QDVC opens up labour camp to media inspection

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Just one day after Amnesty International released a critical report on the status of Qatar’s construction workers, QDVC, a Qatari shareholding company, arranged a media tour of its labour camp and project sites to demonstrate its ‘transparency’ and ‘excellent working conditions’ offered to their workers. QDVC CEO Yanick Garillon and his team gave the presentation to the media at its onsite camp office at the Sheraton Park Project (SPP). Four officials from the Ministry of Labour also joined the media team during its supervised tour. Garillon said that QDVC ensured that their workers were provided with the best of working environments and facilities. “Since we know that our standards are very high, we ourselves invited the media to see how we treat our construction workers.” The CEO recalled that QDVC stemmed from the association of Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company (51%) with France-based VINCI Construction Grands Projets (49%). While Qatari Diar is regarded as a worldwide leader in sustainable real estate development with a portfolio of 49 projects in 29 countries, VINCI Construction Grands Projets is recognised as one of the world’s leading design, build and delivery civil-engineering companies currently active in 40 countries. Some of the projects QDVC is involved in include building four underground car parks in the Marina District of the new city Lusail; Lusail Light Rail Transit System, SPP, Pumping Station 70 and Qatar Bahrain Causeway. Human Resources Director QDVC Hamad Bakhit Q al-Marri told the media that around 2,000 construction workers are currently working on their project sites, out of which around 600 are on the SPP alone. Al-Marri said that the company expected the numbers of their construction workers to increase by two-folds by next year as pace of their projects increase. Safety manager SPP Vincent Le Roy said that “safety as a value” was QDVC’s motto. The goal of QDVC is to implement our safety culture and achieve the “zero accident” on worksites as well as during transportation. This goal is pursued through a wide range of actions and initiatives spanning reception procedures at worksites, training to address specific risks, analysis of accidents, enhancing skills, sharing knowledge and experience. Officials told the media that during the recruitment of foreign construction workers, the human resources department along with a project representative conducts overseas recruitment activities instead of sifting through thousands of CVs of candidates for various site positions. In 2012, after the interviews, more than 2,500 applicants in 2012 were given practical tests to ensure that they possessed the necessary skills. Around 950 joined the company during the year. QDVC also has a training academy of its workers and the media was given a tour of one such facility in Lusail. Training manager Constantine Gheorge told the mediapersons that both theoretical and practical classes were given to their workers, which included carpenters, foremen etc. The medium of instruction is also in a variety of languages, including three Indian dialects, Sri Lankan and Filipino languages, QDVC officials said that they noted that their training academy had boosted the morale and job satisfaction among their employees. On the last leg of the tour, the media was taken to the QDVC labour camp located in Al Khor, which had the capacity to house over 1,800 employees. The camp had a wide range of essential amenities, including a mini-supermarket, barbershop, first aid room, prayer room, garden, clean lavatories and shower areas. It also boasted of a recreational hall with a fully-equipped gymnasium, billiards and table tennis area, a viewing/singing room and a basketball court outside the building. The labor camp kitchen prepared a variety of menus, including Indian, Filipino, Arabic and Indonesian cuisine. Also, the camp had a designated storage room to ensure that the food served to employees was properly handled, and served hot and fresh in the huge dining halls. Also, the labour camp stationed a ‘Personnel Officer,’ ‘Camp Boss’ and ‘Camp Assistants’ in the facility to manage and maintain cleanliness, peace and order. http://www.gulf-times.com/qatar/178/details/372076/qdvc-opens-up-labour-camp-to-media-inspection