Telangana demands rollback of wage cut for Gulf workers

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K. Kavitha
K. Kavitha

The Telangana government has demanded the immediate rollback of the latest notifications by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), lowering the Minimum Referral Wages (MRW) of Indian labour in the Gulf countries by 30-50 per cent.

During an interaction with members of NRI associations here on Wednesday, Member of Telangana Legislative Council K. Kavitha made a strong demand for rolling back the ‘regressive’ order.

She stated that about 90 lakh migrants from across the country are currently working in the Gulf countries and among these a majority belong to the states of Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.

Kavitha, who is the daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, said that MEA support is very limited for the immigrants who already work in harsh conditions, even in comparison to smaller countries like the Philippines.

She said that this move will give the respective countries a reason to further reduce the current and existing wages of the migrants.

She also slammed the BJP for the ‘unruly’ notification and said that the country already lags behind in having a strong immigrant policy. The new notification will only add to the troubles of the immigrants.

Kavitha added that the notification also opens the possibility of massive job loss, loss of capital and employment at forced minimum wages.

Earlier, NRI Affairs Minister K.T. Rama Rao urged Union Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar to reconsider the notification and address the fears expressed by migrant workers from Telangana working in the Gulf countries.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Rama Rao said the recent circulars were a cause of huge concern as the wages of lakhs of Telangana migrant workers in the Gulf countries will get adversely impacted.

“Already there is considerable distress among all migrant workers due to wage losses as a result of Covid-19 and lockdowns. I request you to use your good offices to ensure that our migrant workers’ interests are protected. Urge you to take up the matter at the earliest,” he tweeted, tagging Jaishankar.

The new move is likely to impact more than seven lakh Telangana workers in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf countries.

The Overseas Employment and Protector General of Emigrants Division in the Ministry of External Affairs issued two separate circulars on September 8 and 21. The MEA fixed MRW at $200 for workers going to Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, and $245 for Kuwait and $324 for Saudi Arabia.

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