as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
sister Tahani, I just wanted to elaborate on some of the comments you made in reply to my last blog post..
"Before the law was brought in that workmen had to be taken to and from their labour camps in proper buses etc, they used to be transported in metal cattle trucks without windows (just slits for air) and other disgusting forms of transport."
Oh wow.. that is just shocking!! Astagferallah that it was once even considered ok to do by some people.
"My late partner was an ex minister of Dubai Labour and I could never really get him to understand how sad the sistuation was for certain expats."
I totally forgot to mention this on my blog post..... remember that those "certain expats" aren't even given the title of expat. they are called domestic workers, unskilled laborers etc...
"The other thing I really hate about UAE because it still exists today is the difference in salary paid to nationalities because of their passport. A friend doing the exact same job in a company in the same office was paid 10,000 dhs a month more than her Indian co worker and this I find disgusting."
Yes!!! I was thinking about doing another blog post on this issue but hadn't gotten around to it...
There is no equal opportunity employment over here! Just like you said, salary discrimination exists based on national origin. Educated expats from places like India and Pakistan receive much lower salaries than educated expats from Western countries. At one company I know of, the previous personal assistant to a V.P. who was from Saudi Arabia had a starting salary of 13,000Dhs. When she left the job the next person hired was from India, and her starting salary? 6,000Dhs.
I have tried have discussions about this over here and barely anyone thought there was a real problem with that. some just shrugged their shoulder like "oh well, it is what it is" and others just think its ok because in countries like India, they would never be able to make the salaries they would get in UAE.
For those that believe the locals should be a stronger force in the private work sector, if you think about it, why would a company hire a UAE national with a degree in IT over an Indian national with the same degree? They can save a lot more money hiring the Indian national and so the UAE national with an IT degree finds it difficult to enter the private sector.
This UAE national may find a job in the government though with no problems as the government doesn't have to worry about cost-cutting like some private companies must. If it is going to be legal to pay someone less for the exact same job having the exact same qualifications.... its obvious a lot of companies will overlook those whom they would have to pay a larger salary. And it is not just IT... that was just one sector I was talking about.
Oh, and also, In a system like this, you would even think automatically that a UAE national would hold at least equal to, or even higher than the highest salaries paid to people from certain countries. But nope, there are jobs where a British national would have a higher salary than a UAE national holding the same position with the same responsibilities, same education.
And another issue that I can't get over is the lack of laws to protect employees from certain things... like for instance, where someone I know worked, a group of three who worked as a team in one department for a company went and complained to Human Resources about how their manager was treating them. Next thing you know, the manager assigned them all to different departments to split them up in retaliation for what they did. That is absolutely wrong that Human Resources let the manager know about who reported him and that is absolutely wrong that the manager could then retaliate. There should be safeguards in place where employees can report problems anonymously.
Another example... a friend's husband who was working here in Dubai. At his job everyone had to completely kiss the butt of the boss. And I mean completely. If in a meeting he suggested something and someone spoke up and made another suggestion or disagreed--even with good reason, the next you know that person was fired. And I mean the very next day, and that person was forced to immediately be out of the provided-for accomodation in 24 hours. He saw this happen a lot where he worked. And the boss? An American!! An American whose position went to his head in a country where he would get away with it going to his head too.
I had never thought about it before but if the US did not have these labor laws, this kinds of stuff would be rampant as well--I mean companies still try to get away with crap, but there are still lots of people who are able to take their companies to court and win their cases. This American boss who is still the boss of the place today (my friend's husband quit and decided to no longer stay in this country--a huge part was all because of the fact that the workplace atmosphere was so bad and no laws to protect everyone.)
That being said, Americans are not necessarily any more innocent when it comes to this. So many companies are having their products made in countries with abusive labor laws. The companies know about it, and so do many Americans who are buying the products. Just because its not happening on their turf do they get to say they are innocent of it all.
The government does have laws concerning firing and such, but even if someone can get fired and get their job back through UAE's labor department, its the retaliation they may receive that they are not protected from. And some places do make hell for an employee who dared go report them to the labor department (ok... its really late right now and it is probably called something else than just labor department but I cannot think of it LOL)