Sunday, March 08, 2015

... to Overcome Pressure

Kuwait Eyes New Sources For Hiring Domestic Workers
Bid To Overcome Pressure

KUWAIT CITY, March 7: The Ministry of Interior, in coordination with its foreign affairs counterpart, is looking into the possibility of hiring domestic workers from countries other than those currently sending these workers to Kuwait, reports Al-Anba daily quoting high ranking officials from the General Department for Residency Affairs.

The officials explained that the objective of the move is to overcome pressure exerted by some countries and embassies in terms of salaries for domestic workers. (DG:  In other words, a decent living.)

They said the announcement of the new countries will be done as part of the ongoing study on the issue, including a proposal to extend the probation period from 100 days to a year.

They added the study is set to cancel the category ‘rejected domestic workers’, whereas a shelter will be established for domestic workers under the supervision of Ministry of Interior and not the domestic workers bureaus; hence, these bureaus will not be allowed to re-employ the rejected workers under another sponsor.

 “to overcome pressure exerted by some countries and embassies in terms of salaries for domestic workers.”  Translation:  Countries that are trying to gain rights in terms of minimum salaries and labor laws are exerting “pressure”, so they’re looking for less ethical countries to do business with in order to bring in cheaper labor.

Seriously, they are still “studying” and “will establish a shelter”?  Really?  After all this time and bad press?  Didn’t Kuwait just open a shelter? And another before that?  What happened there?

If you treat people well, give them rights, cause them no harm (aka abuse), then none of these “measures” would be necessary.  Why can’t they clean up their own house (so to speak) internally before looking for other countries to do business with?  It’s a never ending cycle.  They brought in domestic workers from Ethiopia – a new country to the Kuwaiti domestic helper market – about 10 years ago.  Until Ethiopian workers who had been abused all of a sudden turned on their employers and started fighting back in not-so-nice ways.  It still did NOTHING to curb the abuse of domestic workers by employers.  So, just get another country to sign onto the madness and start sending unaware workers.  Will anything change?  No. 

I have Kuwaiti friends with helpers who have been with them upwards of 30 years.  Smiling, happy, hard-working helpers.  Why?  Because they are treated well.  They’re not cowering, frightened, or abused.  They are beloved family members.  We have 2 caretakers at our farm who have been with our group for something like 15 years.  They don’t want to leave.  Our friends treat them like friends.  Yes, they have a job to do, but they are also respected and treated with kindness and compassion.

I used to be a maid.  It was my first job.  If someone forced me to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week in imprisonment; if someone tried to (or succeeded in) rape me; if I wasn’t given adequate shelter or food…. I would find a way to hurt those responsible.  Slowly.  Painfully.  But hey – that’s just me.  These domestic helpers cook your food and take care of your children.  What the F is wrong with people?!  

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