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 Construction workers strike in Doha

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Pascal
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Number of posts : 225
Localisation : France
Organisation : UL CNT Besanšon
Registration date : 2006-08-20

PostSubject: Construction workers strike in Doha   Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:15 am

Gulf Times, 26 August, 2006

Quote :

Striking workers to meet labour dept officials again


FILIPINO workers of a construction firm in Doha, who were on a tool-down strike for about a fortnight, plan to meet labour department officials for the second time in less than a week.

Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, some of the workers' representatives said another round of talks with labour officials became inevitable as they felt the company officials "were going back on the promises" they had given to them last week.

Of the 70-odd striking workers, 30 have decided to return to the Philippines while the remaining have agreed to stay back in Doha, the workers' representatives said.

They said the company officials had given a verbal assurance that they will pay the salary arrears early next month to those who have decided to stay back.

However, this did not satisfy those who had already planned to quit the company and go back to their country.

The workers had arrived in Qatar more than three months ago. Some of them said that until now they had not received even a month's full salary.

The workers' representatives said the company officials, during the first round of talks at the labour department, had agreed to give them two months' salary and tickets to travel to Manila.

However, the officials and the representatives of the firm that recruited the workers later decided to give only $300 as compensation to those who opted to resign and return to the Philippines.

"The most unfortunate part of this agreement is that the compensation amount is not even sufficient for us to buy a one-way ticket," said a representative of the workers.

He said a ticket to Manila costs as much as QR1,600 and, as the compensation given by the company was not enough, the workers have to raise more money to buy a ticket.

Most of the workers had paid $500 or more to the agency for the recruitment, the representatives said.

They said even though the recruiting agents in Manila had agreed to return their money as and when they had sufficient funds at their disposal, they could not take their word.

"Even though they have promised to bring us back to the Middle East in the event of more opportunities in the construction sector, going by the happenings until now, we don't think they would be able to keep their promise," said the workers' representatives.

"This is one of the reasons why we would be meeting the Qatari labour officials, who had given us a patient hearing in our first meeting last week, they said.

"Moreover, the labour authorities, in the first round of talks, had also asked us to bring to their attention if there was any breach of contract on the part of their employers or recruiting agents."

Efforts to contact the workers' employers for their version did not succeed.
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