No decision yet on minimum wages for Indian workers in UAE

June 18th, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS  


Dubai, June 18 (IANS) India has not taken any decision on fixing a minimum wage limit for its workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Indian Consul General in Dubai Venu Rajamony. “We are still discussing the issue but no decision has been taken as yet,” Rajamony told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on labour management in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries here Wednesday.

A significant majority of the 1.5 million Indians in the UAE are engaged as contract labourers in the country’s booming construction industry and there have been wide-ranging speculations about India fixing a minimum wage limit for such workers.

“We cannot take a decision on a minimum wage limit arbitrarily without consulting authorities here. That will have widespread repercussions across the industry,” Rajamony said.

Earlier, in the course of a presentation on ‘India-UAE Labour Relations: Striving for a Partnership and Win-win Situations’ at the conference, the consul general said the Indian missions in the UAE were awaiting word from the country’s labour ministry regarding the fixing of a minimum wage.

“(UAE’s) Former labour minister had brought up the issue of minimum wage. But we are yet to hear something concrete from the labour ministry,” he said.

According to Rajamony, inadequate wages and exchange rate differential were the main reasons for workers’ strikes in the construction industry here.

“From our assessment, we found that low wages is the main reason behind labour strikes. This, coupled with the appreciation of the rupee in recent times, significantly brings down the amount of money a worker can remit back home,” said.

“This causes discontent, which then leads to dissent.”

Rajamony said that another reason for workers’ dissent is lack of an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

However, he said, violence in labour strikes has been rare.

“To the credit of UAE authorities and the workers, incidents of violence have been rare exceptions,” he said.

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