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Kuwait: New parliament urged to pass domestic labor law

Kuwait: New parliament urged to pass domestic labor law

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by IDWFED published Dec 17, 2012 12:00 AM
Manila-based Filipino recruitment agencies have expressed hope that new parliament in Kuwait would look into the issue of domestic workers and pass a domestic labor law hanging fire.

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Read the original article in full: New parliament urged to pass domestic labor law | Kuwait Times

Manila-based Filipino recruitment agencies have expressed hope that new parliament in Kuwait would look into the issue of domestic workers and pass a domestic labor law hanging fire. The passage of the legislation would enable these firms to resume their business which they had unilaterally shut down on December 1. Some Filipino recruitment agencies stopped hiring or recruiting domestic helpers (article 20) from the Philippines amidst disagreements between the Philippines and Kuwait regarding housemaids’ salary.

“Our appeal to the Kuwaiti government is that the Parliament must pass the domestic labor law and agree to $400 (KD112.56) salary,” a female owner of the Philippine recruitment agency, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. “I know that for some, even KD112 salary was too high but I hope the countries in the Middle East would talk and agree on a common wage. I have heard that Kuwait will agree to hike the salary by KD85-90. We also urge the Manila government to reduce the amount. I hope and pray that the two sides could meet halfway,” she said.

“Since there is a new parliament now, I hope they would look into the issue and resolve it once and for all,” she told Kuwait Times. Many local recruitment agencies in Kuwait expressed happiness at the fact that some non-governmental organizations like the Social Works Society of Kuwait (SWSK) have been supporting and pursuing issues related to the domestic helpers.

In fact, the SWSK also called upon the new Kuwaiti parliament last week asking it to tackle the domestic labor law issue as soon as the new parliament resumes.

Some recruitment agencies from Manila have reportedly stopped processing visa for domestic helpers. The Philippine government wants to strictly implement its unilateral policy of US$400 monthly salary while the Kuwaiti government asked it to wait till a new domestic labor law pending for two years before the Kuwaiti parliament is approved.

Authorities in Kuwait have also informed housemaids’ agencies in the country to avoid promising an increase in salaries or recruitment fees of domestic workers unless they receive an order from the Ministry of Interior. Recruitment offices around the country received a statement from the domestic workers’ division in the [Interior Ministry's] Migration General Department, asking them to ignore instructions received from any party other than official state departments regarding the fees for recruiting labor forces or their salaries.

“Our action to stop recruitment and deploying Filipinas in Kuwait was influenced by the fact that we have been threatened with a closure notice (by interior ministry) recently if we entertained a salary hike for Filipino domestic helpers. In order to avoid that, we stopped the recruitment ourselves,” she added. Earlier this year, the Philippines government proposed to gradually ban domestic helpers from the Philippines from going to serve in Kuwait and other Gulf countries over the next five years.

Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was quoted as saying that there has been a recommendation from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which found that the three Gulf countries, namely Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar, could not guarantee protection for these workers. The POEA governing board has yet to take a decision on this issue.

Photo: Samira/FLICKR

Source: Ben Garcia/Kuwait Times

Story Type: News

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