A 65-year-old Filipino driver in Saudi Arabia has sought assistance from Philippine labor officials there, saying the company for which he worked for over 20 years made illegal deductions on his salary.
Jose Mendoza, a native of Pangasinan, was a trailer driver for Saudi National Transport for 21 years when he stopped working in 2007 after filing a case against the company.
Mendoza claimed the company made illegal deductions to his salary and decided to file a case in February 2007 before a local labor court upon the advice of Philippine officials.
According to Migrante-Middle East which has been assisting Mendoza, the case dragged on for a year until a local court in Dammam awarded him an amount which was much smaller than what he expected.
Mendoza then decided to file an appeal, but his company had already filed a case against him as he allegedly stopped working.
“Unknown to Mendoza, his employer filed an absconding case against him in the local immigration office, and if he is caught by the immigration police, he will be deported," said Migrante regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.
Monterona thus urged the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Al-Khobar, which is handling Mendoza’s case, for allegedly failing to assist the worker in his case, which has yet to be resolved.
“Our Migrante officers in Al-Khobar have re-endorsed his case to the POLO and we are hoping that this time, they will provide him assistance and properly represent his demands against his erring employer," Monterona said.
He added that apart from compensation for the alleged illegal deductions, Mendoza should also get a pro-rated end-of-service entitlement, as mandated by the Saudi labor law.
For Mendoza, the entitlement should amount to half of his monthly salary multiplied by his number of years in service, Monterona explained.
In an interview, however, Labor Attaché David Des Dicang said the delay was not due to the Philippine post’s fault, but due to the queue of cases being heard by Saudi labor courts.
Dicang added it was also unclear at the onset whether Mendoza wanted to pursue the case or just be allowed to go back to the Philippines to be reunited with his family.
“Mendoza withdrew the appeal as it was taking long and decided to just negotiate with the company. The company, however, offered an amount that is smaller than what he wants," Dicang said.
He said the labor office is now working on his case, adding that they have already informed the immigration police that negotiations on Mendoza’s labor complaints are pending and he should hence be not subjected yet to deportation.
Dicang likewise vowed assistance to Mendoza. “We will have to find a way to satisfy him," he explained.
Philippine labor officials who previously handled Mendoza’s case have been re-assigned to other posts according to Dicang, and the POLO is still looking for the previous decision on his case and other pertinent documents.—JV, GMANews.TV
Reposted From GMA News.TV