Employer in Bahrain given ultimatum over pending wages

The company has been in the midst of non-payment rows since 2018

  

An employer has been warned of legal action if he did not settle salary dues of almost 100 of his employees within three days, it has emerged.

The action was pledged by the Labour and Social Development Ministry after the owner of the construction company allegedly did not pay his employees for almost six months.

This was revealed by a senior labour official after the workers marched to the ministry complex in Zayed Town yesterday.

“We don’t want to enforce the law in a hard way and hence we look for amicable settlements,” the official told the GDN.

“In this case, the employer had failed repeatedly in his promises and we have given him three days to provide us the detailed plan on how to settle the wages of his employees.

“If not, we will refer the case to the Public Prosecution.”

The company, owned by a former MP, has completed major projects in Bahrain and has its head office in Umm Al Hassam.

It has been in the midst of non-payment rows since 2018 when the GDN reported that almost 1,800 employees protested over claims of non-payment for at least three months.

They took to the streets outside their labour camps in Ma’ameer before they were stopped by police.

In March this year, hundreds of its workers were sent into quarantine due to coronavirus.

“We held a meeting between representatives from the company and workers last week,” said the official.

“We agreed that the employer would provide us with a plan to repatriate the employees.”

He said the ministry had directed the employer to provide food and water to the employees, while the Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani men told the GDN that the cold store near the camp had stopped giving them items on credit.

The employees also claimed they were not allowed to enter the ministry complex yesterday, and they walked to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) building.

“An LMRA official agreed to register our case again and also asked us to visit our embassy,” said a worker.

“The ministry had earlier asked us to visit our embassies, but they could not do anything.

“We are without food as the owner has asked the cold store near the camp not to give us anything on credit as he is unable to pay.“We received food from some social workers, but how long can we go on like this?”

The labourers – working as carpenters, masons, plumbers and construction workers – earn between BD75 and BD120 per month.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

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