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20 May, 2006

Love's Labours Found

Hooray for Dr Kaabi, if his latest plan to shut down labour agencies comes off:

Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi, Labour Minister, told reporters that workers' cities will be built to take the place of about 170 labour agencies currently licensed by the ministry.

Construction companies will hire workers from the cities, which will be managed by private companies with government supervision, he said.


It won't help all the workers because there will always be illegals, but it will help the majority. If - and only if - recruitment is also monitored on the subcontinent side, cutting out the evil middlemen who screw these poor labourers for thousands of dirhams in loans that they are never going to be able to repay.

It shouldn't cost that much to bring labourers here, it's not like they're flown over first class and put up at the Burj for six months. Ship them over if it's really too expensive to fly them. Bring in lower charges for bulk visa applications in certain job categories if necessary, and like Media City, have them centrally sponsored and contracted out to companies.

The most amazing thing is that it's taken them so long to do this, despite several years of mega-boom construction and literally millions of the poor guys pouring in to give their lives to the UAE's future.

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2 Comments:

Blogger bandicoot said...

...or do it the old-fashioned way: follow the Silk Road!

20 May, 2006 09:24  
Blogger Papadose said...

"It shouldn't cost that much to bring labourers here, it's not like they're flown over first class and put up at the Burj for six months. Ship them over if it's really too expensive to fly them."

It costs a C grade company around AED 7500 to bring in a worker. And almost every single contracting company out there is C grade as it is nearly impossible to bring in a demographic balance in the blue collar work force. They will and always will be dominated by the Indian Subcontinent.
So do your math. If a construction company takes itself seriously it will need at least a 100 strong manpower force. Thats AED750,000.
Then there's the ticket to get him here, immigration and medical charges from the country of origin, his monthly accommodation, food, work wear, gratuity, leave salary....on and on. Imagine the company's situation if a few workers absconds.
Now why would he abscond:
1. His salary is too low to make up for the other expenses covered by the company and the lack of a minimum salary stipulated by law.

or

2. He knows that in the illegal market he can earn much more an hour as it is a thriving market owing to a shortage in labour.

Herein lies the problem. Its very easy for everyone to sound politically correct and condemn every other construction company out there.
The problem needs to solved from the grass roots level:
clean out the illegals market, visa costs reduced, regulate and encourage large scale labour management companies, fix a minimum wage,....etc

Maybe after all this is the right step. But there's simply a lot to do.

20 May, 2006 18:56  

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