Saudi-Lanka labour agreement to be implemented soon

Saturday, 7 June 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ARAB NEWS: Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera said that the labour agreement between Riyadh and Colombo will come into effect soon following the Shoura Council’s approval of the accord on Monday. Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka signed a memorandum of understanding in early January, which seeks to protect Lankan domestic workers in the Kingdom. The agreement was signed by the Saudi Labour Minister Adel Fakeih and Minister Dilan Perera in Riyadh. Minister Perera thanked the Saudi government for its efforts and cooperation, adding that the accord would serve to resolve several issues between employers and domestic workers. He said the Saudi and Sri Lankan officials agreed to sign the agreement during the two-day Asia-Gulf States Regional Dialogue on standard terms of employment for migrant domestic workers in Colombo. Saudi Deputy Minister for Customer Services and Labour Relations Ziyad Al-Sayigh held discussions with Sri Lankan labour officials on the sidelines of the meeting. Representatives from 20 countries including countries in the Middle East attended the dialogue, which was sponsored by the UN Women and the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare. The Minister described the accord as a government-to-government accord, pointing out that under the new agreement, the original passports of domestic workers will be in their possession and their salaries will be remitted to their designated banks. “In my view, this will be the most protective mechanism for domestic workers in the entire Gulf region,” Perera said. There are some 1.7 million Sri Lankans working overseas. “Under the pact, the domestic workers can be assured safety as well as decent and less problematic working environments,” he noted, adding that the agreement would also further strengthen bilateral labour relations. Following the signing of the agreement, Fakeih issued a statement describing the agreement as an “important step” which protects both the employer and the employee. He also said that the agreement would pave the way for more workers to come to the Kingdom since it provides them adequate security.