NYU set to compensate thousands of migrant workers on Abu Dhabi complex
- 24 April 2015
- | The Guardian
New York University (NYU) has pledged to compensate thousands of migrant workers who built its new campus in Abu Dhabi after an investigation found that roughly a third were excluded from safeguards intended to stop them from being abused and exploited.
About 10,000 people were not covered by the university’s labour guidelines, which were meant to protect them from exploitative conditions including forced labour, poor wages, illegal recruitment fees and associated debts, squalid living conditions, and abuse and harassment, according to a report by the international investigations firm Nardello & Co.
The report found that the system monitoring compliance with the guidelines was flawed, with local contractors – including Mubadala, a real estate company owned by the Abu Dhabi government – exploiting a loophole to exempt some subcontractors from the labour guidelines, which increased their profits. It concluded that “this practice … created a significant gap in coverage that disenfranchised thousands of workers from the protections contemplated by the labo[u]r guidelines”.
Uncovering Abuses in Abu Dhabi
- 21 April 2015
- | The Brian Lehrer Show
Daniel Nardello, the CEO of Nardello & Co., investigated labor practices for New York University at the school’s Abu Dhabi campus. He shares what he learned about how workers were treated.
NYU Abu Dhabi workers entitled to better, report finds
- 17 April 2015
- | The Times Higher Education
The review, published on 16 April, corroborates several allegations made in the media and by non-governmental organisations about the treatment of workers on the Saadiyat Island site.
All workers on the project should have been guaranteed living and working conditions that went beyond the United Arab Emirates’ labour laws under guidelines issued by NYU and its government partners.
But the report, commissioned by NYU and Tamkeen, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Executive Affairs Authority, finds that between 30 and 35 per cent of the approximately 30,000 workers employed on the campus project were excluded from these protections.