27/07/2020

Tharoor: Mission Houses Should Record Indians’ Wage Grievances Before Repatriation

Rejimon Kuttappan
Jul 22, 2020, 3:02 PM

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Indian missions in the Arab Gulf countries should record wage grievances of Indian
workers who are leaving due to the COVID-19 outbreak as documentation is vital in
addressing the wage theft issue, Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP and former Minister of State at
the Ministry of External Affairs, said.
Tharoor was speaking at an online panel discussion on "Transitional Justice: Towards
“Building Back Better” jointly organised by Manila-based Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA),
Delhi based Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) and
Beirut-based Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants (CCRM).
“I will write to the Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar to set up a
platform at Indian missions where the workers' grievances, especially on the wage front,
can be recorded,” Tharoor said.
According to him, currently, there is no mechanism available globally to address the
wage theft issue and ensure justice for the migrant worker.

Escrow Fund
Tharoor suggested that an escrow fund be set up where six months of wages can be
deposited by the employer when the visa is approved for the worker.
“This escrow fund can help to pay the worker when pay default happens, especially
when a COVID-like crisis happens,” Tharoor said, adding that the pandemic has become
an excuse for employers in the Arab Gulf to remove migrant workers without clearing
their unpaid wages and end of service bene ts.
He added that considering the limitations of mission houses, countries of origin should
put pressure on countries of destination to ensure justice for the migrant workers. He
also said to ght against wage theft, civil society organisations should take a lead in
organising trade unions.
Wage theft, the practice of employers failing to pay workers the full wages to which they
are legally entitled, is a widespread and deep-rooted problem that directly harms
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