Runaway Lankan maids worry Labor Ministry

Updated 27 June 2015
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Runaway Lankan maids worry Labor Ministry

RIYADH: Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani has asked the Sri Lankan government to stop maids running away from their Saudi sponsors soon after their arrival in the Kingdom.

Al-Haqbani told Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Mohamed that several maids have run away after spending barely three months in the country. This was costing each affected Saudi sponsor SR25,000, he said.
The minister said that while this was only a small fraction of the Sri Lankan maids in the Kingdom, the situation had to be nipped in the bud. There are about 400,000 Lankan housemaids in the Kingdom.
The minister also complained that some maids were arriving pregnant in the Kingdom with false medical reports. In addition, he asked the Sri Lankan government to reduce the recruitment costs for housemaids.
Responding to the minister’s concerns, the Sri Lankan envoy said that the Association of Licensed Foreign Agencies has already decided to reduce the recruitment charges to SR12,000, which would be discussed at the next bilateral meeting in Colombo after Ramadan.
Mohamed said that maids obtain medical certificates six months ahead of their travel dates and become pregnant during the waiting period in Sri Lanka. He promised that arrangements would be made to deal with this situation.
To prevent maids from running away, he said that the Sri Lankan government has organized an intensive orientation program for those seeking work in Saudi Arabia. “This will put a stop to this problem because it prepares housemaids mentally to work in the Saudi environment, which is alien to them.”
According to a pact between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka, the parties have agreed to review the labor agreement once every six months. The next meeting would be in Colombo in July, he said.
The accord, which protects employers and employees, allows workers to keep possession of their passports, and have salaries paid into their bank accounts. “Under the pact, domestic workers can be assured of a safer, more decent and problem-free working environment,” Mohamed said.
The labor agreement covers 12 categories of domestic workers including housemaids, drivers, cleaners, and waiters employed by individuals. It also stipulates that contracts should be in a language understood by the worker.
Ahmed Al-Fehaid, undersecretary for international affairs, was also present during the discussions.


First Saudi woman presents main news bulletin on Saudia TV

Updated 5 min 32 sec ago
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First Saudi woman presents main news bulletin on Saudia TV

JEDDAH: Weam Al-Dakheel has become the first woman to anchor the main evening news bulletin on Saudi Arabia’s main national TV station.
Al-Dakheel presented the news alongside Omar Al-Nashwan on Thursday on Saudia TV channel.
Saudis took to Twitter to celebrate her achievement and the new milestone for Saudi women.
Writer Rayan Al-Jidani said: “Her performance was distinctive in terms of concentration, presence and clear articulation. I wish her more success in her career in media with the national channel @saudiatv.”
Television broadcaster Wael Rafeeq said: “Today, we are very pleased with this great development and quantum leap that the national television is undergoing.”
“It is beautiful to see our national channel in this honorable image. I hope this level of dedication at work is maintained, and developments continue being executed,” Twitter user @abukhaled2030 said.
@aliya_m1khan tweeted: “She is a champion. Such a strong and confident character, a great example.”

Al-Dakheel previously worked for CNBC Arabia and was an intern at Dar Al Hayat Newspaper.
Women have presented the news on other Saudi channels like Al-Ekhbariya for several years.
Their increasing profile in Saudi Arabia’s media comes amid the sweeping social reforms brought in by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including the lifting of the ban on women drivers.