Alba union refuses to join strike over benefits call
Manama, June 25, 2014
The second largest union representing workers at Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has refused to join calls for a company-wide strike over pay and benefits.
More than 2,500 employees represented by the Alba Labour Union (ALU) are threatening to go on strike if they are not given family health insurance coverage and an additional allowance for working in the summer heat, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They claim that it is discriminatory for some employees to have health insurance that covers their families while others do not.
ALU media representative Abdulla Al Moaraj told the GDN that senior management at Alba had reneged on their promises to provide full health insurance coverage and the so-called "heat allowance", adding that a warning had been issued informing them of possible industrial action.
"We have issued the warning which states clearly that relationships between production parties will be affected if they do not look into our long-standing demands," said Al Moaraj.
"When we say production will be affected, it tells about the seriousness we attach to this issue and we have communicated this to the management."
If the workers demands are not met, a vote will be taken on the possibility of strike action at their next general meeting, Al Moaraj added.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Alba Trade Union (ATU), which represents around 600 employees at the aluminium producer, said it would not be joining the strike.
"We do not know anything about a call for a strike at Alba, nor are we part of it," said ATU co-ordinator Mohammed Musaed
He told the GDN that while he agreed with calls for health insurance coverage for all employees' families because of the high cost of private medical care, no industrial action was planned.
Labour Ministry assistant under-secretary Dr Mohammed Ali Al Ansari said that he was not aware of any strike plans, while no one from Alba was available for comment when contacted by the GDN. - TradeArabia News Service