Unionists warn of high unemployment rates, job losses due to economic impact of Covid-19

UNIONISTS have warned of high unemployment rates among citizens and job losses among expats in the coming months due to the economic impact of the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19).

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) has proposed a three-point plan that covers Bahraini businesses including small and medium enterprises, migrant workers and self employed/non-pensioners.

It discussed the plan during a recent meeting with Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan in order for the issue to be raised with higher authorities.

“We have received several complaints from distressed Bahrainis and expats related to their jobs in these extraordinary times which no one can predict,” said GFBTU secretary general Abdulqader Al Shehabi.

“We need to protect workers and companies from the economic impact of the virus and ensure financial assistance is provided to mitigate these effects.”

He lauded government efforts to pay salaries of 100,000 Bahrainis in the private sector until June, exempting companies to pay the monthly Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) fees for three months and further shouldering the utility bills for all accounts including those of expatriates.

“Job security will be a big issue in the coming months as we expect high unemployment rates, job losses, pay cuts and even some traders shutting down their businesses,” warned Mr Al Shehabi.

The GFBTU head stated that many self-employed individuals and non-pensioners will face the heat with the situation, that requires funds to be injected in the labour market.

“For example, the hospitality sector is among those affected including organisations such as Gulf Air and Bahrain Airport Services.

“We at the GFBTU urge embassies and countries whose nationals work in Bahrain to also lend a helping hand to assist their citizens.

“If this situation continues for more than three months, not only the workers but even Bahraini owners or businessmen will be next in line.”

Mr Al Shehabi said they have formed a special committee to monitor the labour market in these crucial times and said they are ready to co-operate with authorities to share their expertise.

Meanwhile, the Capital Governorate yesterday distributed 1,100 meals to low-income workers affected by Covid-19.

Capital Governor Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa said the campaign aims to distribute food to low-come workers living in the governorate, and praised the Bahraini community for coming together.

He added they would continue with the campaign and intensify their Covid-19 awareness measures with the help of volunteers.

A similar food aid drive was launched last month by the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) to help expatriates, including those who did not receive their salaries, by distributing food and other basic necessities.

Those interested to donate to the MWPS Covid-19 relief fund can contact 17827895.

The GDN reported last month that several local charities were disinfecting their villages, collecting funds to support citizens affected by Covid-19 and even delivering goods to the doorsteps as part of voluntary campaigns.

The government last month announced a BD4.3 billion economic stimulus package to support citizens and the private sector and counter the Covid-19 effects.


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/788973/Unionists-warn-of-high-unemployment-rates,-job-losses-due-to-economic-impact-of-Covid-19


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