New laws to protect migrant workers in Bahrain
Manama, June 1, 2012
Bahrain is set to improve its labour legislation to ensure decent work for all migrant workers in a bid to protect their rights, said a senior government official.
Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan said the country was set to activate a memorandum of understanding signed with India in 2007, as it is in the pipeline to be approved by His Majesty King Hamad.
"We signed this MoU with India and now its time to activate it by improving labour market and its policies at all spheres," Humaidan told our sister publication the Gulf Daily News.
"We are hoping that the new labour law that covers domestic workers will be soon approved by His Majesty. Parliament has already approved it and if it is finally given the green light by the leadership, Bahrain will be the first country in the region that has a law that protects domestic workers."
Humaidan was speaking in New Delhi yesterday (May 31) as he was part of a more than 30-member Bahraini delegation that accompanied HRH the Crown Prince during the official visit.
The new law would clearly stipulate rights and duties of workers, including a work contract and vacation days among other conditions.
"Bahrain's legislation protects workers at all levels. For example, foreign workers are eligible for unemployment insurance assistance in case they are unfairly dismissed and we do process such cases," explained Humaidan.
He said a worker sacked unfairly from his job could receive financial assistance, which was about 60 per cent of his salary, but the worker has to file a case of unfair dismissal at Bahrain's civil courts.
"There is freedom of association and foreign workers can join trade unions," he added. "So you see all these factors attract qualified Indian manpower and we are doing our best to protect labour rights."
Meanwhile, Humaidan revealed that the biggest challenge they faced was creating new jobs creations as the global economy was at a standstill, adding Bahrain wants to create a right balance of employing citizens and foreign workers. – TradeArabia News Service