Abu Dhabi, 1/28/2014 12:00:00 PM - Tourism Development & Investment Company TDIC announced that a limited number of workers who had been temporarily relocated from the Saadiyat Accommodation Village due to a workers' dispute have now completely returned to the Saadiyat Accommodation Village. The workers had been temporarily housed in a nearby accommodation village following a conflict between two ethnic groups on August 20, 2013.
TDIC, the master developer of major tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, requires contractors to house construction workers employed at its construction projects in the Saadiyat Accommodation Village. The return of the workers is in compliance with the company's Employment Practices Policy (EPP) document which strictly requires that all construction workers employed on Saadiyat live at the purpose built Saadiyat Accommodation Village.
Accordingly, TDIC is glad to announce that all the construction workers working on Saadiyat island have now returned to live at the Saadiyat Accommodation Village following the dispute which had erupted in August. TDIC continues to work very closely with the operator of the Saadiyat Accommodation Village to ensure that the quality and standards of living for the workers are met on a daily basis.
Accordingly, TDIC is also working with its partners to meet the high standard of accommodation and benefits for all workers on the island. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had reported its second annual independent monitoring report detailing workers welfare practices by the main contractors and subcontractors of TDIC in December 2013. The report identified a major enhancement programme currently underway to maintain the existing high standards of the Saadiyat Accommodation Village and its facilities.
As per TDIC's EPP, it is the contractors' responsibility to reimburse workers with any recruitment fees they might have paid in their home countries to secure their jobs. TDIC wishes to highlight that it has recently updated the EPP to impose a new measure that requires contractors to reimburse construction workers with recruitment fees that they had paid prior to working on Saadiyat projects.
This new measure was taken although the independent monitoring report by PwC clearly stated that: "it is widely acknowledged that the full resolution of this issue is beyond TDIC's direct influence and also requires action outside of the UAE."
TDIC would like to highlight that it has taken the measures within its own capacity to control this matter, but unfortunately the practice appears to remain in place in countries of origin. TDIC strongly believes that this requires collaborative effort and call on social organizations to take serious action to put real effort into solving this matter which is more of an industry-wide issue rather than a practice specific to Saadiyat alone.
As per the EPP, it is the contractors' responsibility to pay for any relocation costs related to workers. Incidents have been found as reported in the PwC report where fees for relocation had been deducted from the workers' salary by the contractors and it is a matter that TDIC is monitoring very closely. TDIC has taken the implementation of this clause very seriously and in one case on November 17, 2013 a subcontractor was demobilized from the site due to non-compliance with the EPP.
The implementation of the EPP remains a task of serious importance to TDIC and the Executive Committee - the highest governing body at TDIC - has taken over the responsibilities of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee in order to further strengthen oversight, implementation and transparency with regards to the EPP, which is an essential element in every contract between TDIC and appointed contractors.