‘Playing hardball on maids’ wage in Saudi to lead to job losses’

Published by rudy Date posted on May 23, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — A migration expert has warned the government against playing hard ball on the request of Saudi government to lower the minimum wage of household service workers, saying that it could lead to job losses for thousands of Filipino migrant workers.

The uncompromising stance of the Philippine panel in recent negotiations with Saudi labor officials could lead to “massive job losses” not only in the household service sector but also in the professional and skilled sectors, said Emmanuel Geslani, a recruitment and migration consultant.

“The Philippines cannot go toe-to-toe with the Saudi government as the kingdom is the largest employer of our overseas Filipino workers,” said Geslani in a statement on Sunday.

Out of the eight million Filipino migrants around the world, between 1.3 million and 1.8 million Filipino workers are currently employed in Saudi Arabia’s giant refineries, business and banking firms, construction, maintenance and household sectors.

The salary dispute began early this year after the Philippine government demanded a minimum $400 monthly salary for its household service workers working in Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi employers who have long standing relationships with Filipino recruitment agencies can be pressured by their government to stop hiring Filipinos or not renew anymore contracts of OFWs,” said Geslani.

He also warned the government against considering a selective ban on the deployment of Filipino domestic workers to countries not compliant with its labor provisions, saying that there could be an increase in illegal recruitment among Filipino women.

“The lack of opportunities for females will force them to be victims of human trafficking, depriving them of protection,” according to Geslani. –Jocelyn R. Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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