Despite reports from Baghdad about the ongoing-armed conflict, business continues unabated and civilian workers recruited by subcontracting companies continue to get killed as a result. Recently four Filipino workers recruited by a Dubai-based subcontracting firm to work ...

By Vm Sathish (Contributor)

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Published: Thu 19 Aug 2004, 1:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:32 AM

for a leading international company were killed in bomb blasts, two months later an Indian electrical engineer recruited by the same company died under similar circumstances.

According to sources, many Asian expatriates are recruited through various channels, including the Internet, to work in risky operations. About ninety Indian workers are employed in the same company where the 28-year-old deceased electrical engineer was working. Rough estimates indicate the number of Indians recruited to Iraq as several thousand and those of Filipino workers as a few thousands.

A leading multinational company which is implementing multibillion contracts in Iraq and Kuwait has posted more than 800 vacancies on its website which states that "recruitment and interviews are on every Friday in an American city". When City Times contacted the sub-contracting firm, an official said, “We are not a recruiting company and we don't recruit people to work in Iraq. You have come to the wrong division of the company."

After the recent death of the four Filipino workers in Baghdad, the Philippines government urged the company to send back several hundred workers employed overseas and banned them from recruiting workers to Kuwait and Iraq. The Dubai-based company has now stopped recruiting Filipino workers confirmed a source in the Labour Attaché of Philippines Embassy here.

However the company is now doing major subcontracting work for a multinational oil and construction giant. According to the company's website, it legally employs more than 24,000 employees and subcontracted personnel who are working in the Kuwait-Iraq region under two major contracts. The company has more than 6,000 subcontractors in Iraq alone and more than 100,000 employees worldwide. On the website the company claims that its employees in Iraq are risking their lives every day to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure and providing the American British troops housing, meals, mail and other vital services.

The company and its subcontractors have lost about 30 personnel while performing services under two major contracts in the Kuwait-Iraq region. The involvement of Asian skilled and semi skilled workers recruited through various Gulf countries is evident from the fact that since May 2003 it has built permanent facilities for troops in Iraq - from establishing housing facilities to installing hot showers and opening dining facilities to serve hot meals at 30 sites throughout the country. "Within 180 days, the company delivered and installed 34,000 living container units, 10,000 toilets and 10,000 showers to house 80,000 troops. Since May 2003, 64 Dining Facilities (DFACs) have opened throughout the Kuwait-Iraq region, serving more than 40 million meals. We have processed more than 1 million bundles of laundry and hosted close to 5 million people in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities - letting the troops take advantage of breaks in the action. The company has collected and disposed of more than 1.5 million cubic meters of trash and exterminated more than 8,000 tents and buildings," claims the website.

After the recent spate of kidnappings in Iraq, several countries have banned recruitment to Iraq. However, illegal recruitment is still on through websites.

"Our recruiters paint a very realistic picture"

City Times caught up with M.M Mason, media relation’s officer, KBR, to ask him about the company's recruitment policies in the UAE

Halliburton, an American oil and construction giant, has been in the news for getting multibillion defence and oil-related contracts associated with the British American coalition forces in Iraq. Being a company with international operations, it has been recruiting people from different countries to work in Iraq and Kuwait. Founded in 1919, Halliburton is one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the oil and gas industries. Halliburton employs more than 100,000 people in over 120 countries working in five major operating groups.

Its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is one of the world's leading engineering, construction and services companies which has subcontracted work to many regional companies including the Dubai based Prime Projects International (PPI). A wholly owned subsidiary of the Houston-based Halliburton, today KBR employs more than 60,000 people in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. City Times caught up with M.M. Mason, media relations officer, KBR, the Houston based company's official spokesman in Baghdad, Iraq to ask him about the plight of thousands of Asian workers toiling in the war zone

Several Indian and Filipino workers are indirectly employed by Halliburton and its subsidiary companies. Does Halliburton recruit people through Prime Projects International, a Dubai based company, for its Iraq operations? We believe several Asian expatriate employees recruited by this company have been exposed to the war front and it is alleged that your company does not provide sufficient safety and security for these workers.

KBR does sub-contract to the Dubai based company, Prime Projects International (PPI). PPI is performing work for KBR under the LOGCAP III contract with the majority of work being performed in Iraq. Under the contract, PPI is provided requirements for their personnel as part of the Statement of Work, these items include but are not limited to: transportation, housing, routine medical treatment, personal hygiene, personal protection equipment, and laundry.

Isn't Prime Projects International recruiting people from Dubai to work for your company/subsidiaries. Are you following the proper recruitment procedure when recruiting workers from the Middle East? Do you inform the recruitees about the potential dangers involved in working in a war zone?

Our work is in a difficult and dangerous environment. We work closely with the multinational authorities to ensure the safety and security of all our personnel in the region. KBR ensures that all potential KBR employees are well informed about the hazards and conditions of working in a hostile environment. I would refer you to PPI for information on their recruiting practices and procedures.

How many Indian workers are employed directly or indirectly by your company? What type of security is provided to such workers? A number of media reports suggest that such workers are subjected to harassment and physical abuse?

Employees of sub contractors living within US military installations are provided the same level of security as direct hire KBR employees. For reasons of security we do not detail our assessments and precautions in support of our efforts. The security of employees of sub contractors not living within an installation is based on the contractual agreement and the responsibility of the sub contract company.

The company's Code of Business Conduct (COBC) clearly does not allow unethical business practices. When KBR is advised of allegations of wrongdoing by a subcontractor or if we observe health or safety violations by a subcontractor, we interject ourselves into the matter to determine if the allegations are true or to correct health or safety violations. KBR does not condone and will not tolerate any practice that unlawfully compels subcontract personnel to perform work or remain in place against their will. KBR would terminate contractors for mistreatment of their employees if the situation warranted it.

Are you employing illegal recruiting agencies and Internet recruitment firms to get people to work in Iraq?


What are your comments about the death of Mr Eldo, an electrical engineer who was working for Prime Projects International, a sub contractor for KBR Engineering & Construction? We believe many Filipino workers too have died in such attacks.

To date, Halliburton and our sub contractors have lost 45 personnel while performing work under our contracts in the Kuwait-Iraq region. The loss of a single employee diminishes all of us in the Halliburton family and our thoughts and prayers are extended to their family and friends.

What are the recruitment procedures followed by an internationally reputed company like Halliburton?

KBR has more than 30,000 employees and employees of subcontractors in the Iraq-Kuwait region. 11,000 of those employees are direct hires and recruited by KBR. We recruit though on our job website ( and at national job fairs. There are more then 100 job descriptions on the KBR website. Our recruiters paint a very realistic picture of the situation in Iraq, and make every effort to ensure potential employees understand the hazards, the hostile environment, and difficult living conditions.

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