Filipinos Cautioned Against Signing New Labour Contracts Without POLO Presence

ABU DHABI - Officials from the Philippine diplomatic missions in the UAE have cautioned Filipinos against signing new labour contract upon their arrival in the country unless a representative from the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) is present to ensure that the contractual terms and conditions are not changed.

By Lily B. Libo-on

Published: Sun 8 Feb 2009, 11:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:37 AM

Labour Attaché Nasser Munder reiterated the advice of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi amidst rising complaints from Filipino expatriates of glaring differences in their salary and other benefits originally offered to them and reflected in the contract signed in Manila.

“Most employers take advantage of the UAE Labour Law that honours only labour contracts signed in UAE.

“They prepare this contract with a salary lower than what is originally offered in Manila through government-authorised manpower recruitment agencies,” he explained.

After arriving here, he said the Filipino expatriates are expected to sign the UAE labour contract reflecting the same terms and conditions on salary, work period and time, overtime and other benefits.

“What happens is that most employers change the terms without informing us and compel the employee to sign by threatening to send them back to Manila if they didn’t sign,” he said.

Munder said that if they are pressured or threatened, they should identify the persons responsible and report the matter immediately to the POLO.

“Before signing the contract, they should inform us rather than coming to POLO to complain after the signing and experiencing difficulties in their job site,” he pointed out.

He stressed that before the UAE employers hire Filipino workers through manpower recruitment agencies in Manila, their job order passes through the UAE Labour Minister and the Philippine Labour Attaché for approval.

“After it is approved, it is forwarded to Manila for the manpower recruitment agency chosen by that employer to start processing the papers, which include the signing of a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) standard labour contract,” he added.

He advised the Filipinos to scrutinise all employment documents that they are bringing to the UAE to avoid substitution.

“It is observed that some workers in the Manila airport, who are carrying brown envelopes supposedly containing their employment documents, have been instructed by manpower recruitment agencies not to open their envelopes until they have reported to their employers.”

POEA does not maintain a Labour Assistance Counter at the international airports in the Philippines, so no one can identify fake travel or employment documents of overseas Filipino workers, Munder clarified.

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