Performance pay for workers

Al Habtoor Engineering is to review workers' salaries according to how they perform.

The level of performance will be assessed at Al Habtoor?s new training school, which is currently being built in the Al Quoz area of Dubai. (Getty Ima
The level of performance will be assessed at Al Habtoor?s new training school, which is currently being built in the Al Quoz area of Dubai. (Getty Ima

Construction workers employed by Al Habtoor Engineering are set to have their salaries reviewed according to how they perform in the company's new training school.

Al Habtoor Engineering recently tied up with the British Safety Council (BSC) to provide training for the council's level one and two certificates to its labourers.

Workers will then be graded according to an ‘A', ‘B' and ‘C' system, the results of which will be used to assess wage increases.

"Grading our staff and then linking it with compensation will be a huge challenge as we have such a large number of people. But grading is a very important part of the training process," said Syed Shahid Imam, manager of the Al Habtoor Engineering training school.

Although the company began its training programme earlier this year, construction on the school itself only got underway last week. Three warehouses in Al Quoz are being converted to make way for the school, which will be made up of four workshops, two classrooms and several outside areas for practical training.

Around 30,000 staff will undergo the training process, with the first 250 surveyors expected to reach level one and two of the BSC certification by December this year.

Twenty safety managers are in place to provide training. Staff will also be trained across different trades.

"A lot of people say that cross-trade training is not physically or practically possible," said Imam.

"But we've found it can work - a carpenter could also be a steel fixer, and vice versa, while normal labourers, because they work closely with masons, could also be trained in masonry."

Al Habtoor Engineering has also reached an agreement with the BSC to provide the same training to staff employed by other contractors.

"When all the infrastructure is ready, we'll be able to provide our training to others. We realise that smaller contractors in the industry won't be able to set up their own schools."

Other contractors in the UAE have recently set up their own training schools. Al Futtaim Carillion has adopted an initiative whereby labourers must complete a three-day basic skills course at a training centre set up at its headquarters before going on site, while Al Naboodah has an in-house training programme covering 54 different areas.

"Because of the large number of workers coming from various countries, we find that many don't know how to use equipment such as power tools properly and have unsafe work practices," added Imam.

"And the very skilled people from our traditional sources of labour, such as Pakistan and the Philippines, don't want to come here. So we get whatever we can. And because of this, we don't want the quality to suffer."

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