BD700 minimum wage demand

TRADE unionists have called for a minimum wage of BD700 for Bahrainis by 2024 as part of a four-year strategic plan.

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) also called for replacing 20,000 expats with Bahrainis – claiming that it would contribute more than BD15 million annually to the social insurance funds.

The proposals, listed in a document, are part of a four-point vision for Bahrain – targeted for achievement by end of 2024.

“From the social responsibility point of view, the GFBTU has come up with a comprehensive vision to improve the labour market scenario, social insurance and the sustainability of pension funds in the country,” GFBTU assistant general secretary Hassan Al Halwachi told the GDN.


“The vision aims to achieve a balance between providing a decent life for Bahraini pensioners and their families, as well as the younger generation.”

The first of the four plans is to promote Bahrainisation of jobs in the private and public sectors.

“The aim is to replace 20,000 of 40,000 expat workers – whose salaries are above BD700 – with Bahrainis, at a rate of 5,000 jobs annually to start with and fully replace the workforce with citizens by 2024,” said the document.

“The economic benefit is an increase in contributions to social insurance by 15 per cent, amounting to BD1.31m per month (BD15.75m annually).

“The social benefit is that of employing a large number of jobless Bahrainis and improving the standard of living of Bahraini families,” the document said.

The second axis of the vision is to stipulate the minimum wages for Bahrainis at BD700. GFBTU said this can be achieved by adopting a wage subsidy system and re-engineering the support provided to citizens.

According to General Organisation of Social Insurance’s first quarter report this year, a total of 81,600 Bahrainis earn less than BD700 a month.

“The cost of raising the salaries of this category to BD700 comes in the range of BD25.7m monthly (BD308.4m annually),” the document said.

“The economic return of this is that the Gosi fund will receive BD4.6m a month (BD55.2m annually) – an increase of 18pc in terms of contributions.

“This will also provide the unemployment fund with BD771,000 a month (BD9.25m annually).

“This also increases the Housing Ministry’s revenue from installments and the purchasing power of a good percentage of citizens, thus contributing to the improvement of economic and commercial activity in the country.

“Socially, it will add job stability and improve the standard of living of a large number of Bahraini families, in turn contributing to Bahrain Vision 2030.”

The third point of the vision is to start replacing expatriates in government sector with citizens.

According to last year’s Gosi report, 7,789 expatriates occupy jobs in the government sector.

“At least 50pc of this (estimated 3,900) will have to be replaced over the next four years to gradually reach full Bahrainisation.

“This would reduce unemployment among Bahrainis by 3,900 cases and supplement the pension funds with BD0.46m per month (BD5.5m annually). It will also increase social insurance contribution by 21pc,” the document said.

The unionists also propose an extension to expats’ social protection to preserve their terminal benefits and insurance.“Many expatriate workers face difficulties in receiving end-of-service benefits upon the termination or suspension of the work contract, or the employer is exposed to operational, financial or legal difficulties that lead to bankruptcy or closure of the institution.

“In addition to that, this also helps in cases of disputes between employer and the worker that could result in the worker’s dismissal,” the document said.

Mr Al Halwachi said the four-point vision, if implemented, will boost sustainable development.

“Correcting the labour market reality is a vital requirement not only to supplement and sustain pension funds, but also to achieve growth and stability for national employment and the welfare of citizens, as we aim to achieve the sustainable development goals and Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030,” he said.




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