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Sat 9 Apr 2016 12:12 AM

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Filipino workers in GCC escape major job losses in era of cheap oil

Gov't figures show most of 2.5m workers in region so far unaffected although Qatar construction giant lays off 60 Filipinos

Filipino workers in GCC escape major job losses in era of cheap oil

A Qatari-based construction firm has laid off 60 Filipino workers but the continuing slump in global oil prices has so far had little impact on the country's workforce in the Gulf, according to new figures.

While Qatari Diar Vinci Construction (QDVC), which has projects including the Doha Metro and Lusail light rail network ongoing, has cut jobs, most of the 2.5 million Filipino workers in the region remain unaffected so far, the Philippines Government said in a statement.

The country’s Department of Labour and Employment said in the statement that some of the affected QDVC workers have been with the company for up to a decade and hold “positions of consequence” paying “competitive salaries".

It added that the 60 contracts are due to be terminated by April 17 as part of the company's cost-cutting measures.

However, the statement added that Filipino job numbers in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman were holding up in the new era of cheap oil.

In Dubai, it said the number of verified jobs for Filipinos went up in March to 2,315 job vacancies, all in the service sector.

In Oman, it reported no noticeable disturbance in the employment situation for Filipinos while in Saudi Arabia verified job orders register an uptick by 11 percent.

In Bahrain, an increase in the number of workers hired from 113 to 191 between March 13-17 suggested that the on-going oil price fall has so far had no significant impact on Filipino jobs.

The figures come as the total value of Gulf construction contracts awarded this year is forecast drop by $30 billion to around $167 billion.

Research by UAE-based information firm Ventures ONSITE said a total of $197 billion of new contracts were awarded last year, but this is likely to drop by almost 15 percent to $167 billion in 2016.