Upholding workers’ rights


DUBAI – The Philippines stands to benefit much from a breakthrough statute which the United Aram Emirates will soon implement to uphold workers’ rights and protect them from human trafficking.

Leaders of the Philippine diplomatic mission in the UAE immediately expressed gratitude to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for signing the statute which the Philippines has long been waiting for.

The new UAE law declares that placement agencies should ensure domestic workers are informed of the terms and conditions of their employment before they start working.

These include the nature of work, the workplace, salary, and period of daily and weekly rest set by executive regulations.

“We are very happy. We have been waiting for that [law] which was a result of continuing discussions between the UAE and Philippine governments,” Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Constancio Vingno Jr., told Dubai-based Filipino Times.

The Philippine ambassador added that the recruitment of HSWs [household service workers] will now have to go through a new process, and that should a problem arise, there will be someone who can be held accountable and there will also be an office here in the UAE where complaints can be filed.

Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes also hailed the new law, saying the new law assures that the Filipino workers who come to the UAE will lead happier and more productive lives for themselves, their families back in the Philippines, and for the greater and more diverse UAE community here.

Labor Attache Felicitas Bay of the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Dubai said she hopes the new law for HSWs will curb forced labour and human trafficking.

“With the approval of the UAE law on domestic workers, I believe that our nationals in this category or sector will have stronger protection backed by a firm assurance from the UAE government,” Bay said.

The law will take effect 60 days after its publication in the UAE Official Gazette.

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