Who would have thought! I’ve been working away from home for a number of months now, after experiencing some terrible times at home. I know one would assume that Dubai is the place to work. I can tell you single handedly that it certainly is not!
I am speaking on behalf, of course, of the huge population of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Filipino construction workers over here. Construction workers are paid around AED700 per month (approximately €140). Every single penny (or fils in UAE’s case) is counted for these guys. They work 6 day weeks on minimum of 10 hour shifts. They are transported around in huge buses, something like you’d see in a 3rd world country – not in one of the richest cities in the world! It’s ironic really, these guys are the ones that construct the so many beautiful buildings around the city and surrounding Emirates yet they are not the ones that get any thanks or praise for it.
Unfortunate and all as this is, there are no labour laws to address the situation in the UAE. From what I have witnessed over my short period of time here in Dubai, the situation remains the same. The workers will work minimal salary for minimal benefits. What I find really bizarre is all of the publicity that film star, Tom Cruise was seen dangling off the top of the World’s Tallest Building (Burj Khalifa) in late December – dangling around the glass windows of the tower and then sitting on top of the building – the highest point anyone can physically sit in the world! His stunts got worldwide reach and was being monitored almost everyday by various media houses but what amazes me is the laborers that were forced up there in the blistering heat during the summer months in the building of the amazing structure, got no publicity and are more than likely working just as hard on one of the other hundred current building projects ongoing in Dubai at the moment.
Every structure will continue to amaze our thousands of tourists coming to Dubai. It’s a fantastic achievement and I do hope the construction continues long into the future, given that tourism accounts for an enormous amount of GDP for the country. Furthermore, what this City needs is a solid tourist base, not just Hotel Concierge’ but a sole authority responsible for tourist satisfaction. Not only will it add to the vibrancy of the City, it will add so much more value to the thousands of buildings, that in all honesty, deserve more attention than they currently receive – with everything from the architecture to the interior design.