Contractor in Focus: HBK Contracting
HBK Contracting was the first contractor to be appointed by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ projects. The company embraced the SC's Workers' Welfare Standards (WW Standards), paving the way for others to follow.
HBK Contracting was commissioned to work on Al Janoub Stadium in May 2014. Within months, the company showed strong commitment to the WW Standards, making significant strides in ensuring workers' well-being.
The company's strong compliance resulted in its appointment as main contractor for two more FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums – Lusail and Ras Abu Aboud – in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
Ramzi Dahdah, Chief Operating Officer at HBK Contracting, said: "A happy and content workforce is a productive workforce. We recognise their hard work and acknowledge their contributions in bringing our projects to life. It is our primary responsibility to ensure our workers are taken care of at all times."
HBK Contracting was the first main contractor to adhere to the SC's recruitment fees reimbursement scheme and has returned approximately QAR 5,391,000 per year to more than 3,000 workers since 2017. This example has since been followed by more than 190 contractors across projects related to Qatar 2022.
HBK has reimbursed all its workers, even those who joined the company before the WW Standards came into effect, in an effort to treat all their workers equally, and ensure every worker benefits from the standards.
"Charging workers recruitment fees is an unethical practice, prohibited by the WW Standards and Qatari law," adds Dahdah. "Working alongside the SC has bolstered our efforts to abolish this practice, ensuring workers are free of recruitment-related debts and able to send more money back home to their families."
HBK Contracting now only works with recruitment agencies approved by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. The company also sends its own human resources team to conduct interviews with candidates in their home countries to make sure workers are not impacted by illegal and unethical recruitment practices.
HBK was also among the first contractors to establish catering services at each of its worker accommodation sites. This gives workers the opportunity to enjoy the ethnic flavours of a home-cooked meal.
"Our workers come from countries where food is truly celebrated. Food brings people together and this camaraderie is what we aim to achieve every day, both on and off site. Our staff work hard. It is our responsibility to provide them with the right nutrition when they get back from work," said Dahdah.
Throughout its journey with the SC, HBK Contracting has taken the lead in implementing the WW Standards in all aspects of workers' wellbeing – a commitment that goes beyond 2022.
Dahdah said: "The strict implementation of the SC's standards will help Qatar reach new heights in workers' well-being, and the onus is on contractors to look after their workers. The WW Standards have become a benchmark and are ingrained in our company's values and ethics. There's no turning back, we need to keep working harder and raise the bar even higher."