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Bahrain authorities trying to solve Bramco wages problem
Bramco labour dispute in Bahrain

Bahrain authorities trying to solve Bramco wages problem

Bahrain authorities have stepped in to resolve an ongoing unpaid wages row in a company, with labour officials handing over scores of passports back to the employees in the past week.
Officials from both the Labour and Social Development Ministry and the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) are reportedly stationed at the Bramco Group labour camp in Askar, making a registry on the details of the affected individuals.
The GDN reported earlier this month that the ministry had lodged its own complaint against the company over allegations it has failed to pay more than 100 employees for months.
Under-Secretary Sabah Al Doseri had then confirmed that legal action was being taken against the firm – which specialises in mining, earth-moving and marble supply – after the company repeatedly ignored warnings from the ministry.
A top government official told the GDN that “due to mounting pressure” the company has surrendered 90 passports of its staff after they stepped in to resolve the case, confirming that both LMRA and ministry officials along with diplomats have visited the labour camp.
“We found that some workers required to be transferred to Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) or required medications,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They were moved to SMC, and food arrangements were also made to be delivered to the labour camp.
“These workers are living in an area where there are no amenities close by and have not received their salaries for months, which is something that cannot be tolerated.
“Arrangements are now being made for those workers who wish to return (to their country), while they can hand over power of attorneys to their respective embassies to follow up on their pending wages.
“In addition, those who wish to stay back because they have a job offer will also be assisted.”
Efforts were also on to resolve the issue with the owners amicably, he added.
The GDN earlier reported that the company which employs staff from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines, has been blacklisted by the government – and the owner, who is currently abroad, could not be reached for a comment.
The company staff, who are supposed to earn between BD120 and BD230 per month, are owed salaries dating back more than a year and were surviving on embassy handouts.
Many have expired employment visas, which means they no longer have legal residency in Bahrain.
“We have officially filed a case at the Labour (and Social Development) Ministry on Tuesday for 43 of our nationals,” said Bangladesh embassy labour consul Shaikh Tahidul Islam.
“We are very happy that both the LMRA and Labour and Social Development Ministry officials stepped in immediately to address the situation, as soon as it came out in the Press.
“Officials from both the entities were at the labour camp taking down details from individuals – their visa status, how much they are owed and what they wish to do – and they are categorising the employees, which we think is the best way to address the situation.
“They are also getting back the passports of the employees (from the employers) and are giving it back to them (employees), which is again a respectful gesture.
“In case of our nationals, none of them want to go back as they all have financial burdens and a families back home dependent on them.
“So they are keen to regularise themselves and explore the possibilities of getting other jobs or flexible permits from the LMRA.”
One of the 56 Indian men employed by the firm confirmed that some of them who received their tickets and passports have already flown back.
“They signed a power of attorney with the embassy and were told they would be notified once the issue is resolved.”
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