JERRIE M. ABELLA, GMANews.TV
04/29/2010 | 10:16 PM
A migrants’ rights group asked the government on Thursday to finally impose a permanent ban on a “notorious" Saudi Arabian firm implicated in several complaints of illegal labor practices, as well as cancel the licenses of its four recruitment agencies here.
In a protest, Migrante International and former workers of Annasban Group who have been repatriated early this year pressed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to decide on pending cases against the company and its recruitment agencies: Placewell International, Saveway International, Global Jobsearch, and UPPI.
“We have already gone through all the processes and requirements for the POEA to once and for all act in favor of the Annasban workers and their families. All they need to do is come up with a ruling and order to ban the company and the involved recruitment agencies" said Migrante chairperson Garry Martinez.
The repatriated workers, all women caregivers who stopped working in October last year, have filed complaints against the company and four recruitment agencies before the POEA.
Three hearings have so far been conducted on the pending complaints, Migrante said.
The worker complained of such violations as contract substitution, illegal salary reduction, deductions, non-issuance of benefits and unsafe working environment.
They have also alleged their agencies neglected them and refused to shoulder their repatriation.
All four agencies have denied the workers’ accusations, saying they paid for the workers’ repatriation costs and have assisted them during their work stoppage.
The POEA had earlier suspended Annasban from hiring Filipino workers after it failed to repatriate a Filipino employee who stopped working in protest of alleged contract violations and oppressive working conditions.
Meanwhile, POEA Deputy Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac told GMANews.TV the complaints will be decided on 60 days after they were filed on March 4, and that hearings are ongoing.
He added the suspension on Annasban remains until complaints filed against it are resolved.
As this developed, Migrante said there are still over 30 Filipino workers in the Kingdom who are currently staging a work stoppage against the company for similar complaints.
The group has likewise recorded about 285 workers to date who have sought their help against the company.
“We expect the figures to double this year if the government will not put an end to sending Filipinos to the vicious business giant," Martinez said.
Repeated attempts to get in touch with Annasban proved futile.
Annasban is a multimillion-dollar company operating in the fields of operation and construction. The non-government organization Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan estimates that it employs at least 800 Filipino workers. - RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV