New push to solve labour complaints in Bahrain
Manama, March 24, 2014
More than 1,000 complaints relating to labour disputes were lodged with Bahrain authorities last year, even as the Labour Ministry expanded its services to solve such cases, a report said.
The complaints included issues such as non-payment of salaries, wage disputes, contract violations and allegations of unfair dismissal, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
A total of 1,053 complaints from employers and staff were received by the Labour Ministry, an average of almost three a day, according to figures released yesterday.
The month with the highest number of complaints was December when 203 reports were filed, followed by 167 in November and 124 in August.
In addition, the ministry provided a total of 4,903 labour consultations to bosses and employees.
"Bahrainis and non-Bahrainis visited the ministry to register their complaints, which is a good sign and our team of officers handled their cases on an individual basis to reach a solution," said ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Dossary.
Last month the ministry expanded its complaints service by opening the Labour Dispute Resolution Centre at its Isa Town headquarters.
It is staffed by six arbitrators and the facility tries to reach an amicable settlement in disputes between employers and staff, but refers unresolved cases to the court where necessary.
"Now we have different sections such as registration and complaints offices and the arbitration and counselling section to handle different labour issues in addition to providing legal counselling," he said.
Al Dossary said arbitrators were doing their best to make different parties aware of their rights and obligations, including domestic workers.
"It is important to enhance awareness of labour issues, which helps solve labour disputes between workers and employees or their representatives," he explained.
Labour relations director Shaikha Hanan bint Hassan Al Khalifa told the GDN that last year 16 labour disputes were referred to court, but the aim was to reach a settlement before that became necessary.
"One of our main objectives is to get complaints solved within 60 days to avoid the cases being sent to court," she said.
"This is because the court process takes a long time and this affects all parties concerned."
She said most cases were resolved at the Labour Dispute Resolution Centre, many of which are related to failures to pay an annual bonus, domestic workers' complaints, compensation issues, doubts regarding the new labour law, non-payment of salaries and even issues connected to trade unions.
"In serious cases such as human trafficking, the case is studied and then the Commercial Registration is forwarded to the Public Prosecution to conduct its investigation," said Shaikha Hanan.
"All the complaints are dealt with in a confidential manner and there are special meeting rooms for the worker or the employer to share information with the officer." - TradeArabia News Service