Abu dhbai, 5/7/2014 11:00:00 AM - TDIC is pleased that Gulf Labor has highlighted the company's ongoing efforts in enhancing the welfare of Saadiyat construction workers on May 2, 2014 in its recently released report. The company has been engaging with various groups interested in our programme to continue to improve conditions and support construction workers involved in our projects. Therefore, TDIC invited Gulf Labor to the Saadiyat Accommodation Village, which they recognized in their report as a high-quality facility:
'...there are concrete benefits that the SAV offers to workers on Saadiyat. Among these are proximity to worksites (avoiding 1-3 hour commutes that are common elsewhere), and generally modern and clean facilities conforming to minimum international standards. There are TV rooms, a well-manicured cricket pitch, a gymnasium, a library, pool tables, and other amenities rarely seen in accommodation for migrant workers.'
Some of the matters raised in the report had already been discussed with Gulf Labor members, including solutions, as TDIC had already been made aware of them. Some workers were unhappy with the food being served at the Village and others reported some water leakage problems. These issues, which are important yet manageable, are currently being resolved with a renovation programme that is currently underway for each cluster of the Village.
We also discussed with Gulf Labor long-term solutions to the issue of recruitment fees paid by workers in their countries of origin, a practice which TDIC is strongly opposed to. TDIC continues to welcome all efforts and proposals to tackle this issue; however, we find the proposed solution by Gulf Labor will only further deepen the problem and reward employment agents who will probably raise the recruitment fee even further. Gulf Labor's suggestion was to reimburse Saadiyat workers with a one-time relocation fee of USD 2,000. In fact, we strongly believe that such a solution wouldn't resolve the issue from its roots and defeats the goal that TDIC is trying to reach.
TDIC is addressing this issue whenever possible, however, as we had mentioned to Gulf Labor and many others concerned with this matter, this is an issue that must be addressed by various organisations through collaborative effort and in a broader scope, including the governments of the workers' home countries. That has been re-affirmed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their independent monitoring report: 'full resolution of this issue is beyond TDIC's direct influence and also requires action outside of the UAE.' We believe that a real and effective solution is possible following thorough research of those countries into the practices that allow the system of recruitment fees to remain.
TDIC is also concerned that Gulf Labor continues to disparage the company publicly in spite of their statements that they want to engage with TDIC in a sincere manner. These actions by Gulf Labor are jeopardizing any opportunity to find a real solution for the issue of recruitment fees that construction workers face.
TDIC remains committed to the welfare of construction workers, and will continue to apply best practices within the industry to ensure that this is maintained to the highest standards possible. Today, TDIC is extending an open invitation to any interested party to join us in finding a practical and permanent solution to the pressing issue of workers' recruitment fees.