Bahrain moves against illegal labour camps
Manama, June 5, 2012
Bahrain has launched a nationwide crackdown on illegal labour camps to combat growing safety violations that put the lives of workers at risk.
Landlords who illegally rent out houses as accommodations could be prosecuted as authorities increase efforts to launch inspections of unregistered camps and the 3,690 places listed with the Labour Ministry.
Labourers are also being urged to file complaints against employers who flout safety measures and put them up in unregistered accommodations.
It follows the tragic death of 10 Bangladeshi workers who suffocated from carbon monoxide poisoning after a fire broke out on May 27 in their unregistered East Riffa accommodation, where six slept in one room and four in another.
"More than 3,000 camps are registered with the ministry and we have started strict action against companies flouting labour laws and allowing their workers to live in poor conditions," said ministry inspection and labour unions director Ahmed Al Haiki.
"Some accommodations are not registered with the ministry and we are not authorised to inspect residential buildings. We have started a campaign to crack down on illegal camps and ask companies to register with the ministry.
"If the camps are in really bad condition, we will give three warnings to change the location. If the companies ignore these warnings then we will take action and send the case to the court.
"Our inspectors are visiting camps twice a year but we are going to increase the number of visits, even during the weekends. Last week's tragedy was an eye-opener for all the authorities.
"We need workers also to call us and file complaints against their employers if they are living in unhygienic camps or old and dilapidated buildings,” he said. – TradeArabia News Service