Sunday, August 29, 2010

FR case against state by migrant worker

Sunday Times

FR case against state by migrant worker
An aggrieved 51-year Sri Lankan migrant worker has filed probably the first-ever fundamental rights application demanding compensation from the state and the job agent for a botched job offer in Qatar .
In his application filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, the worker, H.M. Bandara of Balabowa, Dewalapola says he was duped into signing a job agreement at a lower-than-agreed rate and as a result suffered in Qatar .

He says he first signed a contract to work as a fitter/plumber for a wage of 900 Qatar Riyals with job agent, Formosa Communication Co and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment also attesting the document.

Later he was forced by the agent to sign another document – or lose the job – at a reduced rate of 600 Riyals and the job description changed to ‘waiter’. He had already paid the agent Rs 125,000 and had no option, the petition filed by his lawyer, Lakshan Dias, said.

Arriving in Qatar on January 8, 2010, he was assigned the work of a labourer and due to the nature of the hard work, he received several injuries. “There are many Sri Lankans facing the same plight,” he said, adding that he returned to Sri Lanka , about two weeks later, and complained to the bureau. He has sought relief in the form of compensation of Rs 600,000, the cancellation of the agent’s license, and for the bureau to develop a compensation formula for all workers who are in similar circumstances.

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