Philippine president meets Saudi king amid labour rights concerns

Philippine president meets Saudi king amid labour rights concerns
2 min read
12 April, 2017
Pressure is piling on Rodrigo Duterte to deal with the issue of Filipino workers not receiving their salaries in Saudi Arabia.
President Rodrigo Duterte met with Saudi King Salman as part of his GCC tour [Getty]
Philippines president met with Saudi King Salman for the first time, as a part of his GCC tour, in which he discussed heavily the plight of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.

Pressure was piling on President Rodrigo Duterte to deal with the issue of Filipino workers not receiving their salaries in the kingdom.

The workers compiled a petition which they planned to present to Duterte during his trip, according to Florante Catanus, vice president of the All Filipino Community and Sports Commission umbrella group.

Their main concern was that the majority of them had not received salaries from their employers after being made redundant.

Many of them, who work as domestic workers, nurses and in the retail industry have endured mistreatment by their Saudi employers and have had no legal framework to help them secure their rights.

Catanus said that the petition signed by members of the community was mainly regarding the way in which Filipino workers are easily fired and deported, without receiving their final wages.

"So many Filipinos were laid off," he said. “They were sent home and they were not able to get money the companies owed them".

According to Catanus, around 5,000 Filipinos are battling with their employers to receive their wages.

There are currently 800,000 Filipino workers residing in the kingdom.

A memorandums of understanding was signed by Duterte and his Saudi counterparts on the issue of labour rights, along with other agreements on economic co-operation.

After Saudi Arabia, Duterte will continue his GCC tour by visiting Bahrain and Qatar.

Agencies contributed to this report