Abu Dhabi, 11/22/2013 12:00:00 PM - The second annual independent monitoring report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was released today, detailing the workers welfare practices by the main contractors and subcontractors of Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) working on active projects on Saadiyat.
Monitoring work included a review of TDIC's implementation of the EPP and initial visits to contractors and subcontractors, performed between March and April, together with follow-up reviews and additional monitoring visits, carried out between June and November. In total, 565 workers were interviewed, on construction sites on Saadiyat island, representing 19 per cent of the average monthly worker population.
The EPP stipulates specific requirements on workers' welfare issues which are based on the UAE Labour Law and, in certain areas, international labour practices. These requirements, which TDIC has continued to develop for the benefit of workers on Saadiyat island, cover: the workers recruitment process, the contractors' employment processes, retention of passports, payment of wages, accommodation and facilities, grievance mechanisms, health and safety and EPP administration.
The report states: "Since completion of the 2012 Monitoring Programme, TDIC has made efforts in 2013 to improve worker social welfare on Saadiyat island and increase the level of compliance by the Contractors with the EPP." The report also notes that "Throughout our monitoring work [in 2013], TDIC and most of the contractors and subcontractors were supportive of the EPP and its objectives and facilitated the delivery of the Monitoring Programme," and "TDIC worked with us throughout the year to help resolve any issues we did identify in delivering the Monitoring Programme."
Among the findings highlighted in the report, was the establishment and implementation of financial penalties dependent on contractor's performance in relation to the EPP, the first of which was issued to a contractor in August by TDIC. In addition, when monitoring results indicated that a subcontractor had delayed payment of wages to workers, the company took immediate action which resulted in the subcontractor paying all their workers in an appropriate and timely manner.
Ali Al Hammadi, TDIC Deputy Managing Director, said: "We have always been committed to transparency as well as ensuring workers' welfare to the best of our abilities. We are pleased to note that in the second independent monitoring report, TDIC has made good strides in regards to our EPP. We are now studying how to best implement the recommendations outlined with all parties involved in Saadiyat's ongoing construction projects."
Also, during PwC's visits, the independent monitoring team learnt that 100 per cent of workers are in possession of their passports, whether in-hand or had voluntarily given them to their employers for safekeeping.
While overall improvements were noted in some areas since the 2012 report, the findings highlight that issues in particular related to workers payment of recruitment and relocation fees to agents in their home countries - remain. TDIC is acting on this issue where possible, including the demobilisation of a subcontractor for non-compliance with TDIC's clauses related to workers payment of recruitment and relocation fees, although the report states that "full resolution of this issue is beyond TDIC's direct influence and also requires action outside of the UAE."