Cheap Labour

ABU DHABI, Jan 22, 2008 (AFP) – Gulf Arab states heavily dependent on an Asian labour force agreed on Tuesday with labour-sending Asian countries to join forces against the exploitation of expat workers from Asia. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) labour ministers and counterparts from Asia are to propose an action plan to protect the welfare of Asian workers, according to their Abu Dhabi Declaration.

The ministers have recommended the drawing up within three months of the plan aimed at “preventing illegal recruitment practices” both at the country of origin and in host countries.

The declaration also called for “promoting welfare and protection measures for contractual workers … and preventing their exploitation at origin and destination.”

Emirati Labour Minister Ali al-Kaabi said at the start of the ministerial meeting on Tuesday that “guest workers must be afforded the security that they will receive the benefits that they are entitled to”.

The Abu Dhabi Labour Dialogue was the first of its kind to be held in a major labour-receiving country.

The meeting in the Emirati capital builds on the Asian Regional Consultative Process on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour, known as the Co