Paper work or paradigm shift? Saudi Arabia, India to sign labor cooperation agreement
India and Saudi Arabia will soon finalize a Standard Employment Contract to ensure a smooth relationship between the employer and the employee, according to a senior Indian minister.
The Standard Employment Contract would govern the relations between employer and employee by ensuring agreed wage, proper working hours, paid holidays, dispute settlement mechanism etc., Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi told Saudi Gazette/Okaz in an exclusive interview on the eve of the signing the Agreement on Labor Cooperation for Domestic Workers Recruitment.
Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakieh has reached New Delhi to sign the agreement on Thursday.Ravi said an official delegation will be sent to Riyadh to discuss the draft Standard Employment Contract. The labor cooperation agreement also provides for setting up of a Joint Committee to discuss and resolve issues arising from this accord.
He said India has already signed labor agreements with various other countries in the Gulf, but this is the first time that New Delhi is entering into an agreement on labor cooperation with the Kingdom.“This is also the first step toward a comprehensive agreement on labor cooperation covering the entire spectrum of Indian workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that we would start negotiating shortly,” the minister said. Ravi said that India regards Saudi Arabia as one of its most valued partners.
“I am happy to note that Indians are the most preferred community in the Kingdom due to their hard work and discipline,” he said, adding: “We always believe that a streamlined labor market in the Kingdom would benefit both the employer and the employee. I am happy that the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adopted a humanitarian approach while implementing the Nitaqat program. This is a partnership which is mutually beneficial for both the countries.”
The minister said that India is taking steps to streamline the recruitment process. To facilitate legal migration the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has established offices of the Protectorate of Emigrants in various parts of the country under the Protectorate General of Emigrants. Indian laws ensure the protection of the interest and safety of vulnerable category of workers including women domestic helpers. Such provisions include attestation of documents by missions and submission of proper employment contract, he said.
A number of Saudi businessmen welcomed the move by the Kingdom and India to sign the labor cooperation agreement.