Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News Shaikh Ahmad awards 5-star rated United Engineering Construction Limited as Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, looks on. Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai:A total of 34 companies were recognised for adopting best practices for their workforces by the Taqdeer Award programme.

As many as 18 companies who managed to score the highest points were honoured at a ceremony yesterday. The companies are selected based on Taqdeer points which recognises excellence in labour welfare practices.

The first cycle of the award concluded with the recognition of 13 winning Dubai-based construction companies, five companies in Dafza (Dubai Airport Freezone Authority) and Silicon Oasis, engineers and also more than 300 top-performing labourers nominated by their companies.

The Taqdeer (appreciation) Award, launched by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, in October, is the first of its kind in the world that seeks to recognise companies for their labour policies and efforts, so as to inspire them to further improve their labour practices.

In its first year, the programme saw the participation of 100 companies out of 282 companies in the sector in Dubai providing jobs to 500,000 labourers, said a top official.

Participating companies were given a rating by the judging committee ranging from one to five stars, based on the number of points they received in an evaluation.

During the ceremony, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, presented trophies to winners of the 5-star, 4-star and 3-star ratings, and also posed for a group photo with the labourers.

Evaluated on many factors

Speaking to Gulf News, Maj Gen Obaid Muhair Bin Surour, chairman of Taqdeer Award and deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), said companies which received a high rating will now enjoy priority in government projects and will have a competitive advantage in bidding for international contracts.

“Those companies were evaluated based on factors considered for the ratings, which include labour policies, facilities and infrastructure, health and safety, labour security, recruitment and wages, justice and transparency, labour relations and other indicators,” he said.

“Companies employing blue-collar workers in the UAE are doing extremely well in terms of labour welfare, but of course there is always room for improvement and we are encouraging that by giving our recommendations.”

Detailed report

Every company that participated is going to receive a detailed report highlighting strengths and weaknesses concerning labour welfare, which invariably affects quality of work and production levels, he added.

“The aim of the Taqdeer Award is to spark healthy competition in the labour market and enhance the quality of life for blue-collar workers. It will push companies to work on achieving new targets.”

A team of 32 highly qualified assessors worked to evaluate each company by looking at the evidence submitted by the companies.

Dr Kasim Kanakri, technical adviser of the award, said 16 other companies which received two-star and one-star ratings are also being recognised and will be handed trophies as a form of appreciation.

“As for workers who were recognised today, they walked away with cash rewards as a way to motivate them,” he said, adding that they are expecting the number of participating companies to double in the next cycle.

The ceremony, which also saw a staged performance based on the theme of construction workers, was attended by decision-makers and leaders from local and international government bodies, labour organisations and private companies.

Jamal Mouwahid, general manager of United Engineering Construction Limited, one of the companies that received a 5-star rating, said: “This award will encourage us and others to improve further. We personally feel our labourers are the essence of our company.”

Anand Kolappa Pillai, vice-president of the Al Jihan Four Horizon General Contracting LLC, a company which received a 4-star rating, said: “We have a scheme which takes care of employees in terms of their benefits and facilities, so that’s how we managed to reach here today.”

Winners of 5-star rating

United Engineering Construction Limited (UNEC)

BK Gulf

Sobha Engineering and Contracting LLC

Dutco Balfour Deatty