Bahrain business body's bid to tackle loss of jobs in private sector

BAHRAIN’S main business body is in talks with government officials to address job terminations and salary cuts in the private sector, it has emerged.

A number of private firms have downsized their operations by terminating contracts or implementing salary cuts, as businesses have been financially impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

This has left a large number of people, mainly expatriates, struggling to survive with difficulties in paying rent, loans and educational support for their children to even meeting daily commitments such as purchasing food and other essentials.

The GDN has received information on a number of employers, including private schools, pharmacies, and transport companies, terminating staff without notice or deducting large percentage of their monthly pay.

Senior members of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) told the GDN they were in talks with authorities to reach an amicable solution to address the concerns.

They also urged employers to be “humane” during these unprecedented times and approach the situation with “ethical and moral responsibility”.

“We are aware of this serious concern and we are studying it closely,” said BCCI first vice-chairman Khalid Najibi.

“This is a very important situation for the government, the employers and the employees, therefore we are discussing with the government to reach an amicable solution.

“We hope to reach an agreement that will be balanced and one that reflects best practices at par with international standards.

“Bahrain has a reputation for its humane approach to all aspects and we urge employers to bear this in mind and be humane enough in their decisions (regarding pay cuts and terminations).”

The GDN has learned of one expatriate private school that has implemented a 50 per cent salary cut among its faculty until August, despite it collecting full fees from students. It has also terminated almost 70 assistant teachers.

Meanwhile, a taxi company has urged landlords of its employees to waive rents, as it will not be able to pay salaries due to a “dramatic decline” in business.

A local services and maintenance company also issued a letter to employees stating that salaries will only be paid to those who are “actively engaged” in work.


“We know we have a situation that may require drastic steps from employers, as it is a matter of survival,” said BCCI executive committee member Basim Al Saie.

“Everyone is trying to retain whatever they have and are desperate so we can’t blame anyone, but there should an ethical approach to it.

“Bahrain has a large expat population who are supporting their families back home and employers should keep this in mind as they fight the situation.

“We can’t come to a formula that will match all needs in order to address this crisis, but every employer should be humane enough as they address the crisis.


“We are aware of the cases and we are discussing them with officials.”

The government has already withdrawn BD215 million from the Unemployment Fund to pay for the wages of Bahrainis in the private sector for April, May and June.

The fund is expected to support more than 100,000 Bahrainis, which is part of the government’s BD4.3 billion economic stimulus package to offset the financial impacts of the pandemic.




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