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A diplomat in Dubai says authorities plan to deport more than 50 Bangladeshi workers who took part in a strike to demand higher wages.

 

An estimated 5,000 mostly South Asian workers staged a nearly two-week strike this month to press for a 200 dirham ($54) pay hike from Arabtec, the biggest construction company in Dubai.

 

The workers, who live in company-run camps make between 700 and 800 dirhams ($190 and $220) a month.

 

Labor protests are rare in the United Arab Emirates, where workers fear arrest or deportation.

 

January 25, 2011

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

The demonstrations are another indication that Arabtec still faces financial issues. More importantly, the response of the UAE authorities against the demonstrators is particularly alarming. It undermines efforts that the country was moving towards modernizing its labour laws. Those have been described by international human right groups as forms of modern slavery.

 

The reponse that the authorities took will likely lead to further criticism of the labour laws and human rights in the country and undermine efforts to improve the country's image on that front. The reaction will also likely fuel further anger and unrest among the labour population which make up the majority of the UAE population.