‘Considerable progress’ in working conditions on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island – PwC

Report includes interviews with 880 workers

PHOTO: Workers on-site at TDIC’s Louvre Abu Dhabi project. While there were instances recorded of labourers paying recruitment fees in their home countries, the developer is said to have taken measures against violators. Credit: TDIC

An independent report into employment practices on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi has indicated ‘considerable progress’ in conditions, according to a press statement.

Findings from the fourth annual independent monitoring report into employment practices within Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) projects were published this week.

The report, by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Abu Dhabi, includes interviews with 880 randomly selected workers, and examines contractor and subcontractor compliance with TDIC’s Employment Practices Policy (EPP).

PwC’s report “indicates many areas in which the company has made considerable progress in strengthening foreign worker conditions and protections,” TDIC said in a statement.

The workers hailed from five countries: India (38%), Pakistan (30%), Bangladesh (29%), Nepal (3%) and Philippines (<0.5%). While none are employed by TDIC directly, all work for contractors and subcontractors engaged in TDIC projects.

Contractors were notified by PwC on the same day that interviews would be occurring with workers, ensuring results could not be influenced by them, TDIC said.

Of the 880 workers interviewed, 100% are in possession of medical insurance and had access to on-site medical care. All workers have possession of their passports or have deposited them with employers willingly for safe-keeping, the report found. All long-term workers (employed for 30 days or longer) employed on Saadiyat projects are residing in the Saadiyat Accommodation Village, the report noted.

In addition, 99% of workers had signed a Site Assignment Agreement (SAA) in their native languages providing full details of remuneration and working conditions; and 93% had signed a SAA prior to commencing work.

The report also says that 90% of workers had received health and safety training on Saadiyat before commencing work.

However, PwC also noted that TDIC should consider the recruitment of additional resources to assist in the day-to-day application and monitoring of the EPP.

While there were instances recorded of workers paying recruitment fees in their home countries, TDIC took measures against violators, PwC said. These included the imposition of financial penalties and the obligation of those contractors to reimburse the affected workers.

“We are particularly pleased with PwC’s observations that our ongoing efforts in response to the monitoring programme have produced notable improvements for the support and conditions for workers, who are vital to delivering our ambitious construction programme,” said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, TDIC’s Chairman of the Board.

“We have worked hard over the years on enhanced enforcement actions for contractors and subcontractors. PwC’s findings demonstrate our continued commitment to worker welfare.”

TDIC has previously come under fire over alleged mistreatment of migrant workers employed by contractors on its projects – claims the master developer has strongly denied.

The government-owned TDIC, which is behind projects like the Louvre Abu Dhabi, has said it would use the results of the latest report to further strengthen its own monitoring and enforcement systems overseeing the contractors it employs on its projects.


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