In the United Arab Emirates, the Solidarity Center engages with stakeholders in the construction industry to improve working and living conditions for migrant workers.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional economic and trade alliance founded in 1981. In the last ten years, as global oil prices expanded to reach $140 a barrel in 2008, a rapid accumulation of wealth drove an astonishing investment and development boom in the GCC. The resulting proliferation of high-profile construction projects has attracted wide international attention, and contributed to significant growth in infrastructure and civic projects, but also revealed the extent of the direct exploitation of the millions of low-wage workers employed in the dangerous and dirty jobs in manufacturing, construction, cleaning services, and domestic work. The vast majority of these private sector employees are migrant workers from South and Southeast Asia. The UAE is taking important first steps to respond to recent international scrutiny of the treatment of migrant workers. For example, the UAE Ministry of Labor, in cooperation with the National Bank of the UAE, has developed an initiative to ensure timely payment of wages through the establishment of a direct deposit system for workers in the private sector. The UAE Ministry of Labor has recently announced minimum standards for living conditions in labor camps.
Although the UAE government understands the importance of adherence to the International Labor Organization's core labor standards, national security concerns make it reluctant to implement standards governing freedom of association for migrant workers. Restricted freedom of association, gender- and nationality-based discrimination, and inadequate legal protections are cross-regional challenges that affect all of the GCC States. Recognizing this, GCC trade unionists are collaborating to advance cross-regional solutions. The Solidarity Center programs in the GCC region hope to encourage future steps along this promising path to achieving workers' basic human rights.
Solidarity Center Provides Worker Perspective at GCC Leadership Summit.
Solidarity Center and AFL-CIO senior staff spoke to more than 50 policymakers, government officials, HR directors, senior managers and consultants, developers, suppliers, bankers, and global union leaders at a groundbreaking leadership summit on corporate social responsibility in the Gulf Cooperation Council construction industry, held June 18, 2008 in Dubai, UAE.
Hope for Migrant Workers in Gulf States.
The Solidarity Center is part of an effort that brings together union, employer, and government representatives to improve working conditions for migrants in the Gulf States.
Solidarity Center Organizes Groundbreaking Migrant Worker Rights Panel at ILO Meeting.
A groundbreaking panel discussion on migrant worker issues, co-hosted by the Solidarity Center and the International Trade Union Confederation on June 13, 2007, during the International Labor Conference in Geneva, drew a standing-room-only crowd.
Solidarity Center Publications