A unified GCC system that governs household workers’ recruitment and work would strengthen the position of member states in negotiations with labor-exporting countries, said Saad Nahar Al-Baddah, chairman of the Foreign Recruitment Committee.
He added that such a step is needed, “especially after the issues that took place recently. Having a unified system would prevent exploitation (in countries negotiations).”
Among the “recent issues” Al-Baddah indicated are the housemaids on death row after killing their employer. A local news report on Saturday cited an unnamed GCC official stating that GCC ministers of Labor and Social Affairs intended to agree on a unified law to govern the recruitment and work of household labors in member states during in their next meeting in October in Bahrain. The official said a joint committee of member states would propose a unified recruitment contract that the ministers would discuss in the meeting.
He said articles of the contact would be announced after ministers approved it in the meeting, where amendments to it may be requested.
Sahar Al-Kabi, chairperson of the human resources committee at the Federation of GCC Chambers, said it is necessary for the ministers to form regulatory decisions to tackle the increasing number of issues related to household workers in the region and deal with exporting countries’ attempts to impose their conditions. She called for regulations that guarantee the rights of both parties.
“Only having a law to govern the recruitment and work of all labor instead of one specifically for house workers is a big problem in Gulf countries given the large number of household workers in the region.”
Fadhel Ashkanani, chairman of the Kuwaiti Association of Household Labor Agencies, told a local newspaper that regulating recruitment among member countries would eliminate 60 percent of domestic-worker-related issues. “Regulations, like a minimum wage law for example, must be implemented in each country. It is the responsibility of officials in charge of legislation and applying such laws,” he said.
“Relevant ministries at the GCC have to work together to tackle common problems. Domestic workers’ issues in all member countries are similar: Stealing, escaping and abuse (of the employer against the worker).”