UAE: Hundreds of Reem Island construction workers strike over unpaid wages

Workers at an unnamed construction company in Abu Dhabi have been repeatedly protesting against months of unpaid wages. In July 2019 it was reported that hundreds workers were downing tools and refusing to work in protest.

By December 2019, reporting stated that workers from other companies were involved; subcontracted employees were being encouraged to protest alongside unpaid workers in solidarity. Subcontractors have reportedly told their employees not to work until the issue of payment from the main contractor is resolved.

Witnesses allege that there have been violent altercations between unpaid workers and paid employees who have continued to work for other subcontractors. Police have been dispersing the protests and fights. 

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9 December 2019

Construction workers strike on Abu Dhabi's Reem Island

Author: Haneen Dajani, The National (UAE)

Construction workers in Abu Dhabi held a strike for several hours on Monday...

The incident is the latest involving the same company...

Police and the company have been contacted for comment. Officers defused the situation...

skilled contractors from a separate company... began arriving for work. The unpaid labourers told them not to work either, in solidarity...

Another subcontractor... said: "The engineers probably negotiated with the workers,

"This happens every few weeks, the unpaid workers don't want anybody to work until they get paid.

"The senior engineers from the company negotiate with them and they give in and some accept a fraction of their salary."

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4 July 2019

Hundreds of Abu Dhabi labourers refuse to work in wage dispute

Author: Haneen Dajani, The National

Hundreds of Abu Dhabi labourers downed tools and refused to work this week after claiming they had not been paid by their employer... Witnesses said they heard the labourers shouting while one security guard claimed he saw an employee throw a key to the construction site entrance into the sea... "afterwards police arrived and the workers separated” [said the guard]... Witnesses described seeing about 300 workers walking off the premises. Police arrived 10 minutes later to deal with the dispute... “I asked the security guard what was going on and he said they [the workers] had not been paid,” said one observer. Police and the Ministry for Human Resources and Emiratisation were contacted for comment but no one was made available. It is not known if the dispute has now been settled. Labourers working at the same site also took to the streets last November, again in a dispute over pay.

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