Manila legislator calls for ban on Kuwait as sides grope for common ground.

In light of the ongoing Filipino labor crisis sources familiar with the file put forward a number of solutions that they deem necessary, and that can contribute to finding common ground for the two parties, on which they can build, especially since Filipino labor constitutes about 80 percent of domestic workers in Kuwait, reports Al-Rai daily.

The sources believed that there are 8 solutions that can help solve the problem, which are:

■ Allowing labor offices to transfer the residence of the worker to another sponsor, in the event that she does not wish to work with the first sponsor, while preserving the rights of both parties.

■ Educating workers about the need to abide by the laws and customs of the host country, and imposing fines on them in the event that they run away without convincing reasons, given that they have signed a two-year contract, and allow them to change the sponsor in the event of the expiration of the contract period.

■ The government shelter center receives all the fugitives immediately, in cooperation and in coordination with the embassy and with the employment and sponsor’s office, to solve any problem as soon as possible before it escalates.

■ Strictly implementing penalties for those who cover up or harbor a runaway domestic worker, and hold him/her responsible to pay the value of the recruitment to the first sponsor.

■ Establishing a mechanism to follow up on the worker’s receipt of her full salaries.

■ Not allowing the female worker to travel without the knowledge of the employer and the recruiting office.

■ Commitment to the unified model contract signed between the two countries for the recruitment of workers.

■ Not to seek partial or total suspension of sending workers to Kuwait, whenever an official demands that, on the background of any individual case.

The sources confirmed that “the embassy’s reception of the runaway worker, issuing a travel document for her, and deporting her after recording her complaint, without waiting for the sponsor or the office to respond, and contenting herself with asking the Kuwaiti recruitment office to pay the ticket and delayed salaries, is a kind of injustice to the offices, and deepens the crisis, knowing that Kuwaiti law does not allow the deportation of any worker who has dues before obtaining a clearance.

Meanwhile, prominent Filipino parliamentarian has called for imposing a comprehensive ban on sending her country’s workers to Kuwait, criticizing what she considered a failure on the Kuwaiti side to provide adequate protection for those workers. This escalating demand came from Representative Rachel Arenas, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Philippine Parliament, who described her proposal as “a punitive response to the Kuwaiti government’s decision regarding suspending the issuance of new visas for Filipino workers.”

She added, “The proposed ban should remain in place until Kuwaiti government officials sit down with our officials and agree to our demands. Until this happens, we should not meet their demands and not submit to their intimidating measures.” Arenas concluded saying “It saddens me to see our workers abused and even killed at the hands of their employers. We should only send our workers to countries that treat them with dignity, protect their rights, and take into account their welfare.”

Source- Arab Times.

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