Jamie Oliver criticised in Panorama Dubai expose

By Rosie Birkett

- Last updated on GMT

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Jamie Oliver criticised in Panorama Dubai expose
The chef has his attention turned to the plight of construction workers in Dubai after a Panorama programme exposes their squalid living conditions

Jamie Oliver has been criticised for his involvement in a development in Dubai in an episode of TV series Panorama.

The celebrity chef, who has pioneered for better conditions for chickens and pigs, was singled out in the BBC documentary​ on Monday, which exposed squalid living conditions among migrant labourers employed to work on a building site in Dubai.

Oliver is opening two restaurants at the Jumeirah Golf Estates site in Dubai, however, the estate`s owners Leisurecorp said the workers were not working on their site, nor does the company have any contractual relationship with their employer, Arabtec. 

In the episode, the Arabtec workers were shown being ferried by coach back from their building site to their labour camp, where there were broken washing facilities and latrines overflowing with faeces.

The programme showed that Oliver had initially raised concerns about conditions for workers and been reassured, but the Panorama footage showed conditions were still bad.

When asked what they would say on meeting Oliver, one worker replied: “We will ask him to improve our circumstances so we can remain healthy. The way we are living now, we will soon become ill in this filthy environment.”

A spokesman for the chef told the programme Oliver had been `disturbed` by the Panorama claims.

He said: "When we started work with our partner (Leisurecorp) in Dubai we were informed of their strict contractual guidelines which are in place with sub-developers to protect the rights of migrant workers and provide for good living and working conditions.

“While we are satisfied that the sub-contractors employed by Leisurecorp to work on Jamie Oliver projects meet the regulatory requirements and are fair, we have been given further assurances that the claims made by employees working on a sub-developer’s project will be investigated.”

Oliver told Panorama he was working on a way to more accurately describe his relationship with the resort`s owners.

A spokesman for Leisurecorp said there was no suggestion from BBC Panorama that any contractor employed by the company was failing to meet regulations or that criminal prosecutions had been brought.

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