Bapco unionists set for demonstration
Manama, December 29, 2007
More than 2,000 unionists from Bapco and other companies and government organisations will hold a demonstration at the refinery in Sitra tomorrow (December 30), it was announced yesterday.
Bapco Employees Union spokesman Hameed Al Rashid said the demonstration was aimed at sending a "clear signal" to the management that its employees were serious about their demands and that "appropriate action" would be taken if they were not met.
He said that other unions would be present at the demonstration as a show of support.
Al Rashid said a significant decision on the next course of action would be announced on the occasion.
"A complete halt of work is certainly not ruled out. A strike is certainly one of the options," he told our sister publication Gulf Daily News, without going into details.
He said that in 1943 and 1965, complete strike happened at the refinery and the management had to concede to the employees' demands.
"This might well happen again," said Al Rashid.
The employees are also demanding a 15 per cent increase in wages across the board and that Bahraini employees be immediately given better health insurance and other benefits.
These include substantial housing, shift and risk allowances and other benefits.
The union earlier this month rejected a one-month salary bonus as part of the company's 75th anniversary celebrations, saying the offer was "far too less" and it wanted "at least two months" pay.
Al Rashid claimed the demands of the employees were "just and fair".
"The company has made huge profits so why should we not have a share," he said.
"Bapco is now a world-competitor because of its employees and we are being given a raw deal."
Al Rashid said the union had communicated to the management their demands in writing on November 4, who had promised to respond "within three weeks".
"Those three weeks were over on November 24 and so far we have heard nothing," he said.
"Time is running out. If the management is serious, it should respond favourably by Sunday." Bapco officials would not comment yesterday.
The union has been holding a series of demonstration from the beginning of this month.
The last demonstration was held on December 7 at Awali, where the company's main office is located. – TradeArabia News Service