The construction industry must step up on human rights - Our outreach to firms
Originally published in The Guardian, 19 April 2016
A recent survey by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to assess what companies in the construction industry across the Gulf are doing to protect vulnerable migrant workers resulted in only a 24% response rate - the lowest so far of all of the Resource Centre's surveys over the years. The reluctance of companies in the Gulf construction sector to engage is particularly concerning because the construction labour pool in the region is made up almost entirely of migrant workers. Companies who responded have taken a significant positive step for transparency and accountability on migrant worker welfare, but it means that the majority of companies have effectively fallen at the first hurdle, not even disclosing what measures they have in place to meet local labour laws.
Mariam Bhacker, Project Manager at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, argues that scrutiny of the construction industry in the Gulf is only going to increase, and it’s in companies’ interests to start talking or face the reputational and legal consequences.