Payout over expat worksite deaths urged
Manama, November 12, 2012
Campaigners are calling on the government to introduce an official compensation scheme for expatriate workers killed in Bahrain as a result of their job.
It follows the deaths of two Asian men a week ago today, when explosives were detonated in bins located in neighbourhoods heavily populated by foreigners, said a report in our sister publication the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
The GDN reported yesterday (November 11) that Asian sanitation workers responsible for collecting rubbish were now living in fear that they could be next, especially as a third man severely injured in last week's blasts in Gudaibiya and Adliya worked for a cleaning company.
"The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) implores the government to rapidly set up a compensation scheme. It will contribute towards alleviating the legitimate fear in the minds of workers that their families will be left with nothing in the event of their unfortunate demise or of them suffering debilitating injuries," it said in a statement to the GDN.
A senior MWPS official said a proper compensation scheme had long been needed, not only for victims of political violence but also those killed in worksite accidents and labour accommodation tragedies.
On May, 10 Bangladeshis died in their sleep when a fire broke out at their accommodation in East Riffa, while numerous work-related accidents have left several dead since the start of the year - with 12 fatal accidents reported in the first three months alone.
According to Labour Ministry figures, there were 25 work-related deaths in Bahrain last year - just over two a month.
Officials recorded a total of 145 worksite accidents in 2011 - which is one every two-and-a-half-days - in which 143 workers were injured, 63 of them seriously.
"Lack of any realistic, adequate compensation for injury or death of workers in their places of work or in their accommodation has long been a source of deep concern and regret for the MWPS. These latest incidents merely highlight the vulnerable position migrant workers find themselves in, through no fault of their own," added the MWPS statement.
"They come here to work in order to better their lives and that of their families, which is not a crime punishable by death."
Meanwhile, the organisation called on cleaning companies to do more to protect their staff - who have repeatedly been victims of intimidation by anti-government thugs, who in some cases even stole their vehicles and set them alight.
It said the planting of homemade explosives in bins required a proper response from sanitation firms to protect their staff.
"The MWPS is concerned about the risks to migrant worker cleaners associated with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)," it said.
"We read in yesterday's GDN that cleaners had been told by their supervisors 'to be careful.' This is a wholly inadequate preparation for cleaning staff. Proper, comprehensive training and protective clothing should be given," it added. – TradeArabia News Service