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Revision of minimum wage of Indian workers soon

Officials are studying current cost and standard of living as well as wage structure (FILE)

By Joseph George

Migrant Indian workers in the UAE could see a revised pay package as the UAE Embassy in co-ordination with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is working on revising the 25-year-old minimum wage structure.

The current version of minimum wage of Dh600–Dh750 for unskilled and semi-skilled workers was set way back in the 1980s. Only the wages of Indian housemaids, who fall under the unskilled category, were revised about two years ago to Dh1,100.

Indian officials involved in the project are studying various aspects, including the current cost and standard of living as well as wage structure in other Gulf countries before finalising the details.

A senior official at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi yesterday told Emirates 24|7 that the new wage structure should be finalised within a month and implemented within the next two months.

“We are hoping to finalise the structure by March-end. The basic structure should be ready by the end of next month. However, we would like to finalise it after consultations with all the stakeholders,” the official said.

Demand for Indian housemaids drops drastically

Ever since the salary was revised, the demand for Indian housemaids have dropped drastically. In addition to free food, accommodation and a minimum salary of Dh1,100 per month, the maid has to be provided with a mobile phone and sim card. The employer also has to deposit Dh9,200 with the Indian embassy as a security deposit - refundable on termination of the contract.

MK Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, confirmed: “Following the implementation of additional safeguards and better pay, it has indeed become more expensive to hire Indian maids and the numbers have dropped ever since,” he said.

Commenting on the review of wages he said, the study is still at an early stage and details would soon be made available to public. It is not clear yet if the salary of Indian housemaids would go up further.

Meanwhile, the Indian Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs yesterday told journalists that discussions are on with the Ministry of Labour in the UAE for an amendment to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries. The new changes are expected to revise the labour laws and further safeguard Indian workers’ rights in the UAE.

The Minister also said that a web-based attestation of labour contracts would be soon implemented where a single and unified contract would be made available to all stake-holders.