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Article

13 May 2022

Author:
Simeon Kerr, Financial Times

Dubai’s workers struggle with cost of living crisis

...Food delivery riders for Talabat, a unit of Germany’s Delivery Hero, have gone on an illegal strike to protest over their low wages as the rising cost of living sparks widening unrest among the poorest workers in the Gulf entrepôt, a playground for some of the world’s richest people. The rare outbreak of industrial unrest in the Gulf state comes as fuel prices have soared since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This has slashed the take-home pay of riders, who purchase their own petrol. With inflation hitting other products such as food, living standards are declining for workers who eke out a living on slim salaries...The Talabat walkout, which has hobbled the app’s service in the country, comes after a strike this month in Dubai by employees of rival operator Deliveroo prompted the UK-based firm to drop plans to cut salaries and extend working hours. Talabat riders have called for an increase in their basic pay from Dh7.50 per food order to Dh8 or Dh9...Strike action and unionised labour are outlawed in the UAE... Many riders, not just those at Talabat, say that the decline in their take-home pay is a blow to their families in south Asia who depend on their remittances and also face rampant inflation...

“To strike in the UAE things have to be desperate, so this is a sign of how difficult things have got for delivery drivers with recent fuel cost rises”
James Lynch, FairSquare

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