5 – No guarantee of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

United Arab Emirates

The ITUC does not have an affiliate in the United Arab Emirates.

In practice

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Police ends strike and deports migrant workers23-05-2013

Construction workers at the company Arabtec were striking to demand a 350 UAE dirham (92 US dollars) monthly food allowance to be paid with their salaries, rather than the three daily meals provided by the company. Workers earn 650 to 1,200 UAE dirham a month (from 177 to 327 US dollars). The company refused to negotiate with the workers and instead the Ministry of Labour sent the police to the labour camp to coerce workers to return to work. Even though management stated that all workers returned to work, several workers have stated that they received deportation orders.

Exploitation of migrant workers03-02-2012

Non-nationals account for over 88.5% of the population, and many of them are migrant workers. They are often prey to extreme exploitation: unpaid wages, excessively long working hours, passports confiscated by the employer, changes upon arrival to the contract they signed before leaving, etc. As domestic work is not covered by the labour legislation, domestic workers are even more vulnerable than migrants in other sectors. Many say they have suffered physical and sexual abuse, in addition to the exploitation migrants are usually exposed to.

As migrant workers do not have the right to join a union or go on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, they don’t have the means to denounce the exploitation they suffer. Those who protest risk prison and deportation.

The pay protection system that has progressively been set in place since 2009 obliges companies to pay their workers’ wages via electronic bank transfer, that the authorities are able to verify. This measure has not been enough to prevent delays in the payment of wages however, notably because the Labour Ministry’s resources are far too meagre in face of the number of migrants.

A sponsorship system (“kafala”) continues to link migrant workers’ visas to an employer or “guarantor”, even though the terms were relaxed in 2011: at the end of a two year contract, the authorities allow unskilled workers to change job without a certificate of non-objection from their employer. The under-secretary at the Ministry of Labour has stated that if the clauses of the contract are breached, or if the worker is not paid, the Minister can end the contract.

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