Gratuity row: Medics visit Indian embassy in Oman

Business Wednesday 17/August/2016 21:36 PM
By: Times News Service
Gratuity row: Medics visit Indian embassy in Oman

Muscat: Hundreds of expat government sector medical staff who have been removed from service and handed reduced gratuity payments have taken their case to the Indian embassy.
Almost 500 expatriate medical staff with government service ranging between 20 and 30 years were told to leave in June this year and their final day in Oman is August 31.
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They have been told to take a 12-year gratuity payment even though they have worked for more than 25 years in Oman.
This has left many in the lurch as, banking on the gratuity money, they had many plans and loans.
Indra Mani Pandey, the Indian ambassador to Oman, said: “The embassy has been working in close cooperation and coordination with the concerned authorities of the government of Oman to address the grievances of Indian professionals and workers brought to the attention of the embassy.”
Many who took loans from local banks hoping to get full service gratuity to meet family needs are now struggling to repay as banks have issued notices.
“I worked for 29 years. I was told to resign. I am ready for that and did it also. But I got the notice that I will get gratuity equivalent only for 12 years. I have submitted a plea to my higher officials, have sent a request to Indian government seeking intervention and also a plea with the Indian embassy in Oman,” a nurse told Times of Oman on condition of anonymity.
According to medical staff, up until June 2016, everyone who was told to retire or was retiring voluntarily was supposed to receive full service benefits.
However, they claimed that those who were told to leave after June are not getting full service benefits in line with their service.
“In 1994 a decision came that everyone will get full service benefits. Some of the hospital nurses got it signed. But unfortunately many didn’t get it signed,” one nurse added.
“As August 31 is my last date in Oman, I don’t know what will happen. I am running pillar to post to get my gratuity,” the nurse said, adding that as she was eligible for OMR23,000 as gratuity, she had taken OMR20,000 loan from a local bank and now is worried about how she will repay it.
Expat doctors who talked to Times of Oman said that they are confused as to what gratuity they will get.
“Some are getting full and some are not. It is a worrisome situation. Many had to leave with slashed gratuity,” one medic said.
The Ministry of Health has declined to comment on the issue.
On Wednesday, Times of Oman reported that in private sector employers are forcing expatriate workers to give up their end of service payments in return for No-Objection Certificates(NOC).
Meanwhile, Ashley Williams Gois, Regional Coordinator of the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), a regional network of migrants' organizations, told Times of Oman that workers in the public sector should be given their full entitlement due to them as first promised in their contract or else the state becomes complicit in wage and benefits theft.
“Revoking benefits after an initial signed contractual agreement would make the state complicit in the practice of contract substitution, a practice strongly frowned up as it leaves the worker with no real choice except to take it or leave it. Changes in a contract should be negotiated and mutually agreed upon,” Williams added.