* Arabtec says project timetables unaffected by strike
* Liaising with UAE authorities, seeking quick resolution
* Some striking labourers resumed work on Tuesday
* Rare example of labour unrest in UAE
(Recasts, adds worker comments, share price)
DUBAI, May 21 Arabtec, Dubai's largest
construction firm, said on Tuesday the delivery of projects was
unaffected by what it called a partial labour stoppage, adding
it was working with authorities in the United Arab Emirates to
resolve the issue.
Thousands of Arabtec workers have been on strike since
Saturday demanding better wages, a rare labour protest in the
Gulf Arab country which relies on migrant labourers hired on a
contract basis from South Asian countries for construction work
and which doesn't allow trade unions.
Two Arabtec employees said on Tuesday that some workers had
begun returning to work, but others continue to observe the
stoppage. Workers, who are paid $160-$190 a month, said they had
not been given any promises on wage increases.
"Arabtec has been working closely with the UAE Ministry of
Labour, the Dubai Police and the concerned security authorities
to resolve as soon as possible a partial workers stoppage by a
limited number of Arabtec labour employees," the company said in
a bourse filing on Tuesday.
"Arabtec reiterates that project delivery timelines have and
will not be affected."
Work stopped at most Arabtec work sites in Dubai for a third
day on Monday, including the $163-million Dubai Airport Terminal
Other sites like the government housing project in Dubai's
Al Barsha area and some commercial towers on the main Sheikh
Zayed Road and in the Dubai Marina were impacted.
Several sites in Abu Dhabi were also affected, including the
new Midfield Airport Terminal project.
The National newspaper said that police were called into one
labour camp at Jebel Ali port area after workers refused to
report to work on Monday, but it gave no further details.
Arabtec was part of a consortium that won a $653 million
contract in January to build a branch of France's Louvre museum
on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island. The master developer of the
project, Tourism and Development Investment Company (TDIC), said
it had not been impacted by the strike.
Arabtec, in which Abu Dhabi state-owned fund Aabar owns a
near 22-percent stake, was among the contractors that built
Dubai's palm-shaped island projects and the world's tallest
tower, the Burj Khalifa.
Arabtec labourers told Reuters on Monday they are demanding
an increase of around 200 dirhams ($54.45) in monthly salary.
"We are only asking for 1,000 dirhams per month but the
company is not agreeing to this," said one Arabtec worker who
spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The Labour Ministry had said that Arabtec was paying the
workers according to contracts it had signed with them, adding
their accommodation was in compliance with labour regulations.
The Dubai-based firm's shares were up 0.8 percent on
Tuesday, after a 2 percent drop the day before.
(Reporting by David French and Praveen Menon; Editing by Dinesh
Nair, Sami Aboudi and Mark Potter)