HRW report on Saadiyat Island workers refuted

Tourism Development and Investment Company says report's conclusions on foreign labour employment practices on Saadiyat Island outdated and based on unknown methodologies.

By (Wam)

Published: Wed 11 Feb 2015, 11:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:25 PM

Abu Dhabi - The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi, has rejected a report by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on foreign labour employment practices on Saadiyat Island.

The TDIC called the report’s conclusions “unfounded”, “outdated and based on unknown methodologies”.

The TDIC is the primary developer for Saadiyat and is constructing a cultural district comprising the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum. In building such landmark projects, the TDIC has endeavoured to ensure that working conditions and practices on Saadiyat meet international standards and comply with the UAE labour law, the company said.

The company has established a comprehensive employment practices policy (EPP), outlining the standards required from the companies working on its projects, and laying out penalties for those found to be in breach of any aspect, it said. It has established the Saadiyat Accommodation Village, a facility in which all TDIC contractors and subcontractors must be housed.

Many groups, including British Members of Parliament, museum partners and senior foreign diplomats, have toured Saadiyat’s construction sites and worker housing facilities and have praised the quality of the conditions and the standard provided.

To ensure compliance with the EPP, the TDIC has retained international auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to independently monitor the works on Saadiyat and release its findings to the public at the end of every year. The company has taken action whenever there is a credible complaint, including evicting contractors who have flouted the EPP.

The latest PwC monitoring report, released in December 2014, was based on interviews with 1,050 workers, the TDIC said. — Wam

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