Kuwait and the Philippines resolve foreign worker dispute

newsimageNew deal offers greater protection for Filipino workers. More than 250,000 OFWs reside in Kuwait, many of them employed as domestic workers. Kuwait and the Philippines have come to an agreement regarding working conditions for domestic employees, Kuwaiti news agency KUNA has reported. The deal, singed in Manila over the weekend, ends an impasse in which The Philippines had barred nationals from seeking domestic positions in the country due to ongoing concerns over working conditions and safety. In January, a Filipina maid was found dead in a freezer in a Kuwaiti home, which officials in Manila stated was merely one of many similarly unacceptable incidents in the Gulf state. The new agreement, though, seems to have reassured the Filipino authorities that their Kuwaiti peers will offer great protection and a stronger regulatory framework for domestic staff employed in private households in Kuwait. “The deal will ensure the rights of both employers and employees,” commented Sami Al Hamad, Undersecretary for Consulate Affairs in Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry. Al Hamad said the two sides agreed that domestic workers from the Philippines will have the right to retain their passports as well as the right to refuse being transferred to other employers. Arabian Business reported last week that negotiations between the parties for a new bilateral labour agreement were “going well”, but The Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano, had been seeking “more practical measures that would ensure the safety and welfare of our kababayans [Phillipines nationals]”. More than 250,000 OFWs reside in Kuwait, many of them employed as domestic workers.