Sri Lankan minister promises artificial leg for distressed worker

Updated 15 January 2014
0

Sri Lankan minister promises artificial leg for distressed worker

Dilan Perera, visiting Sri Lankan minister of foreign employment promotion and welfare, has offered an artificial leg and employment in Colombo to the Lankan worker who lost his leg while on duty in the Kingdom.
The minister was here to sign an agreement with Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakeih for the protection of Sri Lankan domestic workers in the Kingdom.
Ruwan Chamara Herath, 29, lost his leg in a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he knew that the headlights were not working.
Upon intervention by the Sri Lankan Consulate, Herath left the Kingdom with an enhanced amount of SR25,000.
Herath had complained that his sponsor wanted to forcibly repatriate him against his wishes without giving proper compensation.
“The SR5,000 which the sponsor has promised is my three months’ wages and allowances,” he said.
The minister said Herath deserves the fullest support of the government. “He had come here to help his family, but unfortunately, had to return home because of the accident,” Perera said. A senior official from the consulate said the mission negotiated raising the compensation amount to SR25,000 with the sponsor, who tried to send him home with a mere SR5,000 as compensation.
“We are happy that we worked out a reasonable amount as compensation upon mutual agreement between the sponsor and the employee,” he said.
Herath claimed that the company he worked at treats its workers “like slaves without proper regard for local labor regulations.” He said he had to make up to 20 trips a day transporting sand in huge trucks for a cement factory, along with 16 other Sri Lankan drivers.
He said he came to the Kingdom to make money to build his dream house on a plot of land he owns in Gampaha, a suburb some 30 km from Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital. He said an artificial leg would cost him equivalent to SR8,000 in Sri Lanka. He said he has no definite plans for his future but he that is confident that philanthropists and his government would help him.
Prior to his departure, Herath was hosted at the consulate for a period of three days. “We offered him support to return home,” he said , adding that the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) would also extend their services to rehabilitate him in his hometown.
The SLBFE is a statutory body that looks after the interests of the island’s overseas workers and operates under the guidance of Minister Perera. Sri Lankans who go abroad are expected to register themselves with the bureau, which maintains a complete database of all registrants to offer them services when required.
There is some 550,000 Sri Lankans working in the Kingdom, which is the largest concentration of the island’s workers in the Middle East.
The visiting minister also visited the Sri Lankan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah. He listened to the grievances of the runaway maids who have sought shelter at the missions.
Perera said the number of complaints from the housemaids working in the Kingdom are minimal compared to the Lankan worker population in Saudi Arabia.
The Riyadh Embassy receives an average of 10 runaway maids, while its consulate in Jeddah gets around three cases a day.


Saudi Airlines and Etihad sign codeshare agreement

Updated 14 min 38 sec ago
0

Saudi Airlines and Etihad sign codeshare agreement

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier, Saudia, and Etihad Airways, the national is the flag carrier and the second-largest airline of the United Arab Emirates, have announced a new codeshare partnership, providing customers with access to more than 40 leisure and business destinations in home markets and across the world.
In addition to the codeshare agreement, the two carriers also announced plans for greater commercial cooperation in other fields, including frequent flyer program benefits, cargo, engineering and maintenance.
The codeshare agreement was signed at Saudia headquarters in Jeddah by Saleh Al-Jasser, Director General Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group.
It covers at least 41 destinations on both of the airlines’ networks and see Etihad place its “EY” code on a number of Saudia’s flights, including Abha, Al-Baha, Alula, Arar, Bisha, Dammam, Dawadmi, Gassim, Gizan, Gurayat, Hail, Hofuf, Jeddah, Jouf, Madinah, Qaisumah, Rafha, Riyadh, Sharurah, Tabuk, Taif, Turaif, Wadi-Ad-Dawasir, Wedjh, Yanbo, and Abu Dhabi. Port Sudan, Tunis, Alexandria, Sharm el-Sheikh, Multan and Peshawar, subject to government approval.
At the same time, Saudia will place its ‘SV’ code on Etihad flights to Baku, Chengdu, Ahmedabad, Nagoya, Tokyo-Narita, Dammam, Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh, Belgrade, Seychelles, Chicago-O›Hare, and Abu Dhabi.
Al Jasser said: “The new partnership broadens aviation and transport links with the United Arab Emirates, building on the extensive aviation investment and strong foundation in the sector.
“With the agreement, the added network coverage enables our guests to benefit from added flexibility and convenience, as well as increase the benefits for members of both airlines’ frequent flyer plans,” reported the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
Douglas said: “The ties shared between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the deepest that the two nations have, and therefore we are extremely proud to play our role and bring the two flag carriers together in this unique partnership.
“The partnership will allow for enhanced seamless travel across the Etihad Airways and Saudia networks which we anticipate will be highly popular with business and leisure travelers, especially those looking to fly to secondary city destinations.”
At the same time, Saudia will place its ‘SV’ code on Etihad flights to Baku, Chengdu, Ahmedabad, Nagoya, Tokyo-Narita, Dammam, Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh, Belgrade, Seychelles, Chicago-O›Hare, and Abu Dhabi.
In addition to the codeshare, the teams at the Etihad Guest and Alfursan frequent flyer programs are finalizing discussions which would see members of each program being offered reciprocal earn and burn opportunities, according to SPA.
In the cargo world, the teams in both airlines’ divisions are in talks over greater cooperation, recognizing the increased volumes of freight traffic flowing in and out of the UAE and the Saudi Arabia.
Etihad Airways Engineering will also provide provide select maintenance services for SAUDIA aircraft at its MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) facility in Abu Dhabi.
In 2017 Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) carried more than 32 million passengers, registered over 200,000 flights and traveled more than 320 million kilometers, while SAUDIA Cargo carried more than 637,000 tons of freight.
Carriers in the region continue to post positive growth, and in 2017 alone, they flew more than 216.1 million passengers, up by 4.6 percent over 2016 and representing 5.3 percent of the market share, according to the data provided by the International Air Transport Association.
Between November 2017 and March 2017, more than 400,000 passengers had been served by the shared flights, while 250,000 more had booked their trips in advance.