Filipino medical workers in Jeddah trooped Wednesday to the Philippine Consulate General there to request action against their erring employer and on the impending closure of their workplace, six months after they sought assistance from the Philippine post. The workers, numbering over 200, are nurses and clinic staff of the Al Ansar Hospital, located at the Al Salama district of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
“They are complaining of non-payment of their salary for six months now which they would like to be released immediately amid the impending closure of the hospital, and are demanding that they all be given their release papers so that they could look for possible employment," said Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona, who has been assisting the workers. The facilities of Al Ansar include a hospital and two polyclinics where about 236 Filipino workers are deployed. Only one polyclinic remains in operation. According to Monterona, only 59 workers have so far received their release papers, while all are still awaiting payment of their salaries. Labor Attache Vicente Cabe told GMANews.TV in a separate interview that the workers’ case has already been forwarded to Saudi’s Ministry of Labor and to the Office of the Governor of Jeddah for appropriate action. “A committee, composed of representatives of the Jeddah governor’s office, immigration office and labor office, has also been formed to resolve the issue," he added. According to Cabe, the committee has agreed to allow the workers to apply for employment in other hospitals even without their release papers. Those who may wish to just go back to the Philippines will also be assisted, he said. “As regards the unpaid salaries, a case against the company is already pending before the Primary Commission of the Ministry of Labor," he explained. Cabe, however, could not estimate when the case will be resolved, saying the commission is still conducting regular hearings. In a separate interview meanwhile, the recruitment agency in Manila of 55 of the workers said they have done what they can to assist the workers in the five months that they did not receive their salary. “The workers under my agency, which include nurses, housekeepers and bus drivers, have already transferred employment, some of whom started working June 1. What’s good here is that their new jobs involve higher salaries and increased benefits," Anchor Manpower Intl. Services Inc. owner Oscar Garcia told GMANews.TV. He added they are still working on the case of at least five workers, who have opted to be repatriated. According to Garcia, a possible resolution for the workers’ unpaid salaries may involve selling the properties of Al Ansar, the proceeds of which will go to the workers. The workers first came to the Consulate General December last year, according to Cabe. He said the Consulate agreed on a deadline for the company management to release the workers’ salaries, which the company failed to meet.
The workers had earlier complained they did not receive assistance from the Consulate and their Manila agency, until recently.—JV, GMANews.TV
Reposted From GMA News.TV