Learning English - Words in the News
The cost of tea in Dubai
A storm in a teacup appears to be brewing in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The owners of cafeterias across the city have increased the price of a cup of tea by fifty percent. Low paid customers - many from South Asia - are unhappy. This report from Julia Wheeler:
It won't bother the tourists at Dubai's five-star hotels or the wealthy citizens who can afford the upmarket cafes, but the rise in the cost of a cup of tea at street cafeterias is upsetting the lower paid members of this cosmopolitan city. Newspapers say the rise from the equivalent of 13 to 20 US cents is the first in over 25 years, despite earlier unsuccessful attempts to make an increase.
The owners say inflation in the price of tea, plastic cups, tinned milk and gas to heat the water means they have little choice but to increase the cost if they're to stay in business. For low paid male workers - many from South Asia - the cafeterias are a social focus - the equivalent of a bar or pub in non-Muslim countries, a place to meet friends and workmates.
Many of those who frequent the cafes earn only a few hundred dollars a month - not enough to allow them to bring their families to live in the Emirates. Most of their wages are sent back home. The new cost of a cup of tea may be only a few cents more, but it's a price rise they're reluctant to swallow.
Julia Wheeler, BBC, Dubai
reluctant to swallow