US contractors exploit Indian workers in Iraq

India must better protect its foreign workers

Jeanne holds a mirror to American attitudes to the foreign workers it employs in Iraq.

To me, the biggest shock in this story is that the Washington Post can lay out the details of lies and mistreatment, and then casually note that non-American foreign workers in Iraq accept wages one-tenth of what Americans would get, “saving millions of taxpayer dollars.” Have we all gotten the “we want our cheap stuff” mantra so deeply embedded that when we read about slave labor, the first thing that comes to mind is that it will keep our taxes down? [Body and Soul via Hobson’s Choice]

For India, the export of labour to the Persian Gulf region is important as a ready source of hard currency, thanks to workers’ remittances. While successive Indian governments in recent years have tried to endear themselves to the diaspora, they have done precious little to protect the rights of citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid. India must not fight shy of demanding decent treatment of its citizens anywhere. It can be done subtly, but it must be done more forcefully.

2 thoughts on “US contractors exploit Indian workers in Iraq”

  1. This is also true for migrant Bangladeshi workers in the Persian Gulf region. As I said earlier, India is in a better position to fight to establish the migrant worker’s right. Why not pressuring the governments of the countries( from which the contractors hail from) that they must ensure certain minimum benefits and working conditions for the employees. The Arab countries are least bothered because they have this class feeling inside them. Bangladesh is endowed (I wish not) with many grants from the gulf countries, so it is unlike that they are in a strong position to fight with them.

    But a colaborative effort of SAARC Countries can be initiated.

  2. Basic economics says trhat when supply goes up, prices crash. Vor the kind of work available to low wagers in the gulf, there’s supply aplenty available in the world. Raising a stink on worker’s rights at this time , I fear may b=not solve anything and may instead lead to an informal ‘ban’ on workers from the protesting counties. But yes, the Govt should at least try for collective action on part of the major contrributing nations of low wage labor to ensure a better life in any small way possible!

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