September 25, 2022

Tourism Development & Investment Company

PwC’s Assurance Practice in the Middle East Now Opining on Whether Construction Workers Are Being Treated Like Human Beings

It’s a slow day out there*, this first day back from Memorial Weekend so perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here but it seems that PwC might be stretching the definition of assurance services. Based on various obscure reports, the firm fka PricewaterhouseCoopers has been engaged by Tourism Development ‘&’ Investment Company (“TDIC”) “to monitor its contractors’ and subcontractors’ performance in the area of worker welfare on Saadiyat.”

“Saadiyat” is Saadiyat Island, a “mixed commercial, residential, and leisure project […] expected to be completed in 2020,” according to Wikipedia. This sort of project of course needs manpower, so presumably there will be plethora of construction workers coming from various parts of the world to earn some scratch. Anyhoo, it’s no secret that labor comes cheap in the Middle East and the treatment of workers isn’t the best. In an effort to get those pesky human rights types off their backs, TDIC has called on the most prestigious professional services firm in the world to assure everyone that worker welfare is just fine and dandy and there’s no cause for concern that these workers are living in squalor and being treated like stray dogs:

In stringently monitoring compliance, PwC will report to TDIC on key aspects of worker welfare, including holding of personal documents, illegal recruitment fees, payment of wages, health and safety, and working and living conditions. The results of the audit reports will be released in a comprehensive report to the public on an annual basis. During the reporting cycles, PwC will conduct formal and informal interviews with construction workers in their own language, as well as with the Contractors’ and Sub-Contractors. In gathering facts and reporting their findings, PwC will conduct scheduled and surprise site visits to check contractors’ compliance. They will also be conducting site visits to assess the living and working conditions of the workers.

Considering the fact that Abu Dhabi has an average temperature of 88 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s safe to assume that those “site visits” will be an interesting experience.

PwC to monitor Saadiyat Island contractors’ performance in area of worker welfare [WAM]

*Unless you’re glued to the train wreck in Columbus.