Inflation gives labour the upper hand in Middle East

Construction workers on building sites in the Gulf have bargaining power and increasingly know it, while governments wonder how to respond.

Demand for workers needed to build the $1.9 trillion worth of capital projects in the inflation afflicted Gulf region has resulted in labour shortages and higher wages. Some construction companies now struggle to find the Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani workers who are building the glitzy hotels and office towers, which are then later serviced and cleaned by other poor Southeast Asian immigrants but which house wealthy businessmen and free-spending tourists.

Most workers have fixed contracts with labour-supply companies, and are...

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