UK contractor Carillion has responded to allegations about the poor treatment of migrant workers employed by its sub contractors in Qatar. The allegations were made in a BBC news item.

Workers for an unnamed local sub-contractor carrying to Carillion said wages were last than 25% of what they were promised by recruiters. Wages were said to be UK£ 150 (US$ 235) per month, plus a UK£ 40 (US$ 90) food allowance for a total of UK£ 190 (US$ 275).

Other grievances included salaries being paid late and poor health & safety, with no personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye glasses being supplied. Workers also said they were unable to leave Qatar without their employer’s permission.

Responding to the allegations, a statement from Carillion said, “We do everything we can to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of our people in Qatar, including employees of our subcontractors.

“We make it clear to all of our subcontractors that they must comply with Carillion health & safety standards on our sites - the same as those applied in the UK. In addition, we also require our subcontractors to comply with the requirements set within Qatar Labour Law in respect of payment of wages, living conditions and employment rights.

“Where we identify inappropriate practices or subcontractors/sub-suppliers not meeting our standards we will work with them to help them improve. If they are either not prepared or unable to do this, we will engage alternative suppliers who are able to.”

It added that its current workload in Qatar included delivery of phase 1B of the Downtown Doha project, a mixed-use development comprising retail, commercial, residential, leisure, cultural and community facilities. It said its work on this scheme had won a prestigious award for sustainability in recognition of achievements in minimising environmental impact, the company’s role as a responsible contractor and employer.

The company said it would investigate the specific allegations raised by the BBC news item.

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