Sri Lanka seeks higher wages for housemaids

Updated 09 September 2013

Sri Lanka seeks higher wages for housemaids

A senior official from the Sri Lankan government said Sunday that it needs higher wages and adequate security for domestic workers coming to the Kingdom for employment.
Mangala Randeniy, deputy-general manager of the SLFBE, told Arab News from Colombo that his country is no longer interested in sending more housemaids to West Asian countries, including Saudi Arabia, unless those countries come out with an attractive salary package which commensurates with their hard work.
Randeniya said that the Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry would reconsider the request if Saudi Arabia was ready to pay higher salaries and willing to give security assurances to domestic workers.
“It is necessary for them to enter into a bilateral agreement before sending more housemaids,” Randeniya said, adding that such an agreement has been sent to the Kingdom’s Labor Ministry for approval.
The official stressed that such an agreement is essential in light of increased incidents of harassment, nonpayment of salaries, killing of maids by their employers, suicides and industrial accidents reported during recent years.
“We do not approve of women going overseas to work as domestic workers, but we cannot put an end to it in one go. Therefore, we have launched several programs to upgrade their skills and find better employment opportunities for them in specialized vocations.”
Sri Lanka aims to reduce the number of women going overseas to work as domestic aides by 80 to 90 percent by the year 2020. Currently, around 300,000 Lankans are working in Saudi Arabia.
Randeniya pointed out that conditions include minimum wage, working hours and the type of training to be given back home.
SLBFE is the statutory body that coordinates with foreign countries for the overseas employment of its workers.
Randeniya said that the minimum age limit for housemaids traveling to the Kingdom would be 25 years of age and that their minimum monthly wage will be set at SR900.
He explained that housemaids who come for foreign employment would be given a 21-day residential training course before being posted to overseas stations.
The profession would be stated as “domestic house-keeping assistant” inside the passport instead of “housemaid.”
Maids should be allowed at least eight hours of sleep a day, he said. “We will also demand higher pay.”
“We want to offer more skilled and quality manpower to the Kingdom and other regional job markets,” he added.
He said that the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment would assist companies in host countries to train other workers according to their needs. “We have well-established training centers to update prospective foreign workers with skills,” he said, adding that they could supply trainers to help employers in their workplaces.
“An innovative mechanism is currently being developed in Sri Lanka to implement job-specific, country-specific and company-specific training programs for citizens who seek opportunities abroad,” he said.

Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

Updated 16 August 2018

Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

  • Guests laud King Salman’s efforts to unify ranks
  • Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety

MAKKAH: King Salman received thanks from guests at Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for welcoming and supporting pilgrims. They also thanked him for hosting them so that they can perform Hajj rituals. 

The king’s guests praised the services provided for them from the moment they arrived in the holy lands. This underscores the depth of the Saudi experience in dealing with crowds and successfully hosting millions of pilgrims each year.

Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety.

“The expansion projects in the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites, as well as the readiness of all medical and security teams, constitute strong evidence of Saudi Arabia’s capacities and ability to organize and manage the crowds with every Hajj season,” he added.

Ismailov pointed out that Muslims represent 70 percent of the population in Tatarstan, and that it is the first country in the region to adopt Islam as a state religion since 922.

Sheikh Mustafa Jusufspahic, the grand mufti of Belgrade, in Serbia, said that King Salman’s hosting of pilgrims from all over the world continues a tradition of the leadership of this blessed land assisting and unifying Muslims. It continues the path of good and giving by the Kingdom’s leaders toward Islamic work in the world, accounting for its prestigious position in the Muslim world, he added.

Jusufspahic expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his great gesture that enables Muslims to perform Hajj easily and conveniently. He praised all services offered in the program, which is supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Mohammed Amin, a professor from Ethiopia, who is making his first visit to Makkah, commended King Salman’s invitation to Muslims from all over the globe. He also saidthat the Ethiopian people were well aware of the financial and cultural support provided by the Kingdom.

The imam of the Central Mosque in Ethiopia, Ibrahim Khalil, expressed his admiration for the warm reception he and his delegation received upon their arrival, their speedy entry into the country and the journey to their residence.

Guinean Islamic preacher Mohammed Idris said the infrastructure and the scale of the preparations in Makkah reflect the tremendous efforts from all sectors there. “The Kingdom endeavors to develop organization and management of the Hajj season every year, a fact highly acclaimed among Muslims in Guinea, who consider Saudi Arabia to be the heart of the Islamic world,” he said.

Professor Bassim Berniavorates, from the faculty of medicine at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia, said he was happy he had the opportunity to perform Hajj for the first time in his life, and was eager to meet Saudi people, to learn about their customs and traditions, and to visit popular markets that reflect the historical richness of Makkah.

He added that the Bosnian people were grateful for Saudi Arabia’s support throughout history, which has enabled them to overcome obstacles and crises and achieve their aspirations in building a civilized and democratic nation.

Bassim, a professor of anesthesia at the University Hospital in Sarajevo, noted that the program helped to extend bridges of communication with the world. “The Bosnians became more familiar with the Saudis and proud of this cultural fusion in the holiest parts of the earth,” said Bassim.

Dr. Mekhtbakh, from the Sports Academy in Kyrgyzstan, said that by visiting the holy land he had achieved a life-long dream. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his generous patronage and keenness to host Muslims from all over the world.