Official signing of an agreement on workers’ rights between Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), Qatari Diar VINCI Construction (QDVC) and VINCI: a world premiere on these issues in Qatar.

Resulting from discussions that began in December 2014, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), a global union federation signed today an agreement with QDVC (a Qatari shareholding company with two shareholders: Qatari Diar Real Estate Investments Company and VINCI Construction Grands Projects) and VINCI, a French-based global player in concessions and construction.

The agreement was officially signed in Geneva in Switzerland at the International Labour organisation (ILO) headquarters by BWI’s General Secretary, Ambet Yuson, VINCI’S Human Resources Director, Franck Mougin and QDVC’S CEO, Philippe Tavernier.

The signing took place in the presence of Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO.

The agreement signed today covers human rights at work, accommodations, and issues related to fair recruitment and employment rights of workers. It applies to all workers employed by QDVC in Qatar, and includes due diligence with sub-contractors. This agreement is the first of its kind in Qatar between a union federation and a Qatari company.

The agreement includes an extensive system of follow-up, reporting, monitoring, inspection, and auditing under the authority of a reference group composed of representatives of the three parties. All aspects of the implementation of the agreement will be reviewed by the parties.

At the beginning of November, during the 331st session of the ILO Governing Body, the ILO and the Government of Qatar signed a 3-year technical cooperation agreement to ensure, for all workers, the respect of the fundamental principles and rights at work.

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said: “This agreement with QDVC and VINCI, which complements and builds on our productive cooperation with the Steering Committee on Delivery and Legacy, is a major step towards the full respect of workers’ rights in Qatar. We look forward to working with QDVC and VINCI in our ongoing efforts to improve the working and living conditions of migrant construction workers in Qatar. As the text of the agreement indicates, it is ‘founded on the shared belief that all construction workers should be treated with dignity, and live and work in decent and safe conditions.”

VINCI Human Resources Director, Franck Mougin said: “This agreement is a major new step which highlights our long-standing involvement on workers’ rights in Qatar. Since 2009, VINCI has a pro-active approach towards fostering better working and living conditions for workers in Qatar. This agreement is unique of its kind because it is concrete and fully operational with specific commitments on various topics related to workers’ rights, safety and welfare. It is the concrete result of VINCI and QDVC past commitments on these topics with BWI as a key, major and reliable partner and should serve as an example for the construction industry.”

QDVC CEO, Philippe Tavernier said: “The agreement formalizes the numerous initiatives undertaken by QDVC since its creation to improve labour recruitment practices, working conditions, accommodation, employment rights and grievance mechanisms. It affirms our intention to be fully collaborative and transparent and provides a tangible sign of our commitment to achieve the objectives set in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights publicly endorsed by the State of Qatar.”