Staff of US base in Bahrain facing layoffs
Manama, March 3, 2013
Around 100 civilian staff working at the US Navy Fifth Fleet could lose their jobs as America prepares to apply defence budget cuts of $85 billion, a report said.
Others will also be forced to take up to 22 days off without pay this year as part of a major global downsizing operation, according to the report published in our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News.
Most of those affected may American include expats and Bahrainis.
Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lieutenant Marissa Myatt said officials were still waiting for instructions from defence chiefs before they start introducing severance packages.
"The US Fifth Fleet has approximately 100 civilian employees who may be affected by this," she confirmed. "When directed, the Fifth Fleet will implement a one-day furlough (temporary unpaid leave) per week starting April 16 and continuing for 22 weeks (to end in September)."
Lt Myatt said no temporary staff would be affected by the job cuts.
"Similar to the rest of the Department of Defence, the Fifth Fleet is observing a hiring freeze," she said.
The spokeswoman stated the Fifth Fleet, which also encompasses the US Naval Central Command and Combined Maritime Forces, "will continue to follow higher policy and guidance as it comes out".
Democrats and Republicans in the US have been locked in a stalemate in recent weeks as they try to reach a final agreement about military budget cuts, which some say could amount to $500bn in the next decade.
It prompted President Barack Obama to invite congressional leaders to the White House for negotiations.
Lt Myatt said officials were hoping a solution could be reached to avoid ongoing uncertainty.
"We are hopeful of avoiding budgetary problems and that Congress passes the budget," she said. "However, we will do everything to make sure our civilian employees are prepared and ready to go through this and stand by supporting them with constant communication." – TradeArabia News Service