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CIOB backs tough new welfare code for Qatar's migrant workers


4th October 2013

As reported by Construction Manager Magazine, the CIOB in Qatar is backing a new welfare code on migrant labour that has already been written into all subcontracts for a multi-billion government infrastructure project, and could soon be adopted into legislation.

The Institute’s Middle East president is also urging members and expat construction professionals in the region to challenge unacceptable welfare standards and adopt welfare as a key responsibility on projects.

In a further move to enshrine fair treatment of migrant workers in all construction contracts, Constructing Excellence is in talks with the Qatar government, UK Trade & Investment, local construction firms and the CIOB about setting up a regional branch in Qatar.

The CIOB is backing the take-up of Mandatory Standards of Migrant Worker’s Welfare for Contractors and Subcontractors, a 51-page document published in July by the Qatar Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation working to modernise Qatar society. The foundation has strong links to Qatar’s ruling royal family.

Stephen Lines, the Doha-based CIOB President for Middle East, said that the new code could make more of an impact on the ground than the existing legislation as it would be implemented along the contractual chain and reach the subcontractors likely to be the worst offenders. If subcontractors are found to be in breach of the code, they could be thrown off the project.

Lines said: “The CIOB in Qatar has been talking to the Qatar Foundation, for over a year, on what we could do to raise standards. The Qatar Foundation has developed a specification document on labour welfare and accommodation that has already been put in place contractually on a major infrastructure project. That means the document has to be included in all the subcontracts, and the client team will then inspect the subcontractors’ labour camps. If they’re not up to scratch, they’re given a period of time to put it in order. If they fail, they’re taken off the project, and taken off the books and barred from tendering from future work.”

“The document sets down very strict guidelines, about issues such as the ratio of labourers to supervisors, the specification for the labour camps and the number of calories for each worker each day. What we’re also hearing is that this new specification will find its way into legislation early next year.”

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Saul Townsend
+44 (0) 1344 630 766

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