Labor attachés to be deployed to middle east

February 10, 2009

Hoping to safeguardthe ever worsening safety and dignity of Ethiopians working abroad, the government will soon deploy labor attachés in various countries.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) will be in charge of the deployment in consultation with Foreign Affairs to work on obtaining approvals for the attachés.
Various reports have revealed brutal assaults causing a number of Ethiopians, especially young girls, disabilities and even deaths.

The abuses are often reported from Middle Eastern countries where thousands of Ethiopians go for better pay. The soon to be deployed attachés will be responsibile for ensuring rights of these workers.

Soon to be empowered by the new amendment bill introduced last Tuesday in parliament, ‘Employment Exchange Service Proclamation’, the ministry, which will require employment agencies to open branches in every country they sent recruits to, will ascertain the financial status and capability of an employer to hire.

The new bill that awaits the final say in parliament currently in recess contains protective articles for workers from paying commission fees.

The bill had first proposed to set a one month salary cap of the employees for the commission which is now zero upon request of the employees, upsetting the agencies which had welcomed the first proposal during stakeholders meetings.

International conventions which Ethiopia ratified ban any sort of commission for recruitment agencies if it is not solely used for the safety of the workers themselves. On various occasions local agencies were found charging workers after taking substantial amounts from the employers.

Back in March last year when MoLSA was about to send this bill to the Council of Ministers, Capital had quoted State Minister Zenebu Tadesse who revealed that one agency was discovered charging 9,000 birr per each employee seeking a job. The agency, Zenebu had said, was already well covered by the employer in Qatar with all the necessary fees and process expenses.

“Some agencies are asking up to 12,000 birr for workers to go to Arab countries for employment. The workers should not spend a dime other than the money required for passport and medical tests. If anyone is asked to pay, they should come and inform us,” Capital had quoted Zenebu.

Not only will the legislation relive workers from commission fees and repeated medical tests, the ministry will set the minimum wage to better protect their rights from backdoor negotiations of employers with recruiting agencies which often lead to unfair payments desperate workers may agree with. The minimum wage will be set as per the situation of each country the workers seek to find employment.

Source Capital