| 17.6°C Dublin

Women worked 15 hours a day for just €170 a month

Close

Laylanie Loparga and Jennifer Loparga. The domestic workers were awarded €240,000 by Employment Appeals Tribunal against the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates for breaches of employment rights.

Laylanie Loparga and Jennifer Loparga. The domestic workers were awarded €240,000 by Employment Appeals Tribunal against the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates for breaches of employment rights.

Laylanie Loparga and Jennifer Loparga. The domestic workers were awarded €240,000 by Employment Appeals Tribunal against the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates for breaches of employment rights.

A Filipino woman who worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week, for €170 a month, was warned her salary would be reduced if she "made a mistake."

In total, three women - employed by a diplomatic family based in Ireland - have been awarded €240,000 in compensation.

The women were subjected to horrific working conditions at the Dublin residence of the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Ireland.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing heard they were hired through an agency which has since closed down.

Myra Calderon, Laylanie Lapanga and Jennifer Villaranda, took an unfair dismissal claim against the UAE Ambassador, Khalid Nasser Rashed Lootah, and his wife Mehra Metad Alghubaisi.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms Villaranda said they were responsible for housework and childminding duties.

The women shared a room with two beds and their employers retained their passports.

This meant two of the three claimants had to share a bed between them. The three women were paid a total of $500 or around €290 in cash between April and June 2011. From June 2011 to December 2011, they were each paid €170 per month - less than €2 an hour.

"I'd make lunches after I got up at 6am, and start to clean when they all left.

"I did that until 11am, and when the children got home from school at 1.30pm, I'd prepare their lunch," she explained.

Clean-up

"I minded the children until 6pm, at which time I'd start to prepare the dinner.

"I'd then do a clean-up and the children would have a shower, before I'd put them to bed."

She would then come downstairs and was forced to "wait" until the ambassador and his wife decided to go to bed.

"I was on call until then.

"Sometimes they didn't go to bed until 12.30am," she added.

Speaking through an interpreter, Jennifer said she was given 45 minutes break each day - 15 minutes for her breakfast, lunch and dinner.

She was never given any time off.

"It was a very controlling situation. If we wanted phone credit, we had to ask the ambassador's wife for permission.

"They often threatened to reduce my salary if I made a mistake.

"We always ate after everyone else had eaten. We had whatever was left over from what we had made them for dinner."

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, which has been working with the women, urged the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade to ensure the ambassador pays the compensation.

"We classify this case as human trafficking and the levels of exploitation are quite unbelievable."

A department spokesperson said while it could not comment on individual cases, it is the duty of those enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the host country, including labour law.

Attempts to contact the UAE ambassador were unsuccessful.

Irish Independent