Workers of another Bahraini firm go on strike

March 9th, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, March 9 (IANS) Around 1,300 workers, both locals and expatriates, of a leading Bahraini construction firm have gone on strike to demand better wages - the 11th such strike to hit the country in the last five weeks. The workers of the Haji Hassan Group refused to get to work at 8 a.m. Saturday from their tow labour camps in Salmabad.

“We are demanding for our salaries to be revised until which we will not resume duty,” workers’ trade union representative Abdulla Mirza told the Gulf Daily News.

The strikers included around 1,120 expatriate workers and over 180 Bahrainis.

“There are nearly 1,300 of us and all are on strike, both Bahrainis and expatriates,” Mirza said.

“Of this, nearly 180 are Bahrainis but I represent both the groups. The kingdom’s law itself says that there should not be any discrimination between Bahrainis and expatriates.”

He said his union was demanding pay hikes for both Bahraini and expatriate workers in the company.

While Bahraini staff, working as drivers and salesmen, receive around 200 Bahraini dinars ($432) plus allowances as salary, expatriate unskilled and semi-skilled workers receive a basic salary ranging from BD50 to BD70.

“Our demand is very simple. The salaries of the Bahrainis should be raised by 2.5 percent every year starting from this year and the expatriate workers’ salaries by BD25,” Mirza was quoted as saying.

“The company had earlier promised to raise Bahrainis’ salaries by 2.5 percent from January but nothing happened, even after waiting for more than two months.”

A large number of the 275,000 expatriate Indians in Bahrain work in the booming construction industry of the Gulf nation.

According to reports, the strikes have come in the wake of steep inflation in the country and devaluation of the dollar-pegged local currency and the appreciation of the Indian rupee.

Bahraini authorities and industry officials have taken a series of steps, including setting up the first grievance redressal cell within the private sector, to deal with labour unrest.

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