Arabtec opens up labour camps for inspection

Construction site chief invites media for tour of camps in Dubai after BBC programme.

Arabtec Holdingis set to open its labour accommodation camps to journalists on Thursday.

Chief executive Riad Kamalhas invited members of the media to tour seven of the construction firm’s camps in Dubai.

He agreed to requests on Monday from reporters, including Arabian Business, to visit the accommodation following a documentary by the BBC’s Panorama programme which claimed the firm’s camps were filthy and overcrowded.

Cameras for the current affairs TV documentary, which aired in the UK last week, filmed overflowing raw sewage leaking through one Arabtec camp.

One worker complained the toilets were so filthy they were unusable and about garbage and water blocking the roads around the camp.

Kamal has accused Panorama of being unfair in its reporting of the living and working conditions of workers of Arabtec Construction, a subsidiary of Arabtec Holding.

Arabtec, one of the largest contractors in the UAE which employs a total of 62,000 people, had more than 20 camps in Dubai and Abu Dhabi which were cleaned daily, Kamal told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.

Log on to to read Tom Arnold 's account from the labour camps on Thursday.

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Posted by: Charles

I think those who are not involved in the construction sector can comment easily without knowing the real situation. You have to understand that labour camps are not everywhere, they are only in the U.A.E and GCC. The difference is most workers here come from abroad and as we all know for a company to house 100 + employees is not like housing 10. Rent is very expensive and clients or developers hardly provide the contractor with a suitable plot of land to build a descent labour camp. Recently, Dubai and the Jebal Ali free zone have built a new labour camp with 5 star facilities but unfortunately it only takes less than 8000 workers compared to more than 800,000 only in Dubai. Also, these labour camps are very expensive and the government should support the contractor in paying.

Posted by: Khaled

I also agree the company itself cannot be blamed for such issues. No matter how many times labourers are given induction on keeping the place tidy and clean, the same scenario repeats itself. I remember an incident when some workers had hidden a gas cooking cylinder in their room without telling the supervisors. Although the company has provided full meals on daily basis. It was the company that got fined at the end and not the workers.

Posted by: WILDYUVAA

The Labors definitely deserve a better deal when it comes to accomadation, since they are the backbone of any construction activity happened [or] happening here.

Posted by: Mohammed Irfan

Well there has been too much of hue and cry over the camps conditions. But isn't this a fact that these labourers are getting to live at least like humans here in Dubai. Being from Mumbai and that too being a Construction Engineer, i have seen the life of these workers in India. The type of slums they stay in in with their family. I feel life for them is much better than that in India.

Posted by: Nicola

We've hired hundreds of workers, provided them with new premises, not only clean but new blankets, coveralls, shoes and furniture. These were treated in such a bad way that after a few months the place looked like a war zone or a post earthquake site. Most workers don't respect company's property and any efforts to make them feel better. Many whom are not in the contracting business have no idea of how sometime is frustrating in dealing with labourers. Watching things as an outsider gives always a different prospective than the reality. I know for a fact that some companies are acting against human rights and should be punished, but I also know Arabtec (a competitor of my company) they are really one of the best standards amongst contractors and are doing their best.

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