Hasina Slams ‘Wage Theft’ of Migrant Workers

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina Wazed endorses Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) campaign to get justice for migrant workers across the world … writes Rejimon Kuttappan

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and its partners were commended by Shiekh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, for raising voices against the non-payment of migrant workers’ wages.

“I endorse the MFA’s demand that the international community develops appropriate instruments to ensure that the employers settle the migrants’ rightful claims,” the prime minister said in a statement.

The prime minister’s message was read at an ongoing Conference on Access to Justice for Migrant Workers in Malaysia.

Conference on Access to Justice for Migrant Workers in Malaysia.

In her message, she revealed that on average, US$2119 was lost by Bangladeshi returnees from Gulf.  According to MFA, the challenges to accessing justice occur across the spectrum of areas and processes of seeking justice.

“A particular point we need to consider when looking at cases of migrant workers are that the challenges are faced regardless of their status as documented/undocumented, low-skilled or high-skilled, gender, and nationality,” MFA added.

Wage theft refers to the unlawful intentional under- or non-payment of an employee’s wages or entitlements by their employer or recruitment agency. It can take a variety of forms ranging from unauthorized deductions from employee’s wages to the underpayment or delayed payment of wages, overtime, termination pay, and entitlements such as sick leave and annual leave – or no payment at all.

The MFA adds that in “building back better”, it is paramount that we inspect these systemic flaws in labor migration governance such as in access to justice for migrant workers, otherwise we run the risk of being compliant with the abusive treatment of migrant workers.

Ryszard-Cholewinski-Senior-Migration-Specialist-ILO-Regional-office-from the-Arab-states

“Governments should take responsibility for ensuring migrant workers have access to speedy, reliable, and portable justice mechanisms. Workers should not be made to wait years to receive justice,” the MFA added.

The conference is organized by MFA, the Malaysia Bar Council, and Our Journey, supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), through its Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST).

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