Bahrain to deport foreign workers who go on strike

February 28th, 2008 - 11:41 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, Feb 28 (IANS) Bahrain will immediately deport foreign workers who go on strike and the employer will be issued new visas to replace the visas of those deported. “A visa to replace him (the striking worker) will be given directly to the contractor to ensure that his work is not affected, to allow him to bring a replacement as soon as possible,” Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s labour ministry undersecretary, told the Gulf Daily News.

He added that the country has no plans to introduce a minimum wage policy for its overseas workers.

Bahrain’s booming construction industry was hit this month by a spate of strikes by foreign workers, many of them Indians, demanding better wages and living and working conditions.

The Indian embassy had recently issued a notification fixing the minimum wage limit for unskilled Indian workers at 100 Bahraini dinars ($266) a month from March 1.

“Some labourers misunderstood those remarks on the new salary scheme, which will be effective from next month, when new contracts come into force,” Shaikh Abdulrahman said.

A large number of the 275,000 expatriate Indians are engaged as contract labour in the Gulf nation’s construction industry.

“The workers should voice their concerns in a proper manner to appropriate authorities,” the labour ministry undersecretary said.

Samir Nass, the head of the contractors committee of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), expressed concern over the wage announcement by India.

“This will create disharmony in our camps as the senior workers will feel they are getting underpaid,” he told the Bahrain Tribune.

“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.

The BCCI contractors committee had decided to set up a new grievances cell, the first in the private sector, to address complaints from workers.

Nass said the BCCI contractors committee would set up a help line to help workers lodge their complaints.

“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.

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