By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Professionals and ordinary people of Kuwait are interviewed here by the Kuwait Times to introduce to our readers and know the nature of their jobs and probably changes and challenges during pandemic. The following are excerpts from our interview with Ali Shammouh, Secretary General of Kuwait Union for the Domestic Labor Offices.
Kuwait Times: What is missing in this Ramadan compared to the past?
Ali Shammouh: I would like to congratulate everyone for the successful holy month of fasting. I thank Allah for everything! I hope Almighty Allah will have mercy on our dead, heal our patients, heal our bodies and may the Almighty shield us from all harm and bad situations.
We want this coronavirus pandemic to end in this holy month. Last year and this year’s Ramadans will be remembered as being very less interactive, because of so many restrictions and social distancing implemented by our government. But this is the situation in many countries around the world. We pray for Allah’s mercy and protection!
Kuwait Times: You are the Secretary General of Kuwait Union for the Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), also known as the Kuwaiti Federation of Home Employment Recruitment Offices (KFHERO). What are the activities of KUDLO and how does it function?
Shammouh: The nature of a union’s work is collective action, taking the opinion of the majority and holding regular meetings. The aim is to develop the recruitment market and contribute productively to remove difficulties. The union is a link between countries exporting labor to Kuwait, which is internationally recognized, as unions prepare memoranda of understanding that help and facilitate government agencies’ work, but the final decision is with the official authorities. We are dealing directly with the Public Authority for Manpower.
Kuwait Times: You are also a recruitment agency owner. How’s business so far?
Shammouh: I’m the owner of an office recruiting domestic workers for more than 30 years. I love my work, because it is a humanitarian service that contributes to assisting others, resolving problems faced by migrant workers as well as working with citizens. The role of the recruitment office is considered a social and humanitarian one, whose main goal is to please others and maintain the reputation of our country at international forums for human rights.
The friendly Republic of the Philippines is one of the main countries in the field of domestic helpers in Kuwait, as they are well-educated, fluent in English, and proficient in their work of cleaning and raising children and caring for the disabled and the elderly, with honesty and dedication to work.
I began recruitment activities in 1987 and have traveled and held meetings with responsible authorities in countries sending domestic labor. We were able to facilitate a lot of good rules and regulations for the domestic help sector. We also help in setting regulations for the benefit of the domestic labor sector. We have given suggestions that contributed to amending some laws and decisions that are in the interests of all parties.
Kuwait Times: When do you expect the arrival of newly-hired workers from the Philippines?
Shammouh: With regards to the arrival of domestic helpers to Kuwait after a pause of more than a year, I expect and hope that it will be no later than the end of May, as government agencies on both sides are working hard to hasten the resumption of the process of sending workers.