“Workers have the right to transfer or change companies so long as they have met the required years of stay with the company. In the event that companies refuse, we ask OFWs to report to Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) details of their complaints.
We often speak to sponsors and find a way to resolve the situations and in some cases, sponsors refuse, we provide Assistance to our OFWs to file cases in Shoon and put the company on watch list and that no contracts for recruitment will be processed until cases are resolved” stated Atty. Llewleyn Perez, Welfare Officer of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of the Philippine Embassy.
The statement was in response to OFWs who filed series of complaints against an international food chain who refused to provide release even after three years of required work stay in the company. Among other complaints included are discrepancy in salary, unpaid overtime, overwork, salary deduction without proper and adequate explanations, unpaid entitled airline tickets and more. “There have been several cases when the company refuse to provide release instead opt to send them home or force to work continuously on their terms” complained an OFW who work for the company.
“I never complained about the long hours of work because I know we do not have enough people, but the worst situation was when salary day comes, there were deductions without proper explanations and my meager salary ends up almost nothing. Many of the staff have not been complaining but it’s just too much” complained another OFW who work or the same international food chain.
POLO and the Assistance to Nationals Unit (ATNU) of the Philippine Embassy have already taken active step to tackle such abuses from different companies. OFWs are requested to provide details of their complaints and in turn we speak to the sponsors and try our best to find a common agreement but should they refuse amidst our justifiable request then we provide assistance to nationals to file cases against the company or sponsor in the Ministry and place the companies names and recruitment agencies in watch list. Companies, employers and recruitment agencies on the watch list will not be allowed to process any contracts thereby banning the company from recruiting from Philippines.
An official from POLO is currently in communication with the international food chain company to resolve the situation and provide release to OFWs who have been refused earlier. “We’re just hoping they comply with what they signed in the contract and allow the staff to find better opportunities” stated OFW who also work for the same company.