Dubai: Belgian Deputy PM and BWI meet migrant workers at BESIX construction site

Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister, joined BWI and its Belgian trade union affiliates in a visit at the Dubai Upper Tower construction site being built by BESIX where they talked to migrant workers employed there.  

Dermagne made a last-minute decision to include the visit despite his very tight schedule due to the celebration of Belgian Day held at the Expo2020. 

Majority of the migrant workers interviewed were Indians and Pakistanis. Dermagne and BWI were able to freely conduct a dialogue, particularly on issues of recruitment, wages and health and safety, in a country where working conditions are delicate. 

On the global framework agreement between BWI and BESIX, Dermagne said that the system of negotiations put in place between the multinational and trade unions has made it possible to guarantee good working conditions, remuneration and housing for the workers. 

The said agreement was signed in 2017 covering 20,000 workers worldwide. 

“This is an illustration of the Belgian social dialogue amongst social partners which have contributed to the improvement of workers' living and working conditions,” Dermagne said.  

The Dubai Upper Tower construction site is an 81-storey building which is 340 meters high. Construction began in 2019 and is expected to be completed this year. It is said to be committed to the strictest environmental standards. From the beginning of the work, the project teams integrated digital solutions to their working methods using new technologies to optimise efficiency, human organisation and security in the middle of a pandemic. 

BESIX has participated in the construction of many massive infrastructure in the world, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which holds the record for being the tallest building in the world, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft).