Hyderabad: Most of the Gulf migrants who returned to India due to Covid-19 pandemic are yet to get their end of service benefits. They are clueless about how to get back those benefits. The Gulf Joint Action Committee (JAC) is now planning to fight for justice for migrants as many are under financial distress. They are planning to launch a campaign 'Justice for Wage Theft' soon for the purpose.
Approximately 30,000 migrants are yet to receive the end of service benefits, according to activists. Speaking to this newspaper, P Ravindra, a Gulf returnee, said, "I had a contract with a construction firm for four years. During the end of the contract due to the pandemic, I returned to India. As the Indian government had imposed a lockdown, I could not return and then my visa expired. The company asked me to resign. It has been a year since I submitted my resignation yet they didn't clear my end of service benefits. I have to get around Rs 2 lakh."
Ravindra who is the sole breadwinner of the family has to take care of his wife and three children including two daughters. Now he is going for labour work to eke out a living and has a debt of Rs 6 lakhs. If he gets the benefits from the construction company where he used to work, he is planning to clear his debts.
Another returnee Goli Naresh said, "I used to work as a carpenter and returned to India due to the pandemic. My father, mother and sister are dependent on me. I had the responsibility of performing my sister's marriage. With a lot of hope, I went to the Gulf to earn money. However, my dreams have been shattered due to the pandemic. I have worked for almost four years. The company didn't give me end of service benefits which is around Rs I lakh."
"Many of the Gulf migrants returned forgoing the service benefits. Vande Bharat flights started on May 7 and brought many of them back. The company even bought them tickets and sent them back," Mandha Bheem Reddy, president of Emigrants Welfare Forum, a member of Gulf JAC said.
Many activists from south Asian countries came together and started the campaign 'Justice for Wage Theft'.
Explaining the plan of action, Reddy said, "We would like to do justice to migrants. According to the same, during the initial phase, we are planning to write a letter to the respective companies. If they still don’t consider our requests, we are planning to influence them through Indian Embassy. If those too don't work, as a last resort we will wage a legal battle. We will go to the labour courts in the Gulf countries and file a petition."...