Dubai Human Rights Watch(HRW) has called on the UAE not to deport migrant workers for staging a rare strike to demand better pay and work conditions.

“It would be scandalous if the UAE deported workers who have taken a courageous stand for their basic rights, ” HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement on Saturday.

The New York - based group cited media reports claiming authorities in the UAE had slapped deportation orders on 43 migrants who joined a strike by workers at the Arabtec construction giant.

Arabtec said on Wednesday that thousands of mainly Asian workers had ended a strike that began at the weekend.

“This strike is a stark reminder of the UAE’s failure to reform its exploitative labor system, ” Whitson charged.

Strikes are banned in the UAE, where unions do not exist and the government does not stipulate a minimum wage.

Unskilled workers earn a monthly salary of no more than 900 dirhams(about $245).

The workers were demanding their 350 dirhams($95) food allowance paid with their wages rather than the three daily meals provided by the company, English - language daily The National reported.

Arabtec said the strike was a result of “a minority group who will be held accountable for their actions”.