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Mauritius Moves to Protect Foreign Workers

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar), 20 April 2001

Port Louis, Mauritius - Mauritius Labour and Industrial Relations minister Showkatally Soodhun Friday announced the creation of a special unit to take care of foreign workers in the island.

Some 25 000 foreigners from China, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Madagascar are presently employed in Mauritian textile factories.

"Too many foreign workers have become victims of recruiting agencies who are swindlers, falling prey to them and suffering the consequences when they reach Mauritius to take up employment", Soodhun said.

According to the minister, the foreigners are promised attractive salaries and other fringe benefits by recruiting agencies in their country to lure them, against payment of huge sums of money.

"Once on the island, they find that they have been deceived and that the money they paid to get the job was not worth it," Soodhun said.

The minister indicated the special squad would be composed of six labour inspectors.

Its task would be to make surprise checks on sites where foreigners are employed and see to it that the conditions of their employment are respected.

Soodhun said the workers would also be informed on their rights and conditions of work, and about labour laws in Mauritius.