Saadiyat worker welfare continues to improve, says PwC report

Abu Dhabi's master tourism developer has announced that a new report has confirmed that worker welfare on its Saadiyat Island developments has improved during 2015.

The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) said the fourth annual independent monitoring report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicated "many areas in which the company has made considerable progress in strengthening foreign worker conditions and protections".

PwC’s report, cited by news agency WAM, included interviews with randomly selected workers, and examined contractor and subcontractor compliance with TDIC’s Employment Practices Policy (EPP). It highlighted where progress has been made and where improvements are needed.

The report found that in 2015, of the 880 workers interviewed; 100 percent had medical insurance and had access to on-site medical care, 100 percent were in possession of their passports or had deposited them with employers willingly for safe-keeping.

Additionally, PwC said 90 percent of workers had received health and safety training on Saadiyat before commencing work.

Ali Majed Al Mansoori, TDIC’s chairman, said: "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.

"These are issues of critical importance to TDIC, and 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."

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PwC interviewed 880 workers who originated from five countries - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Philippines. While none are employed by TDIC directly, all work for contractors and subcontractors who are building TDIC projects such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi which is scheduled for completion later this year.

The Monitoring Programme, now in its fourth year, noted that "deeper specific insights and information on EPP operations and enforcement issues, has increased the number of positive interventions made by TDIC".

However, PwC also said that TDIC should consider the recruitment of additional resources to assist in the day-to-day application and monitoring of the EPP. This is now under consideration by TDIC.

PwC also observed that while it found instances of workers paying recruitment fees in their home countries, it said TDIC had taken firm measures against violators, including the imposition of financial penalties and the obligation of those contractors to reimburse the affected workers.

TDIC said it will use the results of the monitoring to further strengthen its own monitoring and enforcement systems overseeing the contractors it employs on its projects as well as to boost its stakeholder and partner outreach.

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