First the good news: Filipinos in Dubai are not likely to lose their jobs just yet. Then the bad news: Filipinos in Dubai are not likely to receive a Christmas bonus.
While massive layoffs in Dubai are not imminent, delayed payments and reduced work hours have already been felt by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the debt-hit emirate, the Labor department said.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said most OFWs’ wages in Dubai are delayed by one to two months but quelled fears of a repeat of the massive layoffs similar to the onset of the US-led economic crisis last year.
“Some might not get their Christmas bonus,” Roque told GMANews.TV during the 76th anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Tuesday. “They won’t lose jobs yet, their income would just be lessened.”
The so-called Dubai debt crisis took place after a United Arab Emirates (UAE) investment company deferred debt payments for six months. This stalled the ongoing development of Dubai’s artificial islands and other construction projects.
Worries arose that Filipinos working in construction would be laid off due to the crisis.
But Roque said that except for architects and engineers, only a small percentage of the 250,000 documented and undocumented Filipinos working in the glittering Arab city are engaged in construction. Most Filipinos in the emirate are in hotels, restaurants, and IT companies.
In case OFWs do lose their jobs in Dubai, Roque assured the government would be able to secure other employment for them in neighboring Gulf countries. [See: DOLE, OWWA to provide aid to Dubai-based OFWs]
“We still have between 60,000 and 70,000 unfilled job vacancies in Qatar alone,” Roque said.
But Julius Cainglet of the Federation of Free Workers said the layoffs in Dubai had already begun even in sectors deemed by the DOLE chief as safe for Pinoys.
“My friend who went to Dubai six months ago is already back in the country. He is from the IT sector. Layoffs are already happening,” Cainglet told GMANews.TV.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) feared that the job losses may cut OFW remittances by as much as $300 million. Next to Saudi Arabia, where some two million Filipinos work, the UAE is the Philippines’ biggest source of remittances in the Middle East.
But the TUCP admitted that remittances are expected to grow by $500 million to $1 billion to an unprecedented $17 billion this year after OFWs are seen to send more cash home to assist their families whose houses have been damaged by typhoons. – RSJ, GMANews.TV