The Labor department will reduce the deployment of Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia to protest Riyadh’s inaction on the unpaid wages of more than 9,000 Filipino workers worth P4.6 billion, its top official said Wednesday.
“We plan to scale down the deployment of [Filipino workers] to Saudi Arabia starting next year,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
“This is to call the attention of the Saudi government to act on the plight of thousands of Filipino workers who have yet to get their salaries since 2017.”
Bello said the reduced deployment would start in 2020 as a result of Riyadh’s failure to act on the claims of more than 300 employees this year, and of whom many were working for a contractor of the state-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co.
A group supporting the welfare of migrant Filipino workers on Wednesday expressed support for the Labor department’s decision to scale down the deployment of Filipinos to Saudi Arabia.
Susan Ople, president of the Blas Ople Policy Center, said it was only right to push for the welfare of the workers as the latter had fulfilled their contractual obligations.
“They actually fulfilled their side. They worked and rendered services but they were not paid because the companies went bankrupt or faced other financial and legal problems,” Ople said.
“It is incumbent on the government of Saudi Arabia to make sure that the workers get their just share of compensation.”
Bello said 10 to 20 percent would be cut from the number of Filipinos bound for Saudi Arabia, who were mostly household workers, construction and medical workers.
“Only the newly hired will be reduced while those employed or on vacation will continue their work there," Bello said.
“If the Saudi government continues to ignore our call, we will reduce the deployment of workers to Saudi Arabia.”
Bello said three million Filipinos were working around the world and 25 percent of them were in Saudi Arabia. With PNA