UAE recalls ambassador over work exploitation case

An ambassador at the centre of a worker exploitation case which resulted in an Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing last week has been recalled.

UAE recalls ambassador over work exploitation case

It has emerged that Ambassador Khalid Nasser Rashid Lootah has been recalled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates following the controversy, in which three Filipino women said they had worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week, for as little as €170 per month.

At a tribunal hearing last week, the panel chairman said the conditions in which the women had been working were “appalling”.

Mr Lootah and his wife, Mehra Metad Alghubaisi, were also ordered to pay each of the women €80,000 each.

It was reported yesterday that the UAE foreign ministry had said it was treating the case seriously and had recalled the ambassador, pending an investigation.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan wrote to the UAE following last week’s tribunal verdict to express his concern.

The three Filipino women — Myra Calderon, Laylanie Laporga, and Jennifer Villaranda — had worked at the embassy on Pembroke Rd, Dublin.

The tribunal heard that the women felt like slaves while working for the ambassador.

Following the ruling, Ms Villaranda said: “I am delighted with this outcome. The chairperson of the tribunal was appalled by the level of exploitation we suffered.

“We were constantly on call, our passports were taken, and we never had a day off.”

The Migrant Rights Centre welcomed the ruling but said it was essential that Ambassador Lootah not be allowed to utilise diplomatic immunity.

It also called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure the women receive the money awarded to them by the ruling.

The department said it was following developments in the case and that it hoped for a satisfactory resolution.

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