236 distress OFW nurses, medical workers to troop inside the Philippine Consulate to demand action on their complaints against erring employer, OFW group throws support

Press Release
2 June 2010

After being neglected on their legitimate demands against their erring employer, 236 distress OFW Nurses and polyclinic workers in Jeddah, western capital of Saudi Arabia, will be trooping in today inside the Philippine Consulate General offices to demand immediate action on their legitimate complaints against their employer, a migrant rights group said.

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said that Migrante officers are now in talk with OFW nurses and polyclinic workers working for Al Ansar Hospital located at Al Salama district, Jeddah, after the distress OFWs have sought their assistance.

“They are complaining of non-payment of their salary for 6 months now which they are pursuing to be released immediately amid the impending closure of the hospital, and are demanding that they all be given release papers so that they could look for possible employment,” Monterona quoting one of the OFW nurses, who requested her name to be withheld, during a telephonic conversation about their case.

There are 236 OFWs working in the hospital, but 50% of these are polyclinic workers, while 50% are nurses.

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“The OFW nurses have told us that the Governor of Jeddah has already ordered Al Ansar management to release all its affected workers including the OFW nurses and polyclinic medical workers due to its impending closure, but the hospital’s management is not keen on following such order,” Monterona added.

Monterona said out of the 236 OFWs working at Al Ansar hospital and polyclinics, only 59 has been given released papers as of yesterday (1 June 2010) and are still awaiting for the release of their 6 months unpaid salaries.

“But here’s the rub, the Philippine Overseas Labor attaché seems to be paying only lip service on the complaints of the 236 distress OFW nurses and medical workers as until now it has never negotiated the release of the others and especially the unpaid salaries and other entitlement due them,” Monterona said.

Monterona added this forced the 236 OFW nurses and medical workers to decide to troop-in inside the Philippine Consulate General offices in Jeddah this afternoon (1:00pm, Saudi time) to bring their case to the attention of Consul General Ezzadin Tago and demand for its prompt action on their legitimate issues and concerns.

“We deplore the ineptness of Labor Attache Vicente Cabe in handling this case, that instead of giving support and providing guidance and proper representation for the 236 distress Nurses and medical workers who have been harassed by the hospital’s management, he had compromised the rightful demands of releasing the unpaid salaries of the OFW nurses and medical workers, and is slacked in getting the released papers of the OFW nurses and medical workers from their employer-sponsor,” Monterona added.

Migrante-Middle East calls on DoLE Sec. Marianito Roque to remind his labor attaché in Jeddah that he is there at the post to serve and properly represent troubled OFWs in relation to their legitimate labor demands against their erring employers, not to work at the latter’s mercy.

“We would like to convey to President-apparent Benigno Ninoy Aquino Jr. to order his own appointed Labor dept. secretary to replace all inept labor attaches from various labor overseas offices abroad especially in the Middle East,” Monterona ended. (Bulatlat.com)

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

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