on laing o’rourke, elephant one, delancey and pods shared with new york university’s forced labour campus in abu dhabi, a glance

Elephant one Laing O'Roure for Delancey Elephant and CastleYou recall Laing O’Rourke advertising that they were using pods to build out this development from their Dubai factory? Well, this is just to flag up that we have been doing some research which has merged with a very sustained amount of research available to us via GulfLabor. These pods are the same pods that LO’R used for the New York University campus on the notorious Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. A site that even NYU’s own commissioned report on their previously failed monitors’ exclusion of 10,000 exploited workers on their site revealed were owed compensation: for working in conditions of forced labour and for brutal violence in relation to withdrawn labour…

New York University, Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

Isn’t it nice to know that at the very heart of the Elephant and Castle regeneration -otherwise such a great benefit and scandal-free regeneration that involved the community in a project of life enhancement and visionary urban thinking- the same construction company that built Southwark Council’s head quarters on Tooley Street have added levels of profits almost certainly on the backs of migrant labourers working in conditions of forced labour? Doesn’t it seem far away and complicated? No, NO! exactly, it doesn’t! It’s as close to home and very simple as it can get…

We assure you that a few minutes of research reveals very worrying facts and patterns. We also assure you that we happen to have substantial archives which, for example, reveal the exact location of Laing O’Rourke’s Labour Camp/s in the outskirts of Dubai. We know it very well, indeed, have interviewed workers in neighbouring camps and other workers from the NYU site. Indeed, these latter depositions reached the level of the ILO and their ongoing investigation of forced labour at these sites.

This quick research is something that elected politicians and councillors were urged to do years ago and failed to attempt or even respond to. It should have been done by LA officers all the way up to the CEO of LBS, don’t you think? Sitting in a LO’R built office? We wonder why on earth they didn’t bother?

We have replied to Neil Coyle, our new MP, who has commitedly pursued our initial query since becoming our representative law-maker, with some follow up information sketching out the basic obvious questions and case against Laing O’Rouke. We expect this to go on for some time, but would like to say now that we hope very much that LO’R’s CEO’s claims for exception with regard to their Dubai operation bears out… Wouldn’t that be a great story and help to make the disgrace of the ‘regeneration’ of the E&C slightly easier to bear?

Wink, wink.

Screenshot 2015-10-20 00.21.36

Laing O'Rouke have many businesses in their portfolio, as they openly boast, which they wholly own. One is Modulor, here.

It’s very easy to illustrate this particular location and we will in time, similarly with another LO’R company, Emirates Precast. We know that this nasty abuse is not unique to LO’R, but what is unique is that they have rocked up in our forest -and we know what we are talking about!

Southwark has a very strange history with LO’R, indeed they are new forcing through the demolition of the same company’s Aylesbury Estate! It’s muckier than that though. We wonder what Four Communications (with bases in Southwark and Abu Dhabi), for example, might have to do with or say about these kinds of relations?

foru communications, nothing to do with no-one in southwark

See, once you cheat, abuse, exploit in one way, usually it corrupts everything you do, and the horrifying model of the Elephant and Castle ‘regeneration’ and bottomless scandal associated with it is a perfect example of that truism.


P.s. for those particularly interested in this subject (and it’s relations with cultural institutions and brands like NYU, the Louvre, Guggenheim and British Museum) there is an interesting free event on the 19th November, at Rivington Place, Shoreditch, with a panel and book launch to follow here: http://gulflabor.org/2015/london-launch-of-the-gulf-high-culturehard-labor/#more-2131

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