No minimum wage for Indian workers

Indian government unlikely to insist on a minimum wage for Indian construction workers employed in the GCC.

It is unlikely that the Indian government will insist on a minimum wage for Indian construction workers employed in the GCC.

"We are currently only looking at introducing a minimum wage for expatriate domestic workers, as we feel they are the most vulnerable at the moment," said Balkrishna Shetty, Indian ambassador to Bahrain.

"We will look at introducing one for construction workers when we have more resources. These things have to be monitored; there is no point in introducing things like this if we can't implement them."

An estimated 4,500 construction workers in the UAE have held strikes in the last few weeks in protest over low salaries, which have been further hit by the diminishing value of the dollar-pegged dirham.

The strikes have prompted a call for a wage review between the UAE Ministry of Labour and construction companies.

The majority of the region's construction workforce comes from India. But according to Talmiz Ahmad, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, introducing a minimum wage to Indian construction workers in the region could be detrimental to the country's own economic boom.

"Introducing a minimum wage here would be like shooting ourselves in the foot," he said. "With the Indian economy booming at the moment, the Indian government doesn't feel such a move would be in its best interest.

"We don't want to encourage our workforce to leave India and work somewhere else, when we need them to work for us."

Ahmad added that if the UAE wished to incorporate a minimum wage into its labour laws, it was its prerogative to do so and not that of the Indian government.

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