Thursday, March 23, 2006

Power to the poor sods who build it all

Workers on the Burj Dubai are striking for better pay, conditions, and medical care. For the first time, it seems that the protests have got destructive: AP is reporting that a riot on Wednesday caused an estimated US$1m of damage. Workers at the airport have laid down their tools in solidarity.

To its credit, the government appears to be taking their demands seriously. "They are asking for small things," Interior Ministry official Lt. Col. Rashid Bakhit al-Jumairi told AP. "I promised them I would sit with them until everything is settled."

The abolition of slavery never really caught on amongst Gulfis: the British Political Agents would manumit those slaves who came to them, but the exploitation often continued even after the slaves became free men.

It's about bloody time they did away with it for good, instead of hiding behind the rhetoric of freedom of contract. Freedom of contract means an agreement freely entered into, not one entered into because of the deception of another and perpetuated because the other controls all channels for redress and confiscates your passport to make sure you can't just up and leave.

What al-Jumairi is doing is laudable - but reacting to problems when they arise is no longer enough.


Blogger secretdubai said...

I was going to blog about Robin Wilton (or his father's )slavery anecdotes. Fascinating stuff, and so blotted out of all official history books here.

23/3/06 19:36  
Blogger nzm said...

al-Jumairi may have promised to sit with them, but in the next sentence in this KT report, it says that he was then "being diverted to negotiate with idled labourers at the airport."

How convenient!

23/3/06 20:09  

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