Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Sack Expat first" policy now in effect in Middle East country

Press Release
27 January 2009

"Sack Expat first" policy now in effect in Middle East country

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East, today said the Government of Saudi Arabia and other host governments are keen to implement a policy of terminating expatriates workers first if retrenchment could not be avoided due to global financial crisis.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said it was reported in several local newspaper that the Head of Saudi's Labor Office in Eastern Province Mr. Muhammad Al-Hamdan is quoted saying that its Labor Offices are instructing companies to start with foreigners first if they have to sack staff and workers.

"Even the Saudi government is now wary of the effect of the global financial crisis and thus come up with such a protective measure- their nationals will be the last to be sacked in their jobs, foreign workers first to include OFWs," Monterona averred.

Many economists believed that the Middle East will be the least to be affected by the global financial meltdown.

"However, there are companies here in Saudi Arabia which profits plunged in as much as 90 percent last year as a result of the global financial meltdown," Monterona observed.

Major companies like the Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a company based in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, reportedly dive its profits of about 95 per cent last year as a result of the global financial crisis.

Monterona said there a considerable numbers of OFWs employed in SABIC. "Once this company decided to terminate its workers and staff due to the global financial crisis, we do hope and pray that our fellow OFWs there would not be the first to be terminated," he added.

Monterona cited the case of OFW Narciso Fetalvero and other two companions, a case recently referred to them by concerned fellow OFWs.

Monterona said OFW Narciso Fetalvero, 65 years old, and other 2 OFW companions have been working in Narajan, Eastern Province for almost 10 years and were not able to go for a vacation, thus not seeing their respective families for almost a decade now allegedly because their employer did not allow them to go for a vacation.

"Worst, their company did not issue them IQAMA (work permit) for seven years, not paying their salary regularly and no benefits at all. They were threatened to be terminated due to company's retrenchment policy; on December 4 they stopped working and then decided to file a case against their employer," Monterona said.

Migrante-ME said the case of OFW Fetalvero and those OFWs working in Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) who might end up terminated on their jobs are scenarios that the Arroyo administration must be ready to face.

"Despite the looming massive retrenchment of workers around the world due to global financial crisis and this "sack foreign workers first" policy of protective host governments, the Arroyo administration, that is heavily dependent on OFWs remittances, keeps on marketing OFWs in full-blast scale," Monterona commented.

The OFW leader said after all this is what Mrs. Arroyo could prove to the Filipino people – she is good Sales representative untiringly selling out cheap labor of her own people around the world, not to make the economy better, but worst due to her blind adherence to neo-liberal policies of globalization, liberalization, and privatization.

Migrante-ME ended saying "It is now clear that Mrs. Arroyo becomes a crime accomplice in the disintegration of families as the basic social unit of our society as it now wantonly promotes labor export, cited by our Church leaders, as the primary cause of family break-ups.

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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