200 firms in Bahrain defy summer work ban
Manama, July 28, 2014
Nearly 200 companies have violated Bahrain's summer work ban in less than 30 days.
About 70 per cent of the violations were registered in construction sites in the capital, said Labour Ministry Under-secretary Sabah Al Dossary yesterday.
A total of 9,671 sites were inspected since the restriction was enforced on July 1, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The ban prohibits all outdoor work between midday and 4pm until August to protect the workforce from potentially fatal heat-related medical conditions.
Ministry inspectors found 192 violating firms that allowed a combined 428 labourers work outside during the ban hours.
"Inspectors recorded 192 violations in total, most of them from outside work stations in Manama area - almost 70 per cent," he told the GDN.
"The last two weeks saw 85 violations, which involved only 30 employees, compared with 398 employees during the first two weeks together.
"Compliance with the law came down marginally to 98.1 per cent compared with 98.2 per cent in the first week and 98.3 per cent in the second week.
"However, we consider the percentage, so far, as something excellent.
"The violators knew that they were ignoring the law and the excuses given were similar - such as 'emergency work', 'just an addition of 15 minutes', etc.
"However, these excuses will not be considered and any minute after noon and before 4pm is a violation, which will be prosecuted."
Al Dossary said the employees involved were called to the ministry, where they signed the necessary documents before they were allowed to leave.
"These employees also knew about the work ban, but unfortunately were not in a position to disobey their employers," he said.
Penalties for violating the work ban include fines ranging from BD500 ($1,325) to BD1,000, which is applicable to employers of domestic workers as well.
However, no domestic worksite violation has been reported, confirmed Al Dossary. "As said in the past, the ban is applicable to private houses and domestic workers also, but we don't have the authority to inspect houses," he said.
"Unless someone notifies us of any incidents, we cannot act and this year, so far, nothing was reported from the domestic workers' segment."
However, he dismissed claims that the ban was violated by one of the social clubs in Manama. - TradeArabia News Service