7 February 2015, Gulf Daily News
RIGHTS groups have raised concerns over a pan-GCC recruitment agency syndicate that aims to keep wages low for some of the poorest in society.
The GCC Task Force of Recruitment Agencies, as it is known, was formed last month with the express intention of keeping down the cost of hiring housemaids.
It claims that the wages of domestic workers have gone up by as much as 150 per cent recently, which in turn has allegedly driven up the cost of recruitment.
‘Labour-exporting countries are gaining from these workers’ remittances, yet they are imposing conditions on contracts and demanding more wages for them,’ the Task Force’s Qatar Chamber representative Ali Hamad Al Afeefa told The Peninsula newspaper in Doha.
Many domestic workers in Bahrain live on subsistence wages of as little as BD70 a month and send as much as they can to their country of origin in order to support families or loved ones.
Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society secretary general Faisal Fulad told the GDN that it was inhumane to suggest that these workers’ wages should not increase.
Migrant Workers Protection Society chairwoman Marietta Dias was similarly dismayed by the news.
‘Already workers are not being paid enough and their wages do not match their skills,’ she said.
‘Recruitment agencies cannot be so restrictive when it comes to wage demands ‘“ instead, there needs to be a revision of domestic workers’ salaries across the board.
‘We don’t have minimum wage agreements in place yet, but this doesn’t mean that recruiters can just decide on a wage that suits them.’