Kochi

Iraq returnees stage protest outside travel agency office

Workers who returned from Iraq stage a protest on Saturday evening before the recruitment agency that had offered them jobs. Photo: Special Arrangement

Workers who returned from Iraq stage a protest on Saturday evening before the recruitment agency that had offered them jobs. Photo: Special Arrangement  

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Suresh Babu, who also returned from Iraq on Friday, said the company in Iraq had his passport and that they had not been paid for the last two months.

A group of workers who returned to Kerala from Iraq on Friday staged a protest outside the office of the travel and recruitment agency at Aluva that sent them abroad.

The men had arrived at the office of M.P. Dominic Travels at Aluva on Saturday evening to discuss the terms of their travel and pay. But the office of the agency was locked and they did not respond to calls from the workers. The agitated workers then tore apart a flex board of the agency and shouted slogans against them.

“We paid about Rs. 80,000 for the visa and other documents to the agency before we left. They told us we would be working for an American company and would have all facilities,” said Santosh Gopi, who left for Iraq four months ago to work as a welder. “When we went there, we realized that the offer letter the agency gave us was fake. We were made to work in horrible conditions, were hardly given anything to eat, and the company even tried to cut our salary,” he said.

Suresh Babu, who also returned from Iraq on Friday, said the company in Iraq had his passport and that they had not been paid for the last two months. Most of the workers are from poor backgrounds and had left for Iraq to find a solution to the heavy debts they owed.

“We went to the agency’s office to talk to them reasonably. But they are not responding at all. After our protest, they called us for a meeting next week,” Mr. Gopi said.

Police said they had not registered a case as they had not received any complaints.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:41:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/iraq-returnees-stage-protest-outside-travel-agency-office/article6230302.ece

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