DHL strike called off after pay accord
Manama, July 15, 2010
A strike by around 360 DHL staff in Bahrain was called off at the last minute after a compromise on pay and allowances was reached.
The trade union members had earlier threatened to go on a strike scheduled for yesterday if their demands for better pay and conditions were not met.
Negotiations had been ongoing since February when staff complained about failing to get a satisfactory pay increase and suitable heat, shift and transport allowances.
Those involved were Bahrainis and expatriates at all levels of the company, including office and sorting staff, management and drivers.
Union members initially set yesterday as the deadline for their demands to be met before striking.
However, they extended it ahead of a meeting with company officials and representatives from the Labour Ministry and General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU).
The company has now agreed to pay workers transport, shift and heat allowances as well as offer extended medical benefits for employees' families.
GFBTU general secretary Salman Al Mahfoudh said it helped the union reach an understanding with the management.
'The GFBTU has succeeded in halting the strike by mediating between the two parties.
'The company has agreed to pay workers transport allowance staring next month in addition to three months' heat allowance every summer,' he added.
A DHL spokeswoman said progress had been made, but negotiations were still ongoing.
'DHL is still actively engaged in discussions with the union to reach a common understanding,' she said.
'We are pleased by positive developments which have resulted in no interruption of work. We are hopeful that a mutually beneficial resolution can be reached soon.'
She said officials made fair concessions for staff, including shift allowance and extended health benefits for their families.
'On top of an overall average salary increment of 5 per cent for DHL Express employees in Bahrain, the company implemented new heat and transport cash allowances and extended health benefits for their families,' she said.
'In addition, the company has confirmed plans to enhance transport allowance and introduce shift allowance.'
However, union member Ahmed Ali said there were still some discrepancies to be resolved although the majority of demands had been met.
'The company presented a letter saying which demands would be met. During negotiations, we agreed some things that were not in it.'
Discrepancies revolved around the shift allowance, he said, claiming that it was not calculated in the way the union had agreed.
'We have asked them to make amendments to the letter and send it back to us with the terms we have agreed.
'If both sides accept the letter, then we will send copies to the ministry and the GFBTU, telling them this is what we have agreed.
'We have reached a solution for the time being, but until these issues are resolved, discussion is still open,' Ali added.-TradeArabia News Service
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