Aldar Properties is to construct two residential cities for its workers at Al Musafah and Al Ain, Emirates Business has learnt.
The two cities will accommodate 150,000 labourers and are due to be completed in 2009 and 2010, Aldar Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh said. In an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the launch of a temporary residential compound in Yas Island, Al Sayegh said Aldar has begun construction of its first residential city, which will eventually be able to house 50,000 people in Al Ain. The city’s first phase will be complete next year, when 25,000 workers will be able to move in.
He said the second residential city for labourers in Al Musafah will be able to accommodate 100,000.
Al Sayegh said the residential cities and compounds constructed by Aldar reflect the firm’s commitment to provide the best services for the workers who play a big role in the group’s ventures.
Aldar has linked up with Laing O’Rourke, the United Kingdom’s largest real estate company, to form Aldar-Laing O’Rourke and the new company oversaw the first phase of the Dh260 million temporary residential compound on Yas Island that will lodge 13,000 workers. Once completed the compound will accommodate 42,000.
“Aldar is keen to build a residential compound for its workers in Yas Island. We are committed to provide respectable living conditions for workers ensuring security and safety. We think that our company has made big strides with its projects at Al Raha Beach, Al Raha Gardens and Yas Island. We believe that the company’s progress is attributed partly to the labourers who work hard in our projects. For our part, we provide them with facilities and first-class services along with transportation to move them from the residential compounds to work sites,” Al Sayegh said.
“Our company does not differentiate between one worker and another due to their colour or belief. We are committed to clear and safe standards in dealing with our workers. This civilised relationship will reflect the capital’s boom in general.”
David Bachelor, Director of Aldar’s Administration Affairs, said: “The residential compound in Yas Island will be temporary for three years. It will remain until the other Aldar projects are finished, though its design ensures it could be used for 10 years. We constructed the compound for use until we finish our project in Al Musafah.”
Al Sayegh preferred not to discuss the cost of the residential labourer cities and compounds. He said: “The cost is irrelevant. What is important, is the services that we provide. We are not interested in bigger revenues and we are keen to protect our reputation. We have to maintain work ethics and we look to improve work conditions for all. We have international standards of salaries, compensation and health insurance. We take into our consideration that our company must be number one in the field of workers’ safety.”
Ronald Barrot, CEO of Aldar Properties, praised the new residential compound, saying that the compound displays Aldar’s pioneering spirit toward providing respectable conditions for its workers. Barrot said: “Aldar residential compound also aims to tackle the issue of increasing population.
“In addition to facilities provided by the company, the administrative team in charge of our labour force organises a lot of entertainment programmes every month. Invitations are sent to many celebrities, such as singers, to come entertain the compound’s residents.”
In response to questions about the difficulties Aldar has faced in recruiting workers, Barrot said: “In Abu Dhabi, there is a big demand for labourers. We do not face problems because workers prefer to work with our company due to many privileges we provide for them.”
Ray O’Rourke, Chairman of Laing O’Rourke, agreed with the sentiment and said the new cities would provide quality housing. “Throughout my 40-year career in the field of real estate in Australia, Britain and India, Aldar’s residential labour compound is one of the best I have ever seen in my life.”
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