Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Repost From GMA News.TV

Pinoy workers in Qatar stop work in protest vs violations

At least seven Filipino workers in Qatar, all women, have stopped working and are now seeking repatriation, after complaining of labor violations by the company that hired them. The workers stopped working on Monday, after accusing their Qatari employer of contract substitution, according to Danilo Flores, welfare officer of the overseas workers' welfare administration (OWWA) in Qatar.

The workers were supposed to be employed as waitresses based on the contract they signed in the Philippines, Flores told GMANews.TV over the phone. But their company Prestige Hospitality Services Inc. deployed them as instead as stewards, babysitters and janitors.

They were also supposed to receive a salary of $400 (about P18,500), but they received only 750 Qatari riyals (P9,500). This is apart from the food allowance and overtime pay they were also supposed to get but were never given to them.

“We’ve already talked to the employer, but he told us that he can only give as much as 750 riyals or else he’ll lose his business. He said the recruitment agency was aware of that," Flores said. He added that the workers are actually receiving 850 riyals, according to the employer, but a monthly deduction of 100 riyals is taken from their salary to pay for their airfare to Qatar.

Prestige Hospitality supplies manpower to companies and employs at least 80 Filipino workers, Flores said. The employer is willing to provide the workers’ exit visas for their repatriation, but Flores said only two were deployed by a recruitment agency, Jovineria International Manpower Services, which is supposed to shoulder their airfare. Majority of the company’s Filipino employees are irregular workers, or those who came to Qatar only with a tourist visa and secured their jobs through agents. A Filipino worker based in Qatar sent an e-mail to GMANews.TV detailing the workers’ plight, saying some of them were sexually harassed and one was even raped by the employer. Flores, however, said they have already talked to the alleged rape victim, who denied the report. “So far, none of the workers complained they were sexually harassed," he added. The two workers deployed by a recruitment agency already have tickets but are yet to be scheduled for their flight back to the Philippines. The irregular workers, however, will have to await the release of funds for airfare, which the Philippine Embassy in Qatar has already requested from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“The employer was unable to promise that he’ll be able to give the salary that the workers are supposed to receive, but there will be another discussion between him and our labor attaché," Flores explained. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has suspended processing deployment papers from Jovineria, as well as the employment of Filipino workers by Prestige Hospitality. Based on records from the POEA, Qatar ranks fourth among the top destinations of overseas Filipino workers, with 89,290 Filipino workers as of 2009.—JV, GMANews.TV

Reposted From GMA News.TV

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