New interactive platform tracks construction companies’ action on migrant-worker rights in the Gulf

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Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is inviting 100 construction companies operating in Qatar and/or the UAE to respond to a set of questions about their approach to migrant-worker rights.

Of the 47 companies we have contacted to date, 10 companies have submitted full responses, 5 have issued general statements, and 10 have declined to respond. We have not received any responses from the remaining 22 companies.

Our new interactive platform enables users to:

  • find out which companies are reporting on their human rights impacts in the Gulf, and which are failing to do so
  • explore company responses by question: issues covered include recruitment, wages, passport retention, accommodation, health & safety & more
  • compare what policies and processes companies have in place to protect migrant workers from labour abuses
  • access resources on migrant workers in the Gulf including reports, legal frameworks, and company guidance
  • stay up-to-date on the latest news and company responses
  • get involved: send us resources, commentaries and reactions for inclusion on the platform

 The platform will be available in Arabic in July.

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Initial findings from the company responses include:

  • Lack of transparency among construction contractors & no accountability along the contracting chain
  • Some international companies are making significant progress on worker welfare & employment practices
  • Absence of industry collaboration leads to a lottery for workers
  • Find out more in our recent Guardian commentary

For more information about the project or to get invovled contact: [email protected]

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Article
23 June 2016

"New survey sheds light on construction practices in the Gulf" - Commentary on Business & Human Rights Resource Centre online platform

Author: David Segall, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights (USA)

"New survey sheds light on construction practices in the Gulf, 22 Jun 2016"

…[T]he Business and Human Rights Resource Centre launched a new interactive platform that tracks and compares engineering and construction (E&C) companies’ policies on migrant worker rights in the Gulf region. The platform is survey-based, relying on self-reporting by large firms operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

Looking at the results, here are three takeaways about the state of migrant workers’ rights in the Gulf construction industry: 1. Construction firms in the Gulf are nervous about human rights. 2. Large construction firms may exert more direct control in employment than they’ve previously acknowledged. 3. Construction companies expect their suppliers to adhere to standards, but don’t carry out enforcement actions to ensure that they do.

...[M]ore transparency...reveals that large engineering and construction firms have the ability to make positive changes for better work in this important sector.

Read the full post here

Article
10 June 2016

The Gulf: Cleaning up construction

Available at business-humanrights.org...an interactive platform that aims to track construction companies on their performance and action related to migrant workers’ rights in the Persian Gulf region. Based on a survey, it includes their direct involvement as contractors, or on account of links through business associates...this includes India-based and regionally expansive businesses Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd. 

...of the 47 companies reached in the initial phase, 10 have responded and five more issued statements. Ten declined the survey. The remaining 22 are yet to respond—L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji among them. This is dismal, but hardly unsurprising for a sector that has opted easily for handsome earnings over what I imagine are humdrum ethics. There is also the matter of countries encouraging the flow of migrant workers to West Asia to combat unemployment at home, and twin it with earnings that migrant workers repatriate. Such countries often paper over methods employed by unscrupulous recruiters at home that form the first step in the cycle of exploitation. It all needs a nudge—even a handsome shove—to clean up. 

Read the full post here