Daily Tribune: Indian Embassy's legal cell bagged another victory after a local court ruled in favour of 13 workers who had approached its officials in August 2009 on not receiving salaries.
The court has ordered the employers to pay two months’ salary along with a 2 per cent compensation, officials told DT. Maha Jaber and Latheesh Bharathan of the Maha Jaber law firm represented the employees in court.
“This indicates that the legal system can be successful,” said a delighted Indian Embassy First Secretary A Ajay Kumar, under whose guidance, the case had been filed. “But the workers should have the time and patience to follow through till the end. This is a victory for the legal cell.”
This is the second time that a case undertaken by the Indian Embassy Legal Cell has achieved victory. Earlier, in a housemaid abuse case, the court had ruled to take legal action against the sponsor’s wife.
The 13 workers had approached the Indian Embassy two years ago, complaining that they had not received salary for five months. The employees said they did not even have money to buy food.
The embassy then intervened, and tried to come to a mutually acceptable settlement and requested the employers to pay BD40 each as advance.
However, when they didn’t make the payments as promised, the workers filed a case with the Labour Ministry. The sponsor failed to appear for two hearings.
Following this, the mission’s legal cell approached the courts. The employers then tried to settle it out of court, but employees opted to continue with the case, as they had the support of the Indian Embassy.
Embassy officials believed the employees deserved full payments as the employers had not accepted their initial request.
The employers tried to blame the delay in payments of bills, for the non-payment of salaries. However, the embassy reiterated it was the responsibility of the employer to pay the salaries in time.
It was the initiative taken by the Malayalee Business Forum General Secretary Basheer Ambalayi that brought this case to the notice of the embassy officials. It was the support of the Forum and the Embassy that gave confidence to the distressed workers, seven of whom had already left for India. The Forum also arranged food for all the workers.
According to Mr Bharathan, “Even if there is no written contract, the employer is obligated to provide basic amenities to the employees as per Bahrain Law. If this is not provided, then employees have the right to complain. But even after filing a complaint, many don’t follow it up and come to know about it only when a verdict is announced.”
He reiterated that if one approaches the legal way, with the evidence, then they could be successful.
Mr Ambalayi expressed his gratitude to Mr Kumar and the Indian Embassy legal cell for seeing this through.