Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pinoy workers in UAE welcome labor reforms, but some are still apprehensive

AL AIN, United Arab Emirates – Filipinos here have welcomed the UAE's labor reforms protecting foreign workers, hoping this would lessen the incidents of Filipino migrant workers being abused by their employers.

Starting January 1 next year, UAE will lodge its workers’ contracts with the Ministry of Labor (MOL) to protect the rights of millions of foreign workers.

At present, most employers in the country hold their workers’ contracts, leading to possible abuses like involuntary labor. Foreign workers could also not choose to end their contracts or change employers without fear for legal consequences.

“Isang magandang adhikain kung ang MOL ang magiging taga-ingat ng ating dokumento upang maiwasan ang pang-gigipit at pang-aabuso, pisikal man o pinansyal,” Marilou Susmirano, 41, a domestic helper, shared in an online interview.

“Gaya ng ilan, marami sa ating Pilipino na nawawalan ng boses para ipaglaban ang karapatan sa kadahilanan sila ay natatakot o kaya'y di nalalaman ang kabuuang nakasaad sa pinirmahang kontrata. Dahil ang una sa isip ay makapagtrabaho at kumita para matulungan at maitaguyod ang iniwang pamilya,” she added.

Glenda Guevarra, 38, a laboratory technologist at the Oasis Hospital, agreed.

“It will be better not just for Filipinos but to other nationalities as well. We've been hearing a lot of stories about such issues. Although the processing will take longer than usual, at least there will be an assurance. People looking for employment in the UAE will be confident in accepting job offers,” she said.

Ma. Crizelda Napenas, 32, activity coordinator at the Tathqeef Health Treatment Undertakings Services, also welcomed UAE's move. “Wala na kasi silang (employer) magagawa provided the employee complies with what is agreed in the employment contract.”

A 49-year-old OFW working in an optical shop, though, still has reservations.

“Pabor ako na Ministry of Labor ang maghahawak. Pero paano? Meron bang dagdag na processing fee? Kasi ang employer, hindi papayag sa ganyang sistema,” the OFW said.

Raquel Areja, 30, domestic helper, on the other hand, thinks that they should be the ones keeping their documents. “Lahat dapat, kami ang may hawak,” she said.

“Para in case na magka-problema dito sa bansang ito, hindi maging mahirap. Gaya sa nangyari sa Syria, hindi sila basta makapasok sa ibang malapit na bansa kasi wala silang hawak na papers,” Areja added. —KBK, GMA News 

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