MPs unanimously approved a request for an open parliamentary debate on official policies allowing ministries, government bodies and state-owned companies to outsource work to private enterprises rather than offer full time contracts to Bahrainis.

Ten MPs led by Strategic Thinking Bloc president MP Ahmed Al Salloom submitted an urgent request to Parliament Speaker Ahmed Al Musallam on Saturday to put forward the topic, as reported earlier in the GDN.

The Parliament Speaker told MPs during the weekly session yesterday that the ministers concerned would be asked to attend an upcoming session to discuss the matter.

The debate focused on seven core aspects such as the nature of outsourced contracts, guarantees given to hired Bahrainis, as well as monitoring and inspection.

It followed several petitions by ‘outsourced’ employees who alleged that they had been denied the opportunity of permanent positions when vacancies arose, despite having gained the necessary experience, the MPs said.

An ‘outsource agreement’ is a legal contract between a company and the contracted service provider they hire to perform services on their behalf.

“Reasons behind outsourcing jobs are unclear to us and we need to know why the government prefers this over full time employment of Bahrainis,” said Mr Al Salloom.

“We are worried that if this continues, many Bahrainis will continue to be denied permanent job opportunities and feel as if they are being treated as replaceable furniture,” he added.

“The situation is alarming and it harms parliamentary plans to prioritise Bahrainis and have them provided with stable jobs.”

Strategic Thinking Bloc spokesman MP Khalid Bu Onk said government jobs should not be outsourced and that suitable, qualified and experienced Bahrainis should be offered permanent contracts when there are vacancies.

“Too many Bahrainis have been brought in to do jobs under what we consider to be unfair contracts and they receive ‘peanuts’ compared to their colleagues on full-time employment,” he added.

“They should be preferred over others when vacancies arise as they have often spent several years in the job and are more knowledgeable than any outsider.

“An open debate would allow us to unravel the situation regarding such contracts and why government ministries, departments and companies are choosing them over offering full-time employment opportunities to skilled Bahrainis.”

Meanwhile, Sustainable Development Minister and acting Economic Development Board chief executive Noor Al Khulaif responded to a question on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by MP Hamad Al Doy.

“We are co-ordinating with all relevant government bodies to collect data on SDG progress, develop the database, as well as review criteria and statistics,” said Ms Al Khulaif.

Mr Al Doy replied that when 400,000 Bahrainis continue to receive allowances from the government showing, in his opinion, that too many citizens were financially struggling. The poverty line, he added, was something the ministry needed to study, amend and increase the current level of support.


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