No minimum wage to be set

Ministry of Labour would prefer alternatives rather than a minimum wage.

The Ministry of Labour has said a minimum wage will not be introduced to the Dubai emirate in the foreseeable future.

"There will not be a minimum wage in the larger sense," said Ministry of Labour - International Affairs advisor Alex Salami. "I do not accept that in the immediate future there will be one. It's a matter of creating an environment that is conducive to higher wages. Lets look at the situation we have today and see if there is something that can be done by the Ministry."

The implementation of a minimum wage was among the recommendations made by the Human Rights Watch organisation 18 months ago in the report "Building Towers - Cheating Workers."

Calls for the implementation of the minimum wage have grown ever since.

The Human Rights Watch said that to its knowledge not one of the 11 recommendations contained in its November 2006 report, which were targeted at the UAE federal government, had been acted upon.

Joe Stork, deputy director, Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa Division, said that while it was too early to confirm whether some of the recommendations had been addressed or not, others had been ignored. "One of the big issues that we raised was to enforce the laws that are currently on the books," he said.

"The recommendations that we do know about, in terms of implementing the minimum wage for instance, and bringing domestic workers under the Ministry of Labour instead of the Ministry of Interior - none of this has happened."

"When we were here two-plus years ago we could not find a single instance where there had been a serious enforcement. The kind of enforcement that would actually penalise a violator and would send an actual message of deterrence.

"Have there been any since then? I don't know. That would be something to look into."

Along with the introduction of a minimum wage, recommendations made in the 2006 report included the establishment of an independent commission to investigate and report on the situation of migrant workers and the aggressive investigation and prosecution of employers who violated labour law.

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