Indian maids to be paid less after New Delhi climb down

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Dubai, June 6 (UNI) The Indian government has climbed down on a much publicised minimum wage proposal and has agreed to Kuwaiti demand of pegging it at 45 Kuwaiti Dirham (Rs 7200) in a move that will hit some 280,000 domestic workers in Sheikhdom.

The wage is much lower than Dh 1100 (Rs 11000) mandatory in UAE and the minimum wage for Indian maids in other GCC countries like Bahrain.

Kuwait has resumed stamping visas of Indian domestic workers after India agreed to adopt a work contract based on Kuwaiti model, thus ending a nearly six months of standoff, Arab Times quoted Abu Khaled, Director, Al-Behbehani Manpower Recruitment Company as saying. Of the 650,000 Indians in Kuwait, some 280,000 are employed in the domestic sector.

Interestingly in less oil-rich Bahrain, the Indian embassy was successful in pushing the minimum wage of Dinars 100 (Rs 10,000) for maids despite limited protests. The Philippines and Sri Lanka has fixed minimum wages for maids in Kuwait higher than what the Indians get.

Mr Khaled claimed the maids will continue to be paid a monthly salary of KD 45 and not KD 60 minimum wage set by the Indian government. ''The minimum wage that was announced by the Indian government is not applicable in Kuwait because the country has insurance cover in Kuwait,'' he said.

For years the Indian embassy had run a hostel for maids who run away from their employers following abuse and no pay. The current minimum wage is what a maid can get in India for a full time job, Indian expatriates said.

UNI XC PD NS1535

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