In 2014 only four countries were taking steps to develop legislation and investigate forced labour in business and government supply chains. In 2018, that number had increased to 36 countries.
Many of these issues that affect global businesses also affect Petrofac’s supply chain - we operate in challenging environments where human rights can become a source of risk, both for our business and the people who work in our supply chains. The main exposure in the construction industry is through the employment of large numbers of low-skilled migrant workers from ‘high risk’ countries at our sites. Migrant workers can be subject to risks including excessive debt incurred through high recruitment fees, non-payment of wages, poor living conditions and restricted mobility, which ultimately traps them in exploitative situations.
Our clients and industry stakeholders are increasingly aware of these issues and are promoting initiatives for companies to work together to improve labour rights and the welfare of workers across the industry.
I recently participated in one of these initiatives in Oman; At this industry-led Labour Forum I was encouraged to see the growing efforts across industry to identify and address the labour rights challenges we face,and position these issues as material to our business.
Why is Petrofac addressing labour rights?
Aside from being the right thing to do, the commercial case for improving labour rights and worker welfare is compelling. In our experience, one of the keys elements of setting up successful projects is getting this right – when a workforce is happy and their concerns addressed, they’re more engaged in their work, they tend to operate more safely and efficiently, and the risk of project delays and disputes is minimised.
Positioning for global progress and promoting supply chain collaboration
Petrofac has some 11,500 employees, around 80 nationalities, more than 20 offices and training centres across the globe, including India, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Malaysia, UAE, and many more.