Labor Laws: Here, There, Everywhere

Two days ago, I wrote a piece talking about ‘All Lives Matter’. Even the life of migrants and laborers from South Asia and South East Asia. A friend of mine came across a picture on Instagram that spoke about how ‘Burj Khalifa’ is a human marvel. And if we can create something so enormous, so beautiful then why is it so difficult to fight racism.

One of the most brilliant, well-researched and factual reply came from Philip Bloom. He provided the number of laborers, their wages and the debt that Dubai ran into to construct a structure of that grandeur.

The labour laws for United Arab Emirates states, “The term ‘basic wage’ is the wage specified in the labour contract as agreed between the parties for the term of contract. Any allowances of any nature are not included in basic wage. The UAE labour law does not prescribe any minimum wage.”

It also specifies the working hours for the labourers. “The maximum working hours for an adult employee is eight hours a day (48 hours a week). This can be increased to nine hours a day, for specific jobs like those in cafeterias, hotels, trades and guards. The travel time is not included in working hours.”

Despite all this, migrants and labourers end up working for meagre wages. Philip Bloom mentioned that 3500 labourers were involved in the building of ‘Burj Khalifa’ who were paid $4 per day. The working conditions were extreme and the project would probably have never finished if not for the exploitation.

Uttar Pradesh had recently scraped the labour laws par three. Amidst Covid-19 and migrants returning back to their home state, the state government seem to be lagging behind in the protection of labour rights.

These workers are as human as anyone who employs them then why such inhuman behavior towards them. The society, on a whole, is answerable to these humans who make our lives easy on a day-to-day basis.

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