DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Food delivery workers protesting poor wages and inadequate protections have left their jobs Dubaitheir company confirmed on Tuesday, marking the second strike in as many weeks in an emirate that has clamped down on dissent.
Foreign workers contracted by Talabat, the Middle East branch delivery herowhich began a strike late Monday after organizing on social media, crippling the app’s service.
With fuel prices soaring, many said they were demanding a modest pay rise on top of the current $2.04 per delivery — less than what sparked another extremely rare strike by delivery service contractors Delivery last week.
Delivery Drivers now earn $2.79 per delivery after a strike forced the U.K.-based company to abandon plans to cut workers’ wages and extend hours. Strikes and unions remain illegal in the United Arab Emirates, where issues of labor standards have been controversial in recent years.
Videos shared on social media showed dozens of Talabat riders gathered around parked motorcycles at dawn. It was unclear how many drivers took part in the strike, which led Talabat to admit on Tuesday some “operational delays”.
Talabat, owned by Germany delivery heroconfirmed the shutdown in a statement to The Associated Press, saying the company was “committed to ensuring riders can continue to rely on our platform to support their families.”
“Until last week, rider pay satisfaction was well above 70 percent,” the company added, without disclosing how that figure was derived. “However, we understand that the economic and political realities are constantly changing and we will always continue to listen to the drivers.”
Several high-profile Talabat riders said they wanted to increase the fee to about $2.72 per delivery, especially if they were squeezed by soaring gas prices paid out of their own pockets. Many people drive about 300-400 kilometers (190-250 miles) a day.
The riders also described a slew of other costs that drained their salaries, including visa fees for contractors who ensured they got jobs. Dubai, tolls, regular motorcycle maintenance costs such as oil changes and hospital costs.Drivers say contractors don’t provide drivers with adequate accident insurance, even though many crash regularly Dubaidangerous road.
This makes delivery workers, in part DubaiThe vast foreign workforce, mainly from Africa and Asian countries such as India and Pakistan, has little cash to pay rent and send home to their supportive families.
The UAE has faced continued criticism from human rights groups due to long hours, poor conditions and relatively low wages for its manual workers as it struggles to shape its image as an international haven for expatriate workers. There have been occasional strikes over wage disputes in the past, although workers have faced deportations and prosecutions for outbursts of dissent.
Authorities say the country has undertaken labor reforms and provided many workers with better money than they could find in poverty and sometimes conflict back home.
Companies struggle to find staff after pandemic sparked mass layoffs of manual workers Dubai, analysts say delivery contractors feel emboldened in the emirate’s tight labor market. Gulf Arab states are also increasingly competing to attract foreign workers and professionals.
“The full damage to the labor market has yet to be factored in,” said Ryan Bohl, senior Middle East analyst at U.S. risk intelligence firm RANE. “Strike workers know they can’t be replaced anytime soon.”
Khan, a 24-year-old Talabat driver and breadwinner for a family of nine in Peshawar, Pakistan, said he was in Dubai – Even though he has not had a day off for three months and works 15 hours a day. He said he had been hit by a car twice and injured his foot at work, but he had been unable to afford treatment.
“I’m not being prominent for me or my friends. I know it’s not good for us,” he said, requesting that only his last name be shown to avoid retaliation. “It’s for the future. For people like us, come here Dubai. “
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