Dubai-listed builder Arabtec Holding has announced a 20 per cent hike in workers’ salaries, months after its workers staged a strike due to a wage dispute.
According to official news agency WAM, the contractor has raised the salaries of 36,000 workers at an average of 20 per cent for each worker across its projects nationwide.
Thousands of workers had staged a four-day strike at Arabtec sites in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in May this year protesting at low wages and a lack of overtime pay. The company did not announce any immediate wage hike at the end of the workers’ strike.
The new move, according to WAM, is a part of the UAE’s efforts to provide an exemplary work environment for workers and aims to highlight the country’s labour rights protection.
The UAE has been taking many steps to improve labour standards in the country. The Ministry of Labour (MoL) recently launched a wage protection system to safeguard payment of workers’ wages via transfers through selected financial institutions. These transfers will be regulated by the government.
The UAE has also enforced mandatory midday breaks for labourers during the peak summer months. Companies found flouting the midday ban will be downgraded and fined by the ministry.
The nation’s labour law also states that daily working hours must not exceed eight hours per day or night shift, and that overtime should be paid to those working additional hours in a 24-hour period, as per Federal Law No. 08 of 1980.
There has been rampant criticism about the alleged mistreatment of migrant workers in the Gulf countries following a recent expose by The Guardian newspaper. The report, released last week, detailed the poor working conditions of labourers working in Qatar, which is preparing to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.