There has been a lot of discussion recently over the state of affairs at worker camps in Dubai. BBC's panorama went undercover with cameras and came back with images of disgusting conditions at several camps, including overflowing sewage at one
camp. See their piece of video journalism
. The Government has announced it was cracking down on these violations of the labor law. Read our follow-ups
is a very colorful visit to some construction sites by John Gravois.
However, there are some bright spots among construction companies in Dubai. I had a meeting this morning with
, the general manager of
Dutco Balfour Beatty
, at his office in Jebel Ali Free Zone. After we talked for awhile about safety issues in the industry, I asked if we could visit one of the nearby accommodations for his construction workers and he agreed. It is important to note that this was an unscheduled visit.
The place was impressive. There were a full-time staff of cleaners working at the site, so it was rather pristine. There was a cricket pitch, grocery stores with discounted food, several barber shops, and fairly decent looking rooms where six men slept on three sets of bunk beds.
Mr McCaig admitted that this was not the industry standard in the UAE, but he made an important point: For a business to function well and maximise its productivity, its employees needed to be content and have a place to relax at night. If they don't have that, quality deteriorates and there are more accidents.