Arabtec workers in UAE strike over wage dispute

Workers from Arabtec Construction LLC have not left their labour accommodation since Saturday and are demanding a pay increase.

Workers of Arabtec Construction are on strike over a pay dispute with management.
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DUBAI// Workers from a UAE construction firm have downed tools over a pay dispute.

Staff from Arabtec Construction LLC have not left their labour accommodation since Saturday as part of a protest over salary increases and say they are waiting for bosses to negotiate with them.

The exact number of men who stopped working or the number of sites affected was not clear.

"We are not working for the past three days," said a worker from a labour camp in Dubai Investments Park.

"Staff salary was increased but not ours. We want at least a Dh200 increase in our salaries," said the worker, who earns a monthly wage of Dh800.

"People have come from the labour court and negotiations are on."

An Arabtec spokesman said: "We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, alongside the Ministry of Labour and the police."

Another employee at the firm's Jebel Ali camp confirmed workers were on strike.

"They haven't gone to work today," he said. "The company is in talks with the workers."

This is the not the first labour dispute to affect Arabtec. In 2011, 70 workers were arrested on charges of instigating a 3,000-man protest over wage demands.

Dubai Police questioned the men for causing a disturbance at their camp in the Jebel Ali Industrial area. Also, in November 2007, around 30,000 Arabtec workers went on a 10-day strike to demand a salary increase.

Arabtec is one of the main contractors at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, however officials said work on the museum has not been affected.

"We have more than 5,000 workers on Saadiyat Island," said a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi-based Tourism Development and Investment Company.

"Of this, 150 workers are from Arabtec. All workers have reported for work as usual yesterday and today."

*Additional inputs by Reuters