Health ministry says not affected by Philippines’ labor ban
KUWAIT: A government official strongly denied rumors suggesting that Manpower Public Authority has ignored 1,000 complaints filed by Filipino employees working for a major company in Kuwait due to political reasons. “We only received 120 complaints from a total of 500 Filipinos working for the company,” said Abdullah Al-Motoutah, deputy director for manpower protection affairs at the authority.
Motoutah added that the authority approved cancellation requests made by the laborers working for a major insolvent company who want to leave without consulting the employer, after paying them from the company’s financial deposits. Motoutah said the authority’s offices in various governorates continue to receive laborers’ complaints and that the mobile labor disputes unit has already received 850 complaints.
The Public Authority for Manpower takes all legal actions against companies that fail to honor their laborers’ rights, said the official who again denied that the authority has failed to fulfill its duties in terms of protecting manpower working for the private sector, namely those working for major companies. “The authority has taken gradual measures to protect workers and hold the companies accountable without causing any harm to government projects being executed by them,” he said.
Motoutah added that those companies’ contracts were suspended while concerned state departments were contacted and urged to pay laborers’ overdue payments and deduct them from payments due to the companies, in addition to urging government bodies registered with the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) not to renew contracts or sign new ones with these companies.
Following a ban imposed by the Philippines even on nationals on vacation from returning to Kuwait, the health ministry’s medical engineering department’s manager Adel Al-Sarraf stressed that all ministry sectors will not be affected by such a ban. Sarraf said there are enough employees to cover for the missing staff members. He added that MoH does not depend on one nationality when contracting staff, but has a diverse workforce including a considerable number of Kuwaitis. Sarraf said that the nursing sector has the largest number of employees from the Philippines (35 percent), but stressed that even this sector will not be greatly affected if the ban continues.
Social media activists called on bedoons (stateless residents) to stage a sit-in outside Jahra Hospital on Friday. Commenting on the call, official security sources stressed that the Interior Ministry will not tolerate any unlicensed gatherings, adding it had not received any license requests. “There are some suspicious calls to disturb the hosting of two significant conferences in Kuwait,” the sources said, noting that security forces are currently tracking down the origins of the calls.
The court of appeals yesterday approved a request contesting the teachers’ law and demanding treating female Kuwaiti teachers equally as their expat colleagues. The court referred the request to the constitutional court to check the constitutionality of the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) decision on paying rent allowance to female expat teachers and depriving Kuwaiti teachers married to non-Kuwaitis from the same. Notably, female expat teachers working for the Ministry of Education (MoE) currently receive a monthly rent allowance of KD 60 instead of KD 150. In a separate case, the criminal court yesterday sentenced a citizen to 10 years in jail with labor over charges of joining the Abdaly cell, spying for Iran and Hezbollah and possessing explosives.
The Food and Nutrition Authority’s chairman and general manager Essa Al-Kandari said the authority referred 15 related citations to the public prosecution, adding that some of them were serious ones beyond reconciliation. Kandari added that according to direct instructions from Health Minister Sheikh Dr Bassel Al-Sabah, the authority is keen on protecting consumers’ health in terms of having access to safe and healthy food items.
By Meshaal Al-Enezi and A Saleh