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DUBAI, Mar 23: A leading UAE construction firm said there was unrest among labourers this week, as newspapers reported hundreds of foreign construction workers rioted at the site of a major project in Dubai.

Foreign workers employed by Al Naboodah Laing O’Rourke smashed cars on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at the Burj Dubai development to demand higher wages and protest against unpaid overtime and salary cuts, newspapers said.

Burj Dubai is being developed by major realtor Emaar Properties, which says it will be the world’s tallest building upon completion in 2008.

The company said it had resolved the dispute and work had resumed.  “Regrettably... there has been unrest on certain of our projects in Dubai as a consequence of misinformation and misunderstanding with some of our workforce,” said a company statement.   

“These issues have now been addressed and resolved through official channels with the assistance of the Dubai Labour Ministry ... We are pleased to report that following positive discussions the employees on our sites are now returning to work.”

Newspapers quoted police as saying no arrests had been made.

Thousands of foreign workers have gone on strike over unpaid wages in the United Arab Emirates in the past year, and authorities have said they will crack down on offending firms.

Foreign labourers as well as middle and high-income expatriates lured by tax-free jobs make up around 85 percent of the four million people in the UAE, which is enjoying a construction boom.


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