Algerian employers want to hire more OFWs
Employers in Algeria wants to hire more overseas Filipino workers, the Department of Labor and Employment said in a news release.
DoLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Tripoli, Libya has recently checked on the working places of three companies in Algeria, namely, Cojaal, Samsung, and Doodsal, which have signified intention of hiring more OFWs for their various projects.
“I also looked into the working and living conditions of the existing OFWs in these companies, including those that have been deployed to Daewoo E&C, another Algerian employer,” Mustafa said in his report.
Mustafa, together with Philippine embassy third secretary and vice consul Jose Garcia III, went to Annabah, a province east of Algiers and a few hundred kilometers west of the Tunisian border, to meet with the management of Mitac, the Japanese international firm which contracted with the Algerian National Agency for Highways the already completed 220-km road construction project through Cojaal, a consortium of five Japanese companies, namely, Kajima, Taichi, Nishimachu, Hajana, and Ituchu.
He said Cojaal is now starting construction of another 17-kilometer superhighway which aims to connect Annabah to the Tunisian border.
The Polo chief said most workers of Mitac-Cojaal who completed the 220-km Constantine project have been transferred to Camp 7, a project site which has two satellite worksites that need more highly skilled workers.
He explained that at the Cojaal Satellite No. 3, he saw the working and living conditions of the OFWs and found the camp, as well as the worksite, to be satisfactory. “The OFWs there were highly regarded by the Cojaal management as evidenced by the ‘zero’ complaints as to date,” he said.
Mustafa reported that in this worksite, food, and accommodation were not only suitable, but was also quite adequate as each room has four beds, with the building having common entertainment and several comfort rooms. He noted that the whole camp is also provided with a wi-fi system which enables the workers to communicate easily with their families at home.
The labor attaché said the workers were very happy with the company’s remittance system as it guaranteed pay every 16th of the succeeding month, with the monies being sent in three ways depending on the preference of the workers, specifically:
* Remittance is sent 100 percent to the personal account of the spouse/family in the Philippines;
* Remittance is sent to the Philippines in two separate accounts (worker and spouse/family) and worker has to decide on the percentage for each; and
* A certain percentage (not more than 20 percent) shall be retained in Algeria for the worker and the rest to be remitted to the Philippines.
In all these instances, Mustafa said the company shoulders whatever charges are there relative to the transaction and there had been no complaints whatsoever.
At the Cojaal Satellite No. 2, Mustafa reported that more than 400 workers were in the worksite.
“About 100 of them attended a tripartite dialogue we conducted together with management during our visit,” he said.
The Polo chief said most of the questions raised during the dialogue centered on the workers’ deploying agencies, as the 400 OFWs were actually deployed by four agencies, namely, HRD, Camox Philippines, Asia Contract, and WERR.
Of the four agencies, only the employment contracts of 20 OFWs deployed by WERR were not verified by Polo, prompting the post to investigate the matter, Mustafa said.
He also said that the transfer of the Cojaal workers deployed by Asia Contract to a different client posed a concern to the workers because the transfer might entail several immigration documentary requirements and cause the delay in their repatriation when they finish their contracts.
Mustafa also inspected Samsung Company Ltd., the Korean company which won a contract to build a $5 billion “liquid and gas project” (L&G Project) at Schikda, about two hours by land travel from Annabah.
According to the Polo chief, the company’s general manager intimated to him during the meeting the company’s plan to hire an initial 20 professional and highly skilled oil and gas workers, adding that he took the opportunity to discuss with management the prospects of employing a greater number of Filipino workers.
The labor attaché said Doodsal Company, an Indian company, is also involved in Algeria’s L&G project, particularly in Schikda, and is currently employing more than 100 Filipinos who also enjoy suitable and adequate food and living accommodations.
In his meeting with the human resource manager of Doodsal, accompanied by a Filipino consultant, Mustafa said he mentioned the workers’ concern that the Algerian Labor Law does not offer any benefit (end-of-service or gratuities) to foreign workers who have completed their contracts, unlike in many Middle East countries.
Mustafa recommended to management that a better alternative would be to offer incentives to workers in whatever form in lieu of these benefits
Philippine Daily Inquirer