Construction Worker’s Rights: An urgent subject

Construction Worker’s Rights: An urgent subject

The hyper accelerated growth of the construction industry has led companies to the search for national and local outsourcing. This is the reason why millions of workers, most of them immigrants, form part of the construction industry in an irregular manner. To guard human and working rights in construction is an unavoidable responsibility for all the companies. This means to abolish forced labor, debt servitude and representative restrictions among other problems. It’s urgent to turn the industry into a more responsible and socially ethical field for all. Here are some issues that must be addressed to guarantee construction worker’s rights.

Several companies have united for the creation of ethical codes that have the purpose of guarding construction worker’s rights.

An important example of this is the Building Responsibly association, which is behind the Worker Welfare Principles. These principles have the main purpose of creating a global base line for an equal and fair configuration of the relationship among workers and company owners within construction and engineering. The companies that have joined this initiative actually have around 400 people working for them in more than 100 countries, so this means a great advance for the industry.

The following principles are based on international human rights standards, and respond to different global commercial contexts, so they are quite ambitious. 

        1. Workers are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
        2. Workers are free from forced, trafficked, and child labor.
        3. Recruitment practices are ethical, legal, voluntary, and free from discrimination.
        4. Freedom to change employment is respected.
        5. Working conditions are safe and healthy.
        6. Living conditions are safe, clean, and habitable.
        7. Access to documentation and mobility is unrestricted.
        8. Wage and benefit agreements are respected.
        9. Worker representation is respected.
        10. Grievance mechanisms and access to remedy are readily available.

It is well known that the construction workers face a huge amount of risks while executing their tasks. Besides the risks that the heavyweight machinery and different physical feats imply, they are also exposed to dangerous chemicals in concrete and other materials, as well as hazardous substances that are released during excavations and other processes. The worker’s wellbeing is fundamental, and both authorities and employers must guarantee it. It is important to have adequate sanitary facilities, spaces for rest, hydration and self hygiene, among other basic considerations towards their wellbeing.

The construction industry, during its accelerated growth, must always prioritize social responsibility. The ultimate purpose of construction is to create spaces that can be inhabited and enjoyed by human beings, but we must never overlook the conditions in which humans are treated throughout these spaces’ development. To offer dignified conditions for workers is the first step towards better and more harmonious buildings.

What do you think of these challenges? Have you discussed these issues with your coworkers? Share your opinions with us! 

Welfare facilities on construction sites, Designing Buildings
Working Welfare Principles, Building Responsibly
Building Responsibly Announces Worker Welfare Principles, BSR

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