May 20, 2014 02:27 AM EDT
NYU Apologises For Labour Abuse at Abu Dhabi Campus
New York University autorities apologised to workers Monday at its Abu Dhabi campus following mistreatment claims.
Disclosing the allegations, the New York Times reported that the laborers were not treated in accordance to the rules. They were allegedly jailed, whipped and deported to their home countries for protesting for wage increase. Workers were compelled to work overtime, sometimes seven days a week, to receive the promised base pay. None of them had a passport and some of them were living in dirty and crammed apartments.
Ramkumar Rai from Nepal said that he and his friend haven't received wages for six months that is overdue from the last 16 months. "When will the money come? If the money comes it will be fine."
NYU president John Sexton said that if the violations of labour values are indeed true, then it is worrying and intolerable.
"To any worker who was not treated in line with the standards we set and whose circumstances went undetected and unremedied, we offer our apologies," said School spokesman John Beckman, NYU Local reports.
The labor values for the construction of the campus on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island stated that the workers should receive fair treatment, should not work overtime, should be permitted to keep their documents; should be provided with decent housing; should receive health care benefits along with good wages.
Beckman said that the university will collaborate with their partners in Abu Dhabi and Mott MacDonald, the compliance monitor for the project to launch an investigation into the findings by The Times.
"Apologizing to the workers is a good thing to do, but the university should use its resources and leverage to change the system that created the abuses," said Andrew Ross, a professor at N.Y.U.'s New York campus and a leader of Coalition for Fair Labor - a student-faculty group that has called for better worker treatment. "N.Y.U. could help to ensure that all Saadiyat Island workers have a living wage, debt relief and the right to organize," NY Times reports.
Former President Bill Clinton delivered the speech for the school's first graduation ceremony, Sunday. Classes were conducted in temporary buildings while the construction of the 21-building campus was in process.
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