DUBAI (Reuters) – Many Indian construction workers are choosing not to take jobs in Dubai because their earnings would be eroded by the UAE dirham’s peg to the tumbling U.S. dollar, Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) reported.
South Asian labour, mainly from India, is the backbone of the construction industry in Dubai, which is building palm-tree shaped islands and the world’s tallest skyscraper in the $20 billion Burj Dubai development.
Indian construction workers would expect to earn four times as much as they would in India if they moved to Dubai five years ago, MEED cited Samir Khosla, managing director of Dynamic Staffing Services, as saying.
But as the U.S. currency hits record lows against the euro and a basket of major currencies, the pay differential has been reduced to 40 percent, Khosla said.
That has cut into the amount of money most of Dubai’s expatriate workers can send home, and eroded the competitive advantage of working in the emirate.
“Most of the workers coming here to work in construction don’t have any savings and just live from pay cheque to pay cheque,” Khosla said, according to the weekly magazine.
“Even a small fall in the value of the dirham against the rupee is a problem for them.”
Some 35,000 construction workers building the Burj Dubai development protested for 10 days in November over wages.