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Abu Dhabi slowdown forces Laing O’Rourke to cut 200 jobs

Hundreds of Dubai and Abu Dhabi construction workers lost their jobs last week as developer Aldar Laing O’Rourke and building service engineer Norman Disney Young (NDY) announced significant redundancies.

Aldar Laing O’Rourke – a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based developer Aldar and Anglo-Irish contractor Laing O’Rourke – shed around 200 jobs, about 10% of its staff. Numbers were unavailable for NDY job cuts. "Following the significant downturn in the Dubai property and construction markets in the last quarter of 2008 we have reduced staff numbers in our Dubai office," said an NDY spokesman.

"NDY remains committed to maintaining a strong operating presence in Dubai as our base for provision of services to Dubai itself and the broader Middle East region." A Laing O’Rourke spokesman said: "From time to time, there will be changes in the overall numbers employed on particular projects, and this is indeed the case here. All Aldar Laing O’Rourke projects are continuing on programme."

The outlook for construction is looking bleak in Dubai as the number of construction contracts awarded across the United Arab Emirates as a whole fell by 85% in 2008, according to research by MEED Projects (NCE 8 January 2009). A range of factors including the shortage of credit, fears of a property oversupply and materials price inflation, have created a downturn in the Dubai real estate market.

Despite the Dubai downturn, markets in other Middle Eastern countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are expected to remain buoyant and several large infrastructure projects are progressing.

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