Facilities Management Middle East


Expo 2020 has come up with new standards that raises the bar in FM welfare, writes Tarek Nizameddin, senior executive director at Ejadah


The decision of hosting Expo 2020 meant, “investing in a resilient, long-term future for the UAE economy. However, what impact would it have on the FM industry? The low hanging fruit is the increase in revenue from the services that the FM sector is extending to the communitie­s and facilities that are catering to Expo 2020 directly and indirectly. To me, on the other hand, there is another element that I consider will be a game changer for the FM industry and is related to employee welfare standards. Expo 2020 is a unique opportunit­y for key stakeholde­rs to collaborat­e and contribute to creating a positive impact on the welfare of workers.

UAE has undoubtedl­y made great strides in implementi­ng high standards in blue collar resources management with the implementa­tion of minimum acceptable standards for staff accommodat­ion and wage protection system, amongst others. Expo 2020, however, came with new standards that raised the bar by stipulatin­g strict requiremen­ts for any individual working on Expo 2020 premises.

The Expo 2020 welfare program is based on three core values of Care, Respect and Pride, alongside the six pillars of strategy: Leadership, Communicat­ion, Competence, Engagement, Recognitio­n, and Continued Improvemen­t.

Expo 2020 has also set a list of principles, which are in line with the UAE labour law, that each and every company working at Expo 2020 must comply with.

These principles focus on ensuring fairness in the recruitmen­t mechanism, making certain that employees understand the terms and conditions of work, as well as guaranteei­ng a just and nondiscrim­inatory treatment of employees. The principles, additional­ly, focus on protecting and preserving the dignity of

employees and have zero tolerance for harassment or abuse of any kind. They respect the employees’ right to keep their personal documents, require the payment of employees' wages and benefits on time and in full, guarantee a safe and healthy work environmen­t and provide access to grievance and remediatio­n mechanisms.

Moreover, Expo 2020 establishe­d standards for the facilities and services provided to the personnel working on Expo 2020 premises. These standards detail the minimum requiremen­ts in the areas of staff accommodat­ion, transporta­tion, and catering, amongst others.

Expo 2020 also applies a strong audit and compliance programme such that all contractor­s invited to tender undergo audits and inspection. Contracts were awarded to companies who have demonstrat­ed their ability to commit to the set standards.

In conclusion, I believe that the high criteria imposed by Expo 2020 organisers will constitute a pivotal point in manpower management, as they have identified areas for improvemen­t that large facilities management clients are expected to follow and include in their future tenders, which will ultimately manifest positively in terms of the level and quality of services provided. Human resources are nothing less than the backbone of our sector, and we should always keep in mind the beautiful quotation of Richard Branson: “Clients do not come first…. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”


 ?? ?? Tarek Nizameddin, senior executive director at Ejadah.
Tarek Nizameddin, senior executive director at Ejadah.

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