Migrant workers in Saudi Arabia on hunger strike against abuses, seek solidarity actions

By Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)

URGENT ACTION: The condition of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia

180 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia began a hunger strike on July 19th, in protest against the abuses they have experienced and the neglect of the Philippine government. The families of these OFWs staged a simultaneous “solidarity fasting” on the 22nd at the Department of Labor and Employment.

Overseas Foreign Workers have filed complaints to the Ministry of Labor in Saudi Arabia and the Philippine Embassy, noting the following abuses:

  • Illegal recruitment
  • Contract Violation
  • Overcharging of placement fees
  • Contract Substitution
  • Collection of fees without official receipts
  • Collection of excessive fees
  • Loans with high interest rates
  • Poor working accommodations
  • Illegal salary deductions
  • Non-issuance of IQMA, working permits
  • Non-payment of salaries in ten months to over one year
  • No overtime pay
  • Underpayment of salaries
  • Non-renewal of expired contracts, residence permits, medical insurances

 Complaints came from:

  • 98 OFWs from Al-Swayeh company
  • 48 cleaners from Al-Zahran company
  • 17 workers from Al-Naseeb Establishment
  • 19 OFWs from Al-Sabillah Construction
  • Other individual repatriation cases

Licensed recruitment agencies involved in contract violation, abuse and exploitation of OFWs include:

  • Saveway International Man Power
  • Osims Oriental Skills International Manpower
  • RPF Business Management & Consultancy Inc
  • Irsal Employment Services Inc.
  • GBMLT Manpower Services Inc.
  • Nawras Manpower Services Inc.
  • Al Assal Manpower Inc.
  • Matawi
  • 4 Brothers

Urgent Action

The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants would like to express its solidarity with the Overseas Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia who are holding this hunger strike, and with their families in the Philippines, fasting in solidarity.

We call upon The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, The Philippines Overseas Employment Agency, The Overseas Workers Welfare Assistance, Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Employment and President Aquino to:

  • Attend to the aforementioned complaints made by the OFWs in Saudi Arabia and their families.

  • Offer safe repatriation to those OFWs in Saudi Arabia who have made requests.

  • Suspend and sanction the licensed recruitment and placement agencies involved in the abuse and exploitation of OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

You may send a letter of appeal to:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President , Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
Office: JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Hon. Alberto del Rosario
Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs
Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Phils
Phone: (+632) 834-7374
Fax: (+632) 832-1597
Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph

Hon. Esteban Conejos
Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Wokers Affairs
Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Phils.
Phone: (+632) 832-1672
Fax: (+632) 551-0847
Email: oumwa@dfa.gov.ph

Hon. Hans Leo Cacdac
Administrator
Philippine Overseas Employment Agency
Blas F. Ople Building
Ortigas Avenue cor EDSA, Mandaluyong City
Phone: (+632) 722-1159/ 722-1163
Fax: (+632) 724-3665
Email: administrator@poea.gov.ph

Hon. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Office: Padre Faura St., Manila, Philippines
Direct Line: (+632) 521-8344; 5213721
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: soj@doj.gov.ph

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex,
Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, QC, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com,
lorettann@gmail.com

 

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
No. 2 Jordan road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Hong Kong SAR, China
Telefax: (+852) 2735-4559
Email: apmm@hknet.com

 


 

Sample Letter of Appeal

July 24, 2012

To Whom it May Concern;

I am writing to bring to your attention the situation of 180 overseas Filipino workers who are in hunger strike in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for unfair labor practices and abuses that they suffered from their employers.

On July 19th, 180 overseas Filipino workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia began a hunger strike in protest against the abuses they have experienced and the neglect of the Philippine government. The families of these OFWs staged a simultaneous “solidarity fasting” on the 22nd at the Department of Labor and Employment.

The victims have filed complaints to the Ministry of Labor in Saudi Arabia and the Philippine Embassy, noting the following abuses: illegal recruitment; contract violation; overcharging of placement fees; contract substitution; poor working accommodations; illegal salary deductions; non-issuance of IQMA working permits; non-payment of salaries; and lack of overtime pay. They have attempted to bring charges up against licensed Philippine recruitment agencies that have participated in contract violation and exploitation of OFWs. The agencies listed by the OFWs include: Saveway International Man Power; Osims Oriental Skills International Manpower; RPF Business Management & Consultancy Inc; Irsal Employment Services Inc.; GBMLT Manpower Services Inc.; Nawras Manpower Services Inc.; Al Assal Manpower Inc.; Matawi; and 4 Brothers.

Complaints came from OFWs from several companies in Saudi Arabia, including: 98 OFWs from Al-Swayeh company; 48 cleaners from Al-Zahran company; 17 workers from Al-Naseeb Establishment; 19 OFWs from Al-Sabillah Construction; and other individuals.

Following the complaints made to the Ministry of Labor in Saudi Arabia last year, the aforementioned OFWs requested the assistance of the Philippine Embassy, but their requests went unheard. Several OFWs have also requested exit paperwork and repatriation, but their requests have not been answered.

The protesting OFWs in Saudi Arabia and their families in the Philippines strongly urge you to take the following measures to address their grievances:

  • Attend to the aforementioned complaints of contract violation and abuse.
  • Offer safe repatriation to those OFWs in Saudi Arabia who have made requests.
  • Suspend and sanction the licensed recruitment and placement agencies involved in the abuse and exploitation of OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

It is our hope that you will take immediate action to resolve the grievances made by Overseas Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia.

Sincerely yours,

Name of person
Name of the organization

 


Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
Office Address: G/F, No.2 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. no.: (852) 2723-7536     
Fax no.: (852) 2735-4559
General E-mail:  apmm@hknet.com

Other Email Addresses:
Managing Director: director@apmigrants.org / rbultron@gmail.com
Marriage Migrants Program: ammoresect08@gmail.com
Faith Communities Witnessing with Migrants: pastorjoram@ymail.com
Research and Publication:  publications@apmigrants.org / ahc@hknet.com
FDWs & Women’s Program: women@apmigrants.org / janetcarnay@yahoo.com
Undocumented Migrants: reyasis@gmail.com
Migrants Trade Unionism: jnatividad70@gmail.com

WEBSITE: www.apmigrants.org

 

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