By Sumaiya Rizvi
There are 300 unskilled migrant workers who have been denied their actual wage in Kuwait while the local employment agencies are pocketing their money, the Sri Lankan Ambassador for Kuwait Sarath Dissanayake alleged yesterday.“Employment agencies have cheated the migrant workers and they receive a part of their monthly salary”, Dissanayake said. The unskilled workers should receive 60 Kuwaiti Dinars but they received only 40 Kuwaiti Dinars which is the minimum wage rate and it amounts to Rs. 16,000, Dissanayake said.
According to Dissanayake these employment agencies had made the workers sign sub contracts which permitted the agencies to receive a part of their wage. The issue is in front of the Kuwaiti Labour Tribunal he added.
“Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau will be taking the fraudulent agencies to task” Dissanayake said.
Meanwhile the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry and the Sri Lankan embassy in Kuwait are discussing matters relating to the signing of the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA), Sarath Dissanayake said.
“This agreement is important to attract investors to Sri Lanka and for preferential trade between the two countries” Dissanayake said.
According to the Ambassador the first round of talks were held in Colombo and they hope to hold the second round of talks in January, 2009 in the Kuwaiti City. “This is an important agreement and countries like India and Pakistan have also entered into similar agreements,” he said.
Dissanayake said that they propose to sign two other MoU’s which deal with semi and unskilled labour and the Non domestic sector. The MOU on non domestic sector will focus on Nurses, Architects, IT Graduates and Quantity Surveyors.