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Pinoy Abroad

67 of 96 distressed OFWs from Poland arrive home

May 19, 2009 5:47pm
MANILA, Philippines - A total of 67 out of the 96 Filipino factory workers who complained in Poland of unfair working conditions have returned home, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The DFA reported that the latest batch of Filipinos – three OFWs – arrived in Manila last May 17.

“Upon learning of the work stoppage, the DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) instructed the Philippine Embassy in Budapest , Hungary to look into the condition of the Filipino factory workers," the DFA said in a statement.

Senator Manuel Villar sought assistance for the workers who were “lumped together" in a glass-making company in Aleksandrow Lodzki , Poland .

The OFWs, through a video phone call, told Villar that they were promised “good employment" by their agency in Manila .

But instead of the US$500 to $750 or about P24,000 to P36,000 monthly pay stipulated in their contracts, they were paid the equivalent of P12,000 to P14,000. [See: Help urged for 96 distressed OFWs in Poland ]

The OFWs left their factory accommodations in Lodz, Poland to protest the sharp decrease in their salaries following the sharp depreciation of the Polish currency zloty against the US dollar, the DFA said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy immediately dispatched Consul Armando Comia to Lodz and make representations with Polish authorities including the Mayor and immigration officials.

Comia also talked to church leaders who allowed the Filipinos to stay at the “Center for Help and Family" and provided them daily sustenance, the DFA added.

Upon arrival at the center, the Filipinos were met by officials of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) who brought the repatriation tickets with them, for those workers who expressed wish to go home.

"Some workers opted to remain at the glass factory to continue working in anticipation of an improvement in the exchange rate between the Polish zloty and the US dollar," the DFA said.

The workers’ salaries were pegged in the Polish currency. Prior to its depreciation, the Filipino workers were receiving salaries equivalent to $500 (roughly P23,500) a month. - Mark Joseph H. Ubalde, GMANews.TV
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