Foreign workers or expatriates in United Arab Emirates (UAE) particularly in Dubai are worried about loosing their jobs or get salary reductions after reported news that Dubai is seeking a six-month moratorium on debt payment worth $60 billion which lead the city into financial crisis.
Some multi-national companies and industries were implementing measures that might change the salaries of employees or might lead to lay-offs if the crisis would continue.
There are some thousands of foreign workers in Dubai mostly composed of Pakistanis, Indonesians, British and Filipinos.
“Many multi- and transnational companies are now implementing measures to lower operational costs and many are implementing salary reduction schemes. Filipinos have no option but to agree to lower salaries rather than be sent home with no job at all,” said Migrante-UAE, an Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) organization in UAE.
However, Dubai-based Migrante-UAE secretary general Nhel Morona said there was no news of layoffs yet.
He said the crisis in Dubai actually started last year when multinational companies in the emirate began feeling the effects of the global economic downturn.
“The government of the UAE, particularly Dubai, can no longer hide this fact because international investors are talking and many foreign capitalists have pulled out their investments,” he said.
Overseas Filipino Workers in Dubai is asking for government’s assistance in case the problem in Dubai continues. Based on the records of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) there are an approximately 250,000 OFWs working in Dubai who are feared to loose jobs.
On the other hand, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center is calling out the attention of the government and also promised to give assistance to the Filipinos in Dubai.
According to Ople Center president Susan Ople the contingency plan should include viable reintegration and employment alternatives for workers who face immediate termination.
“We are of course hoping the debt crisis will soon be over but given the size of the Filipino community in Dubai, we must be prepared for any eventuality,” she added.
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona remind all Dubai-based OFWs to tighten their belts and try to manage to look for another way out amid the crisis.
“The Dubai-based OFWs are in a situation where only those emotionally and physically fit are most likely to survive. We fear that foreign employers will use the Dubai crisis to justify lowering the salaries of OFWs despite existing employment contracts,” Monterona said.