Construction unions given green light in UAE

The UAE minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ali Abdullah Al Ka’abi, has given the go ahead for unions to be formed in the country.

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By  Tim Wood and Conrad Egbert Published  April 8, 2006

The UAE minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ali Abdullah Al Ka’abi, has given the go ahead for unions to be formed in the country. The decision comes just weeks after a riot by more than 2,500 construction labourers working on the Burj Dubai Old Town site last month, which made headlines around the world. It also follows trade talks between the UAE and US, where the treatment of migrant construction workers is believed to have emerged as a talking point. “We’re going to have one union, with separate representatives for the construction, fishing, agriculture and other industries,” the minister confirmed. He added: “A new law will be brought in to control how strikes will be conducted. "There will be a labour representative who will be our point of contact. It will make contact with the labourers much easier." Allan Ritchie, general secretary UCATT, whose 120,000 members ensure it is the largest construction union in the UK, said the setting up of a union in Dubai was “commonsense”. “There has to be a working relationship between the government, the workforce and the contractors and a trade union is the most obvious way to achieve this,” he told Construction Week.

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