Saudization shows dangers of labor export policy
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“The threat of massive layoffs that is being faced by around 1.4 million OFWs in Saudi Arabia is a clear effect of the previous administrations’ faulty employment policies which are being continued by the current Aquino regime. What’s happening in Saudi Arabia is part of a global trend in which countries are incresingly prioritizing their locals for employment and shows the dangers of the government’s labor export policy.”
This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno in response to a revelation made by a senior official of the Department of Foreign Affairs that around 150,000 mid-level Filipino professionals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are at risk of losing their jobs because of the “Saudization” policy.
KMU said that the policy will worsen the already-sorry state of employment in the country.
“We have long been calling for the junking of the government’s labor export policy and the implementation of a strategic employment plan based on developing national industries and carrying out genuine agrarian reform. The government, however has been keeping the country unindustrialized and keeping the country’s lands in the hands of a few landowning families,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“Only a government policy of nationalist industrialization and genuine agrarian reform will solve the country’s chronic unemployment problem. The government, however, has refused to take this path and remains stubborn in begging investors, especially foreign ones, to employ Filipino workers – whose wages, job security and rights are kept at a minimum,” he added.
The Saudi government had announced on June 11 that it would strictly implement the Saudization program to provide employment opportunities for jobless Saudi nationals.
“Because the global economic crisis is worsening unemployment and poverty even in the richest countries, other countries will surely prioritize their nationals for employment. With around 1.4 million Filipino migrant workers in Saudi who may suffer the impact of Saudization, we are expecting a major blow to the country’s economy,” said Soluta.
KMU also slammed the Aquino government’s response to the Saudi employment crisis.
“Even in the face of the threat of a more severe unemployment crisis, the Aquino government is only planning to ‘mitigate’ the impact of the Saudization program or to search for other labor markets to absorb workers who will be laid off. We are talking about 1.4 million Filipino migrant workers and we are not hearing the response that we want to hear from the Aquino government,” Soluta ended.
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