August 5, 2007

EVENTUALLY THEY GET TO DICTATE THEIR TERMS:

Emirates making peace with army of restive migrant workers (Jason DeParle, August 5, 2007, NY Times)

[C]onstruction workers, a million strong here and famously mistreated, have gotten the country's attention.

After a season of unprecedented labor unrest, the government is seeking peace with the army of sweat-stained migrants who make local citizens a minority in their own country and sustain one of the world's great building booms. Regulators here have enforced midday sun breaks, improved health benefits, upgraded living conditions and cracked down on employers brazen enough to stop paying workers.

The result is a study of halting change in a region synonymous with foreign labor and, for many years, labor abuse.

Many rich countries, including the United States, rely on cheap foreign workers. But no country is as dependent as the United Arab Emirates, where guest workers make up about 85 percent of the population and 99 percent of the private work force.


Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2007 5:02 PM
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