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  • Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    UAE Labour Law Changes & the HRW

    Human Rights Watch are back on the case, and rightly so. Significant changes in the Labour Law happen infrequently and this is the time to bring concerns to the table, for the greater good of what is required for the country and the people who are helping to build the country, whether they be Local or Expat, black, white, brown, yellow, purple or green.

    According to the report, the labour law fails to meet international standards of protection for the 700,000 construction labourers, mainly from the Indian subcontinent, who are building UAE landmarks such as the world’s tallest tower in Dubai. And the UAE have come back critiquing the report, saying that it does not accurately reflect either the progress that has been made in addressing the issues at hand or the seriousness with which the government is dealing with these issues.

    Let's look at this objectively. No government, that has so much to do with the West, would want to be seen to be doing nothing. My opinion is that there is a conflict between getting the right labour at the right cost, versus producing groundbreaking buildings under budget. And while the UAE is reactively looking at the issues that are faced, the recommendations put forward by the HRW are to do with being proactive so that workers are protected at the outset so that injustive doesn't need to be remedied.

    The UAE has made significant strides in dealing with the issues that seem to constantly plague the press, most recently this last weekend just gone. And Sheikh Mohammed has got personally involved in getting it rights. Hundreds of companies have been suspended for non payment of wages, and hundreds more have been prevented from doing more wrings, through prevention of work permits. This is a huge step in itself. The change in mentality is lead right from the top.

    All this is good. However, the HRW has some good points. I urge you to read these an look at them in context. My main issue, well noted by HRW, concerns unionisation. Promises that these would be in place were stated by the government, and yet no mention in the Labour Law. That sort of disregard screams of all talk and no action. If I were sitting at the desk of the law drafter, I would be seriously considering taking each of the recommendations on board and applying them in this next labour law with some stiff penalties attached. And then I would elect a task force to make sure that these recommendations were adhered to. But, that's just me.

    Human Rights Watch’s Comments and Recommendations

    Posted by at 7 comments :

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    The Long Tail of Dubai Property Hype

    Chris Anderson may be mildly amused that one might apply the theory of the Long Tail in such a way, but however you look at it, it rings true. Equate hype to demand and property to product and you have some familiar ground. There will always be a certain amount of hype for ground breaking buildings such as the Burj, Palm, and the World etc. The hype for property in such locations will always be in the short tail, just for their very nature. Similar amounts of hype are tantamount to what one might call supernormal hype for the normal - such demand exists for Emaar type properties that came to market at a time when Dubai was as hot as a Paris Hilton catchphrase. While these properties were adequate, the demand for them was of ridiculous levels, for reasons such as lack of supply, exponential growth, and speculation frenzy. Nevertheless, these all sit within the short tail.

    And then you get the rest. The normal. The copycats. The late to market. All of these. So long as there is an advert in the Gulf News Freehold section talking of the next big thing, hype will join hands with the latest craze. How do you judge an off plan development? Wait until it is built. The further we go into time, the further we go down the trail. But that trail exists.

    The Long Tail of Dubai Property Hype is fed by the people of Dubai.

    Those unphased by real speculation and looking to make some money invest in other emerging countries, where there is still a dollar to be made by understanding the long tail hype of property demand.

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    Posted by at 2 comments :

    Saturday, March 10, 2007


    At the tail end of last year, there was an interview on Abu Dhabi TV with the Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi. This 6 minute selection should be viewed by all.


    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    The banning of shisha in the UK

    On July 1st 2007, the smoking ban in England and Wales comes into effect. The ban is to include shisha smoking in all restaurants and cafes. Some smart arse has started a petition on the PM's website to try and exempt shisha smoking from the ban.. 'cos you know, its 'cultural'!

    Anyway, the point is, support the shisha and STOP THE MADNESS!!

    Sign the petition and forward to everyone in the world!


    Shisha cafes are different to pubs, restaurants, and other public places which are to be affected by the smoking ban in England and Wales, because of the simple fact that the sole reason of going to a shisha cafe, is for social smoking with friends and family. Non smokers do not go to shisha cafes. To ban shisha cafes from operating is not only to remove an integral, uniting, and contributory part of middle eastern and arabic culture from British society, but also to effectively remove the attraction and appeal of these areas (such as Edgware Road in London), thus having an added significant detrimental effect to the majority of local businesses situated within the local area who are not involved in the shisha smoking business, but who depend on this attraction to draw people to the local community. Help the local businesses, help the community, and help those who believe that the government is forcing regulation in a sector that is essentially a matter of choice and personal taste.

    Posted by at 5 comments :

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