands of employees whose rights are abused in the myriad of small businesses across the UAE. Many of the employers here still have draconian thoughts believing as sponsors they "own" their workers. When a worker submits a resignation on an unlimited contract and it is refused time and time again this constitutes forced labour. Salaries that have to be begged for rather than given as the workers right, salaries paid later, working staff in excess of the legal hours without payment of overtime, using "wasta" to have complaints "disappear" if an employee has the fortitude to approach the authorities, humiliating the employee in front of their peers or simply use threats of permanently expelling employees from the UAE forever are all illegal tactics used by these unscrupulous employers to control workers. Despite the fact it is illegal to do so, the practice of retaining passports continues. Many of these businesses have high profile local partners and they use these connection to bluff about their power. I am sure that if their local partner was aware of the extent of their misuse of their name they would step aside from any association, but usually they are totally ignorant of what goes on at grass roots. It is time the authorities increased their inspection staff and got tough with these employers who think they are above the law.

CT 12 years ago

Not only have employees been hard hit this year; I bet a survey of small businesses would see many of those worrying about closing due to slow payments - plenty of business and tight deadlines, but when it comes to collecting the cheques, 90 day oustanding seems good!

bu6bu6 12 years ago

It is really strange why the government of Abu Dhabi didn't make a step till this moment to solve the obvious root cause of all life burdens, the accomodation! I heard this is intentional in order to expel all the low class. However, a huge pressure is also put on the middle class, and the whole community structure is or on the way to be damaged!

Louie Tedesco 12 years ago

The statements by Glory are absolutely correct and they reflect the harsh reality of life in this region. They should be posted in the departure hall of every airport which brings workers to this region, with their signature required stating "I fully understand and agree to work in these conditions". At least then none could later say that they had no idea what they're getting in to. The only item missing from the list is discrimination, blatant one-sided discrimination against foreign workers yet full enforcement of the "all are created equal" slogan when locals are involved in work related disputes. Even the largest firms and quasi-government companies here are no better, offering Ramadan timings with either reduced working hours or overtime payments for Muslim staff, but requiring full working hours from others without any extra compensation or time off. Disregarding national law, coercing their workforce to either remain silent or to get sacked and deported if formal complaints are made. What is lacking most is a clear commitment from the authorities that all are, in fact, "created equal" as is stated in the laws of various nations. Sponsors have to be held accountable for the actions of their business partners instead of feigning ignorance or pleading plausible deniability by dismissing any knowledge of wrongdoing by their business partners. There is no initiative to do so as any change in the existing system or improving employee working conditions would result in reduced income. Comments by Glory are milestones that should be enforced by the authorities. Only when these well-known issues are resolved will a true worker loyalty manifest itself that will benefit companies and economies in this region. Until then, it's every person for themselves securing whatever benefits they can without due regard of any loyalty to their colleagues or company. Such comments and articles often grace the pages of this site and the local media yet those who are truly empowered to enforce change seem preoccupied with glittering showcase projects rather than with the welfare of the people who build them.

Prof Philbert 12 years ago

It is an incontrovertible fact that cultivating loyalty and nurturing talent in GCC depends on a good package as reward for all sacrifices. The situation is accentuated from skilled to unskiller labour. The tallest building in Dubai - the Burj is the crowning effort of Asian labour who has dared all before them to build it. So also is every other construction project that depends on highly productive labour force from the managerial levels to the ordinary workers. Look around what is happening to countries that turns a Nelson eye to the demands of labour.

Zaka Ullah Khan 12 years ago

All lies, I know from my days till today I have not come across a single relative who had relocated to Pakistan or India. Rather they are making sure that they do not have to go back even if it becomes very difficult to live in Dubai. And the other expatriates especially people from sub-continent they would rather die, sell their home belongings but would gladly bite the DUST of DUBAI. Just a small fact. You give five years of your life to the USA, UK or any European country and if there is no criminal record they will respect your 5 years and give you NATIONALITY. In UAE you can die serving the country but your children along with your body in a box would be sent back.

Patricia de Leon 12 years ago

Isn't interesting that with all the advances the GCC has gone through a person's salary still depends on their nationality? So an ill-experienced Caucasian will still earn more than an educated, superiorly experienced Asian. If it's not true, then why does the salary calculator ask for nationality? Editors reply: It's not necessarily true. It may be the type of Canadians coming to the UAE are the more educated Canadians - as with citizens of the US and Europe. That explains why proportionally they are in the higher income groups. What is clear is that there are nationality differences. The survey does not make any comment on the rightness or wrongness of this - just notes it to make the salary survey and calculator a more accurate reflection of the workplace in the region.

ramit shrivastava 12 years ago

I really appreciate the survey, but the sample does not look to be from a varied cross section of society. For example the annual salary as per nationality in all countries shows Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in a range of 45k whereas Indians do not figure at all - that's surprising and raises doubts. Editors Reply: We are increasing the list of nationalities shown so that it also includes nationalities from India, Palestine, the Philippines... Kindly note the average salary is worked out by adding all the salaries of respondents from a nationality that took part in the survey, and dividing it by the total count of that nationality. There will be some very well paid Indians, but many more who are situated in the lower salary echelons.

Nassy 12 years ago

I don't understand why the Bulgarian nationality is not included, there is even Bulgarian Sunday School in Dubai and for small country like Bulgaria-quite a lot Bulgarians are working in Dubai...obviously I am one of them. Editors' Reply: The nationality list is based on the numbers of respondents we had from that nationality. If we received very few responses from Bulgarians, we could not meaningfully include them in the results.

Shahid 12 years ago

In my career of 10 years i have seen many U.S. and European managers who were, back home, nothing but carpenters, photographers etc., and have assumed posts of division managers, marketing managers in most reputed companies in the UAE. It is now high time that responsible people employed for recruiting take a thorough look at the prospective employees experience and education level as well before judging them. Indian education is far better than many European and USA universities, and 100 times better than South African, still few companies issue advertising asking for USA, Europe and South African educated personnel. Whereas in USA and Europe many big companies have entrusted their future to Indians (PEPSI, CITIBANK and many IT companies) have either Indian as CEO or chairman. This part of the world needs to look at realty, not continue the age old rule of thumb.

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