Labour committee discusses strikes

Bonny Mascarenhas Staff Reporter

A meeting was held yesterday at the Ministry of Labour to find a solution to the ongoing issue of strikes by expatriate workers from the construction sector. The meeting was chaired by Labour Undersecretary Shaikh Abdulrehman bin Abdulla Al Khalifa. Attending the meeting were representatives from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and members of a committee set up by the ministry under the Edict No. 4 for 2008 to prevent strikes. Various concerns were raised about the strikes which are illegal under the labour law. “The workers should voice their concerns in a proper manner to appropriate authorities,” said Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al Khalifa who heads the labour committee. But he added that the employers should also abide by the law and treat the workers according to the contract. Samir Nass, the head of the contractors committee of the BCCI, voiced concern about the announcement by the Indian government demanding a minimum wage of BD100 for new workers who sign contracts from March 1. “This will create disharmony in our camps as the senior workers will feel they are getting underpaid,” Nass told the Tribune. Shaikh Abdulrahman said that Bahrain did not set a minimum wage for expatriates and that the market conditions would essentially set the wage. “But companies should treat their workers in a humane manner. The ministry looks after the welfare and interest of the employer and the employee,” he said. He also announced that the Occupational Health and Safety inspectors would be visiting the labour camps of contracting firms after complaints that many were found lacking basic necessities. Speaking to the Tribune, Nass said that the BCCI contractors committee was to set up a helpline to allow workers to submit their grievances. “We intend to begin awareness campaigns to tell them about their rights as per Bahrain’s labour law. The workers will also be told how and what their living conditions should be according to law,” he said.

Article from: Bahrain Tribune Newspaper-