Kerala diaspora worried as Oman mulls cutting retirement benefits


Thiruvananthapuram, June 1 Numerous Keralaites working in the government sector in Oman are a worried lot, for more than one reason.

Not only has Oman taken rapid steps in nationalising the work force in the government sector by replacing the large number of Keralite diaspora with its own nationals, but there are now reports that retirement benefits are also going to be culled, which has sent shockwaves, especially among the nursing community.

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Oman has a huge number of nurses from Kerala and the speculated double blow has not gone down well with the Keralite community.

According to a few of the nurses, the news that is spreading is even though their appointment letter clearly states that at the end of every year of completed service, one month's salary will be paid as end of service benefits, but the new rule which is now going to be implemented states that irrespective of the number of total years of service, the maximum number of years would be restricted to 12. The latest is that this is likely to be further curbed to a maximum of just six years.

A nurse, who completes a quarter of a century in service when she retires, until now used to get a minimum of Rs 5 million and if the new rules are going to be implemented, it would come down to just Rs 1.2 million.

A deeply saddened nursing community there is worried that if they decide to go to the court, would it be detrimental to them in any respect.

"Will the Indian government come to our rescue as many are scared to take legal steps for fear of any action. Do not know what will happen, as this is all what will be there for our future when we finally return to our home state," one of the nurses said.

According to studies, there are about two lakh Keralites in Oman and a huge majority of them work in the government sector which includes a sizeable working force in the medical sector.