Bahrain activists hit out at 'immoral' contracts
Manama, March 30, 2014
Rights activists have hit out at "immoral" contracts that leave low-paid expatriates owing thousands of dinars if they want to quit their job.
The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) said it regularly comes into contact with distressed workers, who have been taken to court over money owed to their employers, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"When a person comes here to work, he is invariably made to sign a contract which he never sees a copy of," society chairwoman Marietta Dias told the GDN.
"We've had cases in the past where if the employee leaves within two years, they owe the employer BD1,000 ($2,637).
"This is for someone earning less than BD150 a month - that should never have been in the contract."
Dias described it as "morally wrong" for employers to make such demands of their employees, but pointed out that the fault could lay with old contract templates that have not yet been revised.
"How could you allow people to sign a contract where they promise to pay back money?"
"And then when the staff complain the employer gets in trouble as well, but he has perhaps been using that contract for years.
"We have tons of contracts like this and what happens is that person is put in the detention centre for six months or 10 months and he is never appraised of his situation - and the court case against him is that he owes BD1,000 or BD10,000.
"All that time it takes for the court cases and the law is such that the employee can't work legally. From all angles, it is working against the worker."
Employees wishing to resign before their two-year contract is complete are likely to be held liable by their employers for any costs incurred in their hiring.
The GDN has reported numerous times in recent years on the plight of workers who claim not to have been paid for weeks or months. - TradeArabia News Service