WPS alone cannot solve expat workers’ problems

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Implementation of the Wage Protection System (WPS) is a much-needed and welcome step, but it alone cannot solve the problems faced by workers, feel many residents.

While the WPS has been put in place to ensure timely payment of salaries every month, workers say their concerns go well beyond the scope of the newly introduced system, a report on Gulf Times says.

A number of companies have already moved to the WPS and many others are in the process of doing so. The system came into effect last month.

No solution to salary arrears

Workers, particularly those employed in small and medium private firms, say they expect to get their salaries on time from now, but are not so hopeful when it comes to receiving arrears – which sometimes run into months.

Employers taking workers for a ride by not honouring employment contracts is another major concern for some of them.

Interactions with some aggrieved workers reveal that there are companies that have not paid staff salaries for five months or longer. One of them argued, “Under the WPS, these firms have to pay salaries on time now. But what about the arrears – how can these companies be compelled to pay the salaries that were due to employees before the WPS came into effect?”

“Issues such as arrears are still to be settled,’’ said a worker who did not receive any pay for three months before his employer joined the WPS network.

Fear of employers’ wrath

While some embassies have received a number of such complaints from affected workers, many employees are unable to do so for fear of inviting the wrath of their employers.

However, employees also feel that even if they leave, the company will bring new recruits in their place and the cycle will continue unless stringent action is taken against them. “These companies stand to gain through such practices,” said a worker.

While calling upon the authorities to rein in such companies, workers have sought the MoLSA’s intervention to monitor their activities and find effective solutions to issues such as non-payment for months as well as dishonouring of contracts.

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