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Protesting workers...over unpaid salaries

Expat workers paid in wages row in Bahrain

MANAMA, March 13, 2015

More than 100 foreign workers in Bahrain who went on strike over non-payment of salaries have finally collected their wages for January and February, following the intervention of diplomats and labour officials.

The men work for Mercury Middle East, which was subcontracted to carry out work on the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay project by Dubai-based Six Construct, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Mercury said the firm had paid the outstanding salaries on Wednesday night and employees, who have been on strike since February 28, confirmed receipt of the money.

“We were trying to arrange some funds to clear the salaries and we got it processed on Wednesday,” said a Mercury representative.

“All employees have been paid and if there is any delay, it is the bank transfer depending on their accounts.”

An Indian Embassy official who visited the workers at their accommodation reportedly refused to leave on Wednesday until the men were paid.

The Mercury representative blamed main contractor Six Construct for the delayed payments, alleging it was awaiting payment from the Dubai firm.

“We are yet to be paid by Six Construct and we are still trying to get the money from them,” they said.

A Mercury official earlier claimed Six Construct was responsible for paying the workers, but Six Construct managing director Pierre Sironval yesterday denied that was the case.

He also denied that a protest by Mercury employees over unpaid salaries on February 28 took place outside the Four Seasons Hotel.

“There has not been a strike in front of the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, but workers were gathered in front of our office,” he said.

“We fully understand the reasons behind the workers' complaints regarding the delayed payment of their salaries by our subcontractor Mercury, who is responsible for satisfying the grievances of their workers.

“We sympathise with the workers' plight and hope that Mercury will resolve the matter at the earliest.

“The name of Six Construct has unfortunately been misused by Mercury.”

Sironval also claimed that Mercury was paid according to its contract.

“Though Six Construct is the main contractor, it pays Mercury in accordance to their contract,” he said.

“In turn, we expect Mercury to honour its agreement with its employees and workers.”

The Labour Ministry has launched its own probe into the non-payment of 125 Indian, Pakistani and Filipino electrical and mechanical staff.

“Our inspectors visited the labour camp, discussed issues with the employees and contacted the employer,” Labour Ministry under-secretary Sabah Al Dossary told the GDN.

“We were told that the employees will be paid and we confirmed it was done the same evening.

“We have initiated an investigation into the matter and will enquire with the employer about the reasons for not paying the employees and assure that necessary action will be taken.

“The ministry is strict on protecting employees' rights and on no grounds can workers be left unpaid.

“We urge employees to reach out to the ministry as soon as they have a problem, instead of waiting for the problem to get worse.” - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Worker | Salaries | Wages | foreign | row |

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