Bahrain university denies lecturers' claims
Manama, March 18, 2014
A top university in Bahrain has hit back at claims eight lecturers were suspended without pay in a dispute about extra hours.
The educators, all working for AMA International University's business department, alleged they were being forced to take on more hours for little extra pay, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
But university officials accused them of "abandoning their posts and neglecting their responsibilities towards their students".
They also said none of the faculty were PhD holders, as claimed, and that only one of them had been "sanctioned" due to a disciplinary issue.
"The university did not suspend the eight faculty members mentioned because they allegedly refused to sign a contract to increase their workload," said the university in a statement.
"Only one faculty member was sanctioned due to a discipline policy violation warranting the punishment.
"But he was not suspended for the reason that his workload was increased.
"The other faculty members were not suspended but on the other hand, had abandoned their posts and neglected their responsibilities towards their students.
"Their act of merely sending SMSs to their students informing them of their flight from the university is an act that should be abhorred by any reputable university."
The university quoted Bahrain's Labour Law, saying it had every right to increase the workload of its staff from 30 hours a week to 40.
"The university has the right to reorganise its hours of work," said the statement.
"Based on the same articles, even the Cassation Court ruled that: "The right of the employer to organise its business shall not depend on the approval of the employee".
The university argues that the 40 extra hours worked a month by staff will have "no extra teaching burden" on the faculty.
"As a matter of fact, the faculty members affected are paid BD50 ($131) as an extra salary per month for the increased hours made and originally allowed within the Labour Law," it said.
The university says it only withheld the salaries of lecturers who were absent from work, in accordance with Labour Law, and claims it has the documentation to prove it.
Officials also denied allegations they failed to co-operate with an investigation by the Labour Ministry.
"On the complaint raised to the Labour Ministry, the university attended the first meeting and arrived late at the second meeting for reasons beyond its control," said the statement.
"The person in charge in the ministry refused to make another appointment - that reflected the bad intentions of the eight faculty members in reporting this matter."
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry yesterday confirmed it had launched its own investigation into the allegations made by lecturers. - TradeArabia News Service