United Arab Emirates Thousands of South Asian construction workers went on strike Sunday over harsh working conditions in the latest threat to a spectacular building boom already endangered by a falling currency and labor shortage.
Dubai is home to the world's tallest building - the Burj Dubai, expected to be completed in 2008 - and the first Armani luxury hotel. The boom has been possible due to plentiful investment from oil-rich neighbors and armies of nonunionized South Asian workers whose fear of deportation, until recently, kept them from voicing discontent over low wages.
On Sunday the laborers ignored the threat of deportation and refused to go to work, staging protests at a labor camp in Dubai's Jebel Ali Industrial Zone and on a construction site in Al Qusais residential neighborhood. They demanded pay increases, improved housing and better transportation services to construction sites.