Labour negotiations with Kuwait 'going well', says Filipino FM

The Philippines has called for more measures to be put in place to guarantee the safety of workers in the Gulf nation
Labour negotiations with Kuwait 'going well', says Filipino FM
Filipina workers pictured returning home from Kuwait arrive at Manila International Airport last month. Photo: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 12 Mar 2018 09:34 AM

Negotiations for a bilateral labour agreement with Kuwait are “going well”, but various measures must still be put in place to protect Filipino workers in Kuwait, according to the Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano.

“Our negotiations with Kuwait have so far been going well but we need to put in place more practical measures that would ensure the safety and welfare of our kababayans [Phillipines nationals] working there,” he was quoted as saying by local media outlets.

According to the Philippines’’ ABS CBN News, Cayetano said he hopes the agreement will include a provision that mandates that salaries are paid direct to the bank account of Filipino workers whenever possible, as well as a mechanism that would allow Filipino expats to directly file complaints with Kuwaiti authorities.

“We really must work with Kuwait to make sure we come up with an implementable agreement that would contain guarantees for the protection of our workers,” Cayetano added.

Officials of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs have said that Kuwait has committed to guaranteeing that Filipino domestic workers make a minimum monthly salary of 120 Kuwaiti dinars ($400), as well as at least eight hours of rest each day.

Additionally, Kuwait has committed to a guarantee that Filipino expat workers would be able to stay in possession of their passports and mobile phones, and only work in one household.

In February, President Rodrigo Duterte banned the deployment of new overseas foreign workers (OFW) to Kuwait after a 29-year-old maid was found dead in a freezer. Over 250,000 OFWs reside in Kuwait, many of them employed as domestic workers.

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