On May 19th, 2013 thousands of workers began a strike at Arabtec, the contractor in charge of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The strike spread across several worksites in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including at the Saadiyat Island Construction Village.
The previous major strike at Arabtec in January 2011 had led to the deportation of 71 Bangladeshi workers.
See early press reports of the May 2013 strikes here:
The National: Arabtec workers in UAE strike over wage dispute
7 Days in Dubai: ‘How can we feed our families with DHS 750?’ asks an Arabtec labourer
On May 23th and 24th as the strikes were being declared over, more disturbing reports emerged of large-scale deportations, police action in worker camps (including reports of possible firing on protesters), and also workers being taken into custody. Some of these reports are here:
Al Jazeera: Striking Dubai workers face mass deportation.
The National: Striking Arabtec workers in UAE ‘helped to return home’
Global Post: Mostly Asian expat workers end rare UAE strike
Al Akhbar: UAE to deport striking workers