CORPORATE PRACTICE

A Global Construction Company and a Union Federation Team Up to combat Worker Abuse

French-based global concession-and-construction player VINCI has signed an agreement to ensure that its construction workers in Qatar are treated with dignity and guaranteed safe and decent living and working conditions.

The agreement is a new and unique way to prevent forced labour and human rights infringements among workers, not least migrant workers. It covers both the company’s own workers and its subcontractors’ workers. The agreement was signed by VINCI, Qatari Diar Vinci Construction (QDVC) – a joint venture between VINCI and the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company – and Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), the global union federation for unions in the construction and forestry sectors.

Before, during and after employment
Prior to deployment to Qatar, workers are informed of employment terms and conditions, rights and responsibilities, and health and safety risks.

Once in Qatar, the agreement ensures decent working conditions and protection of workers’ health. It also stipulates how wages should be set and paid, along with rules for working hours, rest time, paid holidays and medical and emergency leave. Workers are provided with clean, safe and decent living and leisure facilities.

Through workers’ committees, workers and management can discuss working and living conditions and rights.

Workers can always terminate their employment without penalty and are guaranteed a return to their home country.

Reporting concerns and monitoring the agreement
Workers can file complaints without facing retaliation, and a system is setup to ensure that managers do not ignore them.

The three signing parties ensure the effectiveness of the agreement by setting up an extensive system of follow-up, reporting, monitoring, inspection, and auditing. This includes a reference group that will review compliance reports and revise the agreement as needed.

A role model for the industry
Companies are increasingly expected to consider the social and environmental impact of their operations. This agreement formalizes VINCI and QDVC’s efforts to ensure decent conditions for its workers, and may serve as an example for other construction companies.

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