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Balfour Beatty 'seriously' reviewing Qatar claims

BK Gulf has been accused of flouting labour law regulations against its migrant workers in Qatar, a claim part-owner Balfour Beatty tells CW it is taking "seriously"

BK Gulf has been accused of flouting Qatari labour law regulations. [Representational image]
BK Gulf has been accused of flouting Qatari labour law regulations. [Representational image]

UK contractor Balfour Beatty has responded to labour abuse claims levied against BK Gulf. 

The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contractor is co-owned by Balfour Beatty, and Gulf Contracting Company (GCC), which is co-owned by Interserve.

A report by UK daily the Guardian said migrant workers employed on BK Gulf's large-scale construction projects have faced abuse of their labour rights. 

The report continued: "One labourer, employed by a supply company but working for GCC, which is 49% owned by Interserve, said he repeatedly asked his employer to let him leave Qatar after his salary was cut by 20%, but he was forced to stay." 

In response, Balfour Beatty said BK Gulf "takes the claims" very seriously. 

A statement to Construction Week by Balfour Beatty said: "BK Gulf, in which Balfour Beatty has a 49% share, provides conditions for its workforce which go over and above local regulations and laws.

"Where workload exceeds our directly employed workforce capacity or where specialist skills are required, BK Gulf utilises a selection of labour supply companies."

According to the report, BK Gulf's migrant workers in Qatar "allege that they have been exploited and mistreated by labour supply companies hired by the firms to furnish construction sites in Doha with cheap manual workers".

Balfour Beatty's statement continued: "BK Gulf requires all of its labour supply companies and subcontractors to meet a selection criteria and code of conduct which includes requirements around operative working conditions.

"The company actively monitors its supply chain to ensure these standards and criteria are being met." 

Balfour Beatty did not respond to Construction Week's query regarding its current relationship with the unnamed labour supply companies mentioned by the UK daily, or which projects the complainant labourers are employed for.

"BK Gulf takes the claims made by the Guardian very seriously and as a result is currently undertaking a review with the labour supply companies it works with to ensure our standards are being met." 

Interserve, BK Gulf, and Gulf Contracting Company are yet to respond to Construction Week's queries.

 

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Construction Week - Issue 747
Aug 03, 2019