Dubai has evolved from a sparsely populated desert region on the Arabian Gulf to a dynamic and fast growing city. The boom in construction and services is built upon a large immigrant labour force. The labour market is highly segregated firstly between local and expatriate workers, and secondly among the expatriate workers depending on whether they are categorised as professional, construction or service sector workers. Despite the rapid growth and manifestations of modernity in Dubai there are stories emerging concerning the violation of human rights particularly with respect to contracted migrant workers. Despite its rapid transformation Dubai does not have the institutions or infrastructure that support and protect fundamental labour standards and even where there are regulated migrant programs (as in Dubai), workers are potentially subject to exploitation. This paper examines the labour market and industrial relations system in Dubai and asks whether growth is compromised by promoting fundamental labour standards.
23rd Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, Labour, Capital and Change: Proceedings of the 23rd Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 2. Non-Refereed Papers (Newcastle, NSW 04-06 February, 2009) p. 1-10