BWI visits Egypt’s 6th of October monorail project
(Photo: Cairo Scene)
BWI and the GTUBWW held a project visit to Egypt’s monorail project situated in Cairo’s 6th of October City, which aims to connect Cairo’s east and west districts, and considered to be a qualitative boost to the country’s transportation sector.
The said project visit was led by BWI Regional President Abdel Monem Elgamal, BWI Global Coordinator for Construction Linnea Wikström, and BWI Regional Project Coordinator Wassim Rifi. It is part of BWI’s 555 program,an overarching organising program focused on working on five large-scale construction projects in each of the five regions where BWI is present at, all within the timeframe of five years.
BWI said that the visit gave insights into positive trends and groundbreaking practices that helped improve the working conditions in Egypt’s construction industry. It said that the Arab Contractors, the company tasked to construct the project, resorted to the innovative prefabrication of components of the 100 km monorail project to shorten its construction time to 40 months. BWI said that prefabrication is a trend that has often been used in residential construction, but seldom in large-scale infrastructure.
BWI reported that the new technique has proved itself favourable to the company and its workers in various ways. It not only kept the construction process well within the company’s target timeline, it also brought significant benefits to the project workers’ safety and well-being. These were possible due to a working environment with stricter health and safety practices as compared to a normal and more spread-out construction site. The union’s organising, consistent monitoring of working conditions and use of social dialogue to raise and resolve issues are also important contributing factors.
The Arab Contractors shared that for last ten years, its employment policy shifted to the direct hiring of workers. From 40 percent, the company said that its directly-contracted workers comprise 80 percent of the labour force in each of its project sites.
“It is self-evident that it has a great impact on both the quality of the projects and the health and safety on sites. By having direct employees, the company is given much greater control over the workers’ skills and training at the sites. And we can keep timelines to a greater extent as we are able to rely on our workers,” Arab Contractors Technical Institute Manager Sherief Hamdy El- Shehaby said.
The company explained that this was made possible by upscaling its training facilities to ensure that it has a skilled and adaptable workforce. “The internal skills training allowed us to retrain our workers and send them to the next project. We do not have to dismiss them at the end of each project. Rather, we are building a skilled workforce within the company,” Hamdy El- Shehaby explained.
To extend the cooperation between the union and Arab contractors to the company’s international operations, BWI’s visit team met with Board Member Usama Moustafa to initiate dialogues on the said matter.