June 2, 2011: UPDATE on Guggenheim Boycott
2 June 2011
In May 2011, The Gulflabor coalition submitted to the Guggenheim Foundation and Museum and
Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) of Abu Dhabi the following specific
recommendations about the selection of an independent monitor:
a) No monitor should be selected who has, is, or will be providing services to any contractor or
subcontractor engaged in providing services to TDIC;
b) All efforts be made to select an independent monitor from a list provided by Human Rights
Watch (HRW). Alternatively, we recommend that one of the monitors from HRW’s list be hired as a
consultant to help define a rigorous and transparent monitoring program, in conjunction with the
On May 31, 2011, the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) announced that “it has
appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as an independent auditor to monitor its contractors’ and
subcontractors’ performance in the area of worker welfare.”
PwC’s name was not on the list of monitors recommended by Human Rights Watch to the Guggenheim
We are waiting to be informed by TDIC and the Guggenheim as to whether PwC has any existing
business relationship with any of the firms it will be asked to monitor on Saadiyat Island. As
specified in our original letter, the type of independent audit we have recommended requires
that the monitoring company have no such business relationship.
Although we are encouraged by the promise that PwC will conduct “surprise site visits” as well
as release comprehensive reports to the public on its audits, we await to hear more details of
the monitoring programs that PwC will put in place. We also await confirmation that PwC will
consult with one of the HRW recommended monitors as soon as possible to help it define a
rigorous and transparent monitoring program.
As we stated in our 12 May 2011 update, our boycott remains in place.
Meanwhile, we remain hopeful that significant new announcements (on the development and
implementation of a rigorous and transparent monitoring program by PwC, on the reimbursement of
recruitment fees, and on additional mechanisms to enforce fair labor policies on Saadiyat
Island) will be forthcoming.