Strict action against recruiters who mislead: diplomat

September 21st, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 21 (IANS) Strict action will be taken against recruiting agents in India who mislead workers planning to come to Bahrain with false promises of jobs and salaries, said Balkrishna Shetty, India’s ambassador to that Gulf nation.The ambassador issued the warning following a series of complaints by Indian workers regarding irregularities in wage payments and job profiles at a monthly open house in the embassy.

“These (recruiting) agents are destroying the lives of the workers who come here under the impression that they will be earning high salaries,” the Bahrain Tribune quoted Shetty as saying.

“The government will take appropriate action (against) erring recruiters based on enquiries,” he said.

There are around 290,000 expatriate Indians in Bahrain, and a large number of them are engaged as contract labour in that country’s booming construction industry.

The Indian government had cancelled the licences of 27 recruiting agents last year following complaints of irregularities against them.

According to the Tribune report, the Bahrain embassy received a complaint against a recruiting agent in India who allegedly made false promises to workers before sending them to Bahrain.

“He (the agent) told us that we would be paid a monthly wage of 70 Bahraini dinars ($185.2). But instead we are being paid BD50 ($132.3) and deductions are being made from this for visa fees,” one of the victimised workers told the embassy.

The worker added that he did not sign any contract in India as he was told that a contract was ready for him in Bahrain.

“But till date we have not signed any agreement,” he said.

The ambassador said that though the lack of an agreement made things difficult, the mission would nevertheless look into the matter.

Another worker complained that he was brought to Bahrain for a job as an engineer but was instead made to work as a mason.

He alleged that though he had given his resignation Aug 15 this year, two months after coming to Bahrain, the company refused to let him go and was withholding his passport pending payment of BD1,000 ($2,646.2) from him.

“They have threatened to blacklist me and ensure that I will not be able to leave the kingdom,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, another group of Indian workers in a construction company alleged that they have been not been paid their salaries regularly over the last two years.

“We get paid only after four or five months every time,” one of them told the newspaper.

Embassy officials who approached the company were reportedly told that the company was facing some financial difficulties and that the salary arrears of the workers would be cleared soon.

After hearing the complaint, ambassador Shetty said that his mission would take up the issue with Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA).

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