European Union representatives given first-hand look into conditions, following claims of alleged mistreatment of workers
Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has hosted an European Union (EU) delegation for a tour of its Saadiyat Accommodation Village.
The village is a residential facility housing construction workers employed on TDIC projects, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which are part of the Saadiyat Cultural District.
The delegation was given a first-hand look at the living standards of Saadiyat workers, TDIC said in a statement.
The move follows criticism from human-rights groups over alleged mistreatment of migrant workers on Saadiyat Island.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) in February issued its third report about alleged violations of workers’ rights on Saadiyat Island. The watchdog said that some employers on the project, including contractors on the New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi site, were “withholding migrant workers’ wages and benefits, failing to reimburse them for recruiting fees, confiscating workers’ passports, and housing workers in substandard accommodations.”
In the most serious cases, HRW said contractors at the NYU and Louvre Abu Dhabi sites apparently informed UAE authorities about worker strikes, allegedly leading to the deportation of hundreds of striking workers.
During their tour of Saadiyat Island, the EU representatives “expressed positive feedback” about the living conditions at the worker accommodation, TDIC said. The delegation was also able to learn more about the workers’ daily lives and recreational activities, including entertainment events, sporting tournaments and movie nights.
They were also given an overview of the progress achieved on worker welfare, outlined in the latest published annual independent monitoring report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which was appointed by TDIC to look into the issue.
“We are proud of all that we have achieved to date in regards to the welfare of our workers on Saadiyat,” said Ali Yousef Al Hammadi, TDIC chief executive. “TDIC takes the welfare of our workers seriously, and is seeking to continuously enhance the current guidelines according to standards set by international best practices in the industry.”