Addressing Workers’ Rights in Engineering and Construction: Opportunities for Collaboration hero image

Addressing Workers’ Rights in Engineering and Construction: Opportunities for Collaboration

July 6, 2016
  • BSR Staff

BSR conducted research to assess the feasibility of setting up a collaborative initiative that would address challenges that engineering and construction companies face to uphold workers’ rights in their operations and subcontracting supply chains. This work was supported by Humanity United in collaboration with CH2M

The main findings of BSR’s research suggest that companies share many of the same challenges, including:

  • Risks related to the recruitment process, including debt incurred by migrant workers and deception about the nature and remuneration of the work.
  • Risks related to working conditions, including long working hours, inadequate living conditions, and delays in payment of wages.
  • Legislation on labor migration and freedom of association in some countries of operation that further restrict workers’ rights.
  • Limited oversight of subcontractors’ practices, which creates few incentives to improve working conditions.
  • Despite companies’ expressed appetite for collaboration, a lack of a “safe space” to discuss key challenges.

We also found that some large engineering and construction companies are implementing interesting practices to address workers’ rights. However, given the complexity of contractual requirements, scale of abuse, and overlapping challenges, these practices and commitments have had limited visibility or positive impacts on workers.

The report makes a series of recommendations that provide a baseline for discussion between stakeholders and engineering and construction companies interested in setting up a collaborative initiative in the construction sector.

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