Sunday, August 23, 2009

Warning Set Against Agency That Offer Jobs in Poland

A recruitment agency that offers jobs for Filipino workers in Poland is now facing illegal recruitment
charges for allegedly charging excessive placement fees and contract substitution.

The complaints came from applicants deployed by Eureka Personnel Management Services. This prompted Vice President Noli de Castro to issue a warning to all aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that wants to work in Poland through the recruitment agency, Eureka. After talking to the complainants, De Castro immediately ordered the Task Force Against Illegal Recruiters (Tfair), to file criminal charges against the said agency.

In his radio program, De Castro said, “Sana ‘yung mga kababayan natin diyan baka kayo’y nag-apply sa Eureka papuntang Poland, ay teka muna ho, pigilan muna ninyo dahil baka mapasama kayo sa naging experience ng ating kababayan na walang nangyari sa kanilang binayaran, walang nangyari sa kanilang trabahong naghihintay sa Poland."

Based on the story of one victim, Eureka recruited workers for a glass-making company in Aleksandrow Lodzki, Poland. They learned about the vacancy through friends and the Internet.

The job offer was able to attract many applicants because the salary per month ranges from USD500 to USD750 or about Php24,000 to Php36,000. It also comes with free food and lodging.

The OFW narrated to De Castro, “Pagkatapos po nun, siyempre po nung natanggap namin iyon naisip namin Europe ho iyon, pagkakataon, opportunity.”

However after the agency demands almost Php50,000 for placement fee, the hopeful workers learned that their monthly wage had been changed to USD346.66 or about Php16,000. The workers discovered this after inquiring with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

One OFW said, “Malayo ho sa inalok samen, dahil kung nalaman po namin, hindi na ho naming papatusin."

But since the workers have already paid a huge sum of money, the workers are left with no choice but still go to Poland to work. Another thing is that the agency made them sign a contract saying that if they back out of the job offer, they would have to pay Php 20,000 as fine.

The OFW said, “Kaya no choice kami, sabi naming baka nga formality lang, nagastusan na kami, pumayag na rin kami.”

But that is not the end of it all. Upon arriving in Poland, the OFWs were again asked to sign another contract that further lowered their wages to Php 12,000 - Php 14,000.They were also not given a proper accommodation because they were housed in a container van even if it was it was winter time in Poland during that time. They were fed with hard bread, porridge and even stale rice.

Another OFW said, “Ang accommodation namin ay container van, nilagyan lang nila ng walling, may heater po kami pero hindi katulad nung normal, hindi pa naman ho kami sanay sa lamig.”

The difficulties they experienced forced 21 of the 96 OFWs to go to the Philippine Consulate in Warsaw, Poland and seek for assistance. They also sent e-mails to Senator Manuel Villar and De Castro. Their efforts were not wasted because the Philippine Embassy helped them escape from their employer.

Of the 96 workers that Eureka recruited, 67 had chosen to return to the country. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) financed their repatriation tickets. The rest of the workers chose to stay in Poland to work.

Eureka filed a breach of contract to the workers who returned to the country. One of them commented, "Kami na nga ang nawalan ng kwarta, gusto pa kaming idiin.”

De Castro assured the victims that TFAir will help them fight the recruitment agency, but said that they need the cooperation of the workers.

The Eureka Placement Agency is currently suspended by POEA and so cannot process documents for OFWs.

No comments: