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DIRECT FROM THE MIDDLE EAST Dubai meltdown threatens OFWs jobs

- Josephus Jimenez () - December 31, 2009 - 12:00am

The thousands of Filipino migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are extremely worried about their bleak future following the shocking news of the United Arab Emirates financial meltdown, which unexpectedly surfaced before the long holidays of the EID Al Adha. This is bad news to the OFWs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the other emirates within the UAE.

The Dubai local government announced before the EID holidays that the State-controlled Dubai World is intending to suspend payments on its debts for the next six months. Put in local context, it is equivalent to our own Ayala or San Miguel declaring financial difficulties and inability to honor their obligation, (which, of course, are beyond our imagination). But Dubai World is equal, if not superior to the Ayala group or the SM and Gokongwei business empires in the local context. There is a mad scramble in the UAE stock market and the values are plunging to seemingly unreachable depths.

Retrechments and closures

At the end of 2007, the entire UAE had a total population of 6.4 million people. Out of that, 5.5 million were foreign workers. But today, the workers went down to 3 million.

The OFWs number about 200,000. But in the light of this economic meltdown, there have been a lot of redundancies, retrenchments and closures.

Filipinos have left in droves and the numbers of affected OFWs are bound to rise. In the next few weeks, restaurants are closing or reducing business hours. Hotels are reducing prices and even air fares are at bargain rates even during Christmas holiday. The signs of gloom and doom are vividly written on the walls of structures and in the long faces of businessmen, bureaucrats and foreign workers.

ABU DHABI AL ADHA AYALA BUT DUBAI WORLD DUBAI DUBAI WORLD GOKONGWEI RETRECHMENTS SAN MIGUEL UAE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
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