Twenty (20) overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed as truck drivers in Dammam, Saudi Arabia have protested their employer for violating the terms and conditions of their employment contract, according to local chapter of Migrante in the Eastern region, Saudi Arabia.
"Based on our review and the facts stated by the complainants, there is a strong prima facie case against the Saudi employer and their tie-up local recruitment agency in the Philippines," said Kenneth David, Migrante-Eastern region case officer.
On May 26, the 20 OFWs submitted to Migrante case officers in Dammam their respective copies of signed employment contract and other labor complaints against their Saudi employer and local agency in the Philippines.
The 20 OFWs are among the 150 OFWs trailer drivers employed for a Saudi-based company. They were all deployed by Kougen International Promotions agency in the Philippines.
"We have been told by the complaining OFWs that there were several labor rights violations committed by their employer such as illegal contract substitution, non-payment or delayed payment of salaries from two to 3 months, no Insurance, no sick leave, no vacation leave pay, illegal salary deductions, no official pay slip, IQAMA renewal fee deducted from the OFWs salaries, and verbal abuse," David added.
On his letter dated May 29 to labor attaché David Des Dicang of POLO-Eastern region, Migante's David identified the complaining OFWs as Yurie Murillo, Alex M. Aguto, Jimboy G. Torres, Misael Cagubcu, Danilo J. Ferrer, Gerry E. Reglos, Juanito Laguitan, Alex Sunga, Rodello Tapuic, Julius P. Tormis, Marlon L. Tamayao, Eric O. Taroy, Elizalde A. Catubig, Freddie F. Biluan, Reynato Z. Tulagan, Erwin Domingo Espiritu, Clemente Calma, Richard Catulong, Anecito Adanza Jr., and Jimson B. Faburada.
Migrante-Eastern region had requested labor attaché Dicang to provide assistance and guidance to distress OFWs in filing a case in the Saudi labor court against their employer.
On his part, John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator said: "Again, this is another case adding up in the long lists of contract substitution cases we have been handling. Contract substitution is considered an illegal recruitment activity punishable by law, specifically RA10022, the amended Migrant workers and Overseas Filipinos Act."
Monterona added by onerously replacing the contract of our OFWs, under duress, by their employer in cahoots with the recruitment agents in the Philippines, employers continuously exploits our OFWs by disregarding the original contract provisions, terms and conditions.
"The numerous cases of contract substitution underscore the need for PH government through the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to regulate the hiring and processing of OFWs by the recruitment agencies and thereby institute the needed reforms," Monterona suggested.
Monterona added: "Sending unscrupulous recruitment agents and corrupt labor officials in jail would be a deterrent. It's a question of how serious our government in combating illegal recruitment."
"We are calling the concerned govt. officials and agencies such as Vice President and OFWs czar Jejomar Binay, members of the Senate committee on Labor and House committee on OFWs affairs to conduct an investigation on rampant OFWs contract substitution in view of ending this vicious act victimizing thousands of OFWs," Monterona concluded.