Cairo: A Kuwaiti labour activist has warned of a potential new ban on sending Filipino domestic workers to the Gulf country due to a perceived rise in violations of their rights.
Bassam Al Shamiri, head of a watchdog concerned with domestic workers’ situation in Kuwait, called for taking steps to protect the image of Kuwait from such malpractices including blacklisting sponsors notorious for abuses against domestic labour.
He cited statistics issued by the Public Authority of Manpower covering the period during which employment of domestic workers from abroad was suspended as part of travel restrictions that Kuwait imposed to limit spread of COVID-19.
“These statistics clearly indicates a rise in the number of complaints from workers against employers as well as an increase in the legal complaints referred to courts,” he told Al Rai newspaper. “These indications are not in favour of the local sector of domestic labour,” he added without giving specific figures.
Al Shamiri said that slow handling of such complaints gives a bad impression on the labour scene in Kuwait. “This could result in a new halt,” he warned.
The Philippines enforced a ban on sending new domestic workers to Kuwait back in January 2020, after a Filipino domestic worker was sexually abused and killed by her employer.
Al Shamiri mentioned malpractices by some sponsors including forcing a domestic worker to continue doing the job despite the end of the employment contract, refusing to allow the employee to get medical treatment, withholding due wages and bad treatment.
“It is necessary to protect Kuwait’s reputation from such practices by producing a blacklist naming the sponsors known for abusing domestic workers and do not abide by rules that are in effect to preserve their rights,” he said.
“They must be deprived of the right to hire domestic workers, or stringent terms should be set for them for recruit workers. There should also be regular follow-up to guarantee workers’ rights,” he added.