Ban on Domestic Workers to Saudi and Qatar Should Stay
Our attention is drawn to an article in The Star Newspaper, dated 10th November, 2017, Page 16, on the above subject. The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour Hon. Phyllis Kandie is allowing Kenyans to be enslaved, tortured and killed in the Gulf Countries by her decision to lift the ban on Domestic Workers to Saudi and Qatar in two weeks time. Her decision to lift the 2014 ban means bad for the Kenyan Domestic Workers and it is ill advised. Central Trade Union Organization Kenya, COTU (K) was not consulted as well as other social partners. The Cabinet Secretary should understand that the ban was put in place after Kenyans suffered and many died in the Middle East.
The 930 Recruiting Agencies that were banned in 2014 after reports of abuses increased have not been vetted freshly. The Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Kandie should let Kenyans know who approved the list of Accredited Recruitment Agencies whose names have been circulated to all embassies illegally.
The Government Labour Attaché who are purported to be in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The United Arabs Emirates and The State of Qatar some have not reported. In addition, the Bilateral Labour Agreements with Oman, Lebanon and Jordan are yet to be concluded. Thus the Cabinet Secretary is lying to Kenyans and her decision is suspect of corruption and must be investigated.
Majority of African Countries have banned their citizens from working in these Gulf Countries, Kenya should follow suit.Further the Ministry of Labour has not provided an improvement report on the terms, conditions and services of workers in Saudi and Qatar. It has also not conducted any research on the violent attacks and killings of Domestic Workers.
The Inter-Ministerial Vetting Committee that was put in place for vetting has no representation by Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and The Central Organisation of Trade Unions, Kenya (COTU, K). This means that the Ministry of Labour is making shoddy decisions based on corruption other than genuine policy. The ban should not be lifted until proper structures are put in place.
Francis Atwoli, NOM (DZA), EBS, MBS