When considering the social benefits of infrastructure most attention is given either to the benefits that accrue to adjacent populations through increased access to services, markets and public administration, or the short-term benefits of the injection of cash wages into the local economy through the use of local labour. Much less attention has been paid to the process of constructing roads and associated social benefits that can be attained by complying with national labour standards that provide protection for
workers throughout the road construction process, from procurement to project implementation.
This paper draws on the findings of a recently completed Department for International Development funded study on the Social Aspects of Construction. This piloted the application of nine labour standards - over a four year period - with the objective of improving the conditions for construction workers. The findings of the study provide an opportunity to learn lessons about how to improve the conditions of construction workers through influencing procedures - for the planning and management
of road construction and transport projects. The standards were applied in three different contexts: to a bridge construction programme using conventional contracting in Ghana, to community contracting under the Government of Kerala's decentralization programme, and to a self-help scheme using unpaid labour in the urban settlements of Lusaka, Zambia.
Jennings, M.; Cotton, A.; Ladbury, S. Inclusion of social benefits in infrastructure: ensuring social benefits for road workers through implementing labour standards. (2003)