Friday, February 01, 2008
PR: RP gov't should extend assistance to aggrieved workers
Two OFWs in Kuwait, terminated for complaining against unfair labor practices
RP gov't should extend assistance to aggrieved workers
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) condemns the illegal termination of two Filipino caregivers by Al Essa Home Care Services for leading a complaint of 11 workers in said company for unfair labor practices. We strongly enjoin the Philippine Labor Office in Kuwait (POLO) to provide all the necessary assistance to said workers and not to compromise their rights.
The two, Josephine Tuburan and Gemma Limsam have stood their ground on January 30 not to agree to the reasons given by the company why they were terminated because of its spurious reasons. A day earlier they were being prevented to go out of their dormitory by the company to attend a conciliation meeting scheduled in the afternoon. Only the perseverance of the workers and the intervention of Migrante-Kuwait were they allowed to attend said meeting.
Last year, Armida Tusino was sent home by the company for leading the workers against the malpractices of the company. Unfortunately, the POLO in Kuwait denies that they received any complaints from the workers that time.
Nine other Filipino caregivers have resigned in disgust from the company. They were promised free airfare back home, their remaining salary for the month, a chance to come back to work in Kuwait with other employers and waiving of a penalty of KD250 (US$915) for breach of contract. The company also promised to provide the remaining workers a copy of their pay slips. There are 53 Filipinos and more than a hundred South Asian caregivers in Al Essa.
However, the KD130 (US$476) deducted from them for their airfare to Kuwait (which the company told POLO was for training fees) was never given back to them. In addition to this, they still lacked payment for 2 hours of overtime pay (they were only paid for 10 instead of 12 hours) and for working on their days off and holidays. The caregivers have a basic pay of KD70 (US$256.00) and a meal allowance of KD10 (US$37.00) every month. This only totals US$293 a month which is far short of the US$400 which the Philippine government brags should be the minimum pay of household service workers.
These caregivers work in homes and hospitals. However, they are considered skilled workers both by the Kuwaiti and Philippine governments. Reportedly, their wards pay their company KD300 (US$1098) a month for their services. In other words each worker generates 375% or US$805 of profit for their company.
Other complaints of the workers which were not acted upon by POLO include the following:
1. One month salary deduction for their placement fee even if the workers already paid such fees in the Philippines
2. Filthy accommodation which includes water and power shutdowns
3. Payment of KD1 (US$3.66) every time they need to go to the hospital even if the company promised no charges for these
4. Indifference to those who meet accidents or get sick
5. Misrepresentation to the wards that they are registered nurses even if their contract stipulates that they are caregivers
6. They were forced to sign a blank paper by the company once
7. They are only given two days off in a month but are allowed to only two-three hours for this and are treated as prisoners
APMM thus reiterates its call on the Philippine authorities concerned to provide all the necessary assistance needed to the workers and a positive solution to their other complaints.