ما يرد في هذه المدونة من معلومات وأخبار خاصة هي ملك للجميع ومن حق أي شخص نقلها، وإن تفضل وأشار إلى المصدر فهذا فضلاً منه
Bahrain labour group plans rights talks
TradeArabia: Stricter labour laws and penalties will top the agenda of a migrant workers' group at Bahrain’s National Dialogue.
Stiff punishments are needed for employers that withhold their worker's passports as well as sponsors and manpower agencies that do not issue residence permits or CPRs for workers, said the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS).
Domestic workers must be included in the labour law and Bahrain should sign the recently adopted convention by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 'Decent Work for Domestic Workers', it added.
These recommendations are among 15 that have been put forward by the MWPS to be discussed in the National Dialogue.
"The MWPS considers many of the practices of manpower agencies to be unacceptable and would welcome a complete reform of their often unscrupulous and cruel methods of operating," it said in its list of recommendations.
"MWPS considers that the justice system does not move quickly enough. Workers can be caught in the trap of waiting for a court case for lengthy periods during which they are unable to work and therefore unable to support either their families overseas or themselves."
MWPS recommends that all nationals working in Bahrain in significant numbers have an embassy or a consular office here.
This is urgently needed in particular for the Sri Lankan community, but also for the Ethiopian and Nepalese communities, says MWPS.
"Nationals of these countries are sadly neglected and therefore more vulnerable to abuse, having to rely on voluntary support when in need," it added.
Other demands include increasing the number of Labour Ministry building site inspectors, making it mandatory for large companies to employ qualified safety officers and for compensation payouts to reflect the true values of the damage caused.
The MWPS want the quality and safety of labour accommodation to be improved and for more inspectors to be employed. The society recommends the provision of a bank of 'on call' translators at all government authorities to ensure a fair representation of each case.
MWPS calls for the introduction of evening sessions at the Labour Ministry since most low-income workers are unable to access their services. They end up losing their rights to file complaints during the daytime for fear, for example, of losing their jobs for absconding, it said.
The society also calls for a uniform approach and consistency of procedures between police officers and the staff at Dar Al Aman, the government shelter for women, regarding access for admission by female domestic workers and others.
MWPS will be represented in the Dialogue by Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) secretary-general Faisal Fulad, who submitted the recommendations to parliament and National Dialogue chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani yesterday.
"There are 75,000 domestic workers and there is no labour law for them and this is one of the demands from UN Human Rights Council," said Fulad. "There should be a law to protect domestic workers in Bahrain.”
"We have more than 340,000 migrant workers in Bahrain and must consider their rights for social justice, proper shelter, no trafficking and so on. Bahrain is always concerned about this sector, so for this reason the MWPS gave us their views and we have put them with ours."
Fulad said he would be calling for action to be taken regarding employers who abuse the sponsorship system by making workers stay with them for longer than what was initially agreed on.
He will also raise issues concerning the poor living and working conditions of workers and abuse cases.
"There are hundreds of cases in the labour court where employers sack leaders of strikes and won't give their staff salary for four or five months and then we have camps which have very bad living, safety and health standards," said Fulad. "Some workers don't know the language and won't have anyone to translate their rights. Bahrain has become better than before over issues related to human trafficking.”
"However, there are still problems with domestic workers who will work from 6am to 2am during Ramadan and nothing can be done because there is no agreement for how long they should work.”
"Rights of religion is an issue, some are not allowed to go to church or not allowed to go for medical treatment. There are also sexual harassment problems with many court cases on this,” he added.
"On Tuesday the Dialogue will discuss women and child rights and we will address the Family Law for Jaffari as well as the rights for domestic workers and women working in garment factories,” he concluded.