Dubai luxury hotels abuse the rights of migrant workers only about two and a half months before the start of the World Expo, which was scheduled last year and was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
A survey of international organizations, which will be published soon, and Emirates Lakes obtained its most prominent results, showed that Dubai hotels are unable to protect the rights of migrant workers and stop the abuses they are subjected to.
The survey dealt with the most prominent hotels in Dubai, such as: Al Qasr Hotel Dubai, Al Qasr Hotel, Versace Hotel Dubai, Royal Central Hotel The Palm, as well as Sofitel Dubai Downtown and other hotels operating in the emirate.
The results of the survey refuted what the UAE authorities have been promoting about making progress to protect workers’ rights and poor working conditions, especially for hundreds of thousands of workers in the construction sector.
Thousands of other workers will be employed in the hospitality, transportation and tourism sectors in Dubai ahead of and during the six-month Expo.
With Dubai preparing to receive a large number of tourists around the world during the international exhibition, hotel workers will play a major role in this experience, and the sector will require close scrutiny about the tragic conditions experienced by Dubai workers.
But with the Expo Dubai just a few weeks away, the world’s largest and most profitable hotels are failing to recognize their responsibility to prevent, mitigate and address labor rights abuses against migrant workers in their hotels.
Hotels in Dubai were asked about their recruitment practices, what precautionary measures were taken, as well as the worker’s freedom of movement between jobs, and about living conditions and others – and then we ranked them based on their answers.
The results sounded an alarm bell for those intending to go to Dubai, as none of the hotels recorded more than 35% in the survey.
Most of the hotels received only two stars, which means that hotel companies have not progressed adequately to address these risks. Hotel workers interviewed continued to be subjected to abuse, most of which are indicators of forced labor as defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Workers spoke of contract irregularities, thousands of dollars in fees, and wage discrimination based on nationality. What is worrying is their inability to change jobs.
The survey results also clearly showed a lack of protection for hotel workers who are subcontracted, who are hired by security and recruitment companies.
These are sub-employed workers, who wear the brand’s uniform alongside workers who have been directly employed, but whose experience of working and living varies greatly.
Often, workers who are sub-employed are subjected to severe abuse, including delays in paying their wages or withholding their passports.
Recently, an international organization said that thousands of migrant workers face grave violations in preparation for the Dubai Expo 2020, which will be hosted by the UAE during (October 2021 – March 2022).
Impact International for Human Rights Policy stated that the rights of migrant workers in the UAE are deteriorating at an alarming pace.
Impact said that while construction projects and investments in cooperation with international companies increase, migrant workers pay the price and remain voiceless, often living in life-threatening danger.
She stressed that with only four months remaining until the international exhibition opens its doors to an estimated 25 million people, it is necessary to address labor violations committed by the contracting companies contracted to implement the exhibition.
The report discussed various aspects of UAE labor laws and practices that specifically harmed the rights and lives of migrant workers, most of whom come from South Asia. These factors include the unfair kafala system, unequal rights for workers, and lack of access to health care facilities.
The report highlighted some of the companies that received construction contracts for the Expo in October, such as the German company Koelnmesse, Transguard Group, Arabtec, Al Aref Contracting Company and Bin Laden Group.
Impact found that these companies, along with many others at the international fair, failed to implement appropriate labor policies and human rights due diligence plans, resulting in them turning a blind eye to the safety and security of their migrant workers.
The report revealed that thousands of migrant workers were exposed to unbearable temperatures, which threaten their lives and expose them to health problems that may cause death and chronic heart disease.
In a testimony to Impact, a migrant worker in Dubai said that his and his peers’ access to healthcare, medicines and medical supplies remains very limited given the scarcity of medical places where migrant workers can treat, while in the vast majority of cases they cannot claim sick leave.
These problems are exacerbated by the unfair sponsorship system, which confines workers and keeps them in a vicious cycle of labor exploitation, which in turn prevents many from leaving the country or visiting their families back home.
According to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), companies have a responsibility to identify and prevent human rights abuses, as well as mitigate and address their impacts.
However, the reality of employment in the UAE remains exactly the opposite, as construction companies force workers to sign untranslated documents in their original languages, confiscate their passports, subject them to harsh working hours under unsafe weather conditions, while continuing to provide places