Wages edge up for Bahrainis in private sector
Manama, June 10, 2013
Average wages for Bahrainis in the private sector increased by just one per cent in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year, said a senior government official.
The average private sector salary rose from BD503 ($1,333) to BD508, while average pay for Bahrainis in the public sector remained constant at BD677, Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
He added there was a dip in the number of private sector Bahraini workers earning below BD250, which had decreased from 22 per cent to 16 per cent.
"[In the private sector] we have 4,906 employees (6 per cent) earning below BD200, 13,024 (16 per cent) below BD250, 32,607 (39 per cent) below BD300, 44,571 (53 per cent) below BD400, 50,335 (60 per cent) below BD500, 14,287 (17 per cent) above BD1,000 and 7,390 (9 per cent) above BD1,500," he said.
Humaidan revealed the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) had conducted a study on Bahrainis whose pay was less than BD200 a month.
"We have noticed that this wage is given mostly to part-timers, workers in nurseries and kindergartens and to relatives who are listed as employees in an establishment to just increase Bahrainisation and get work permits for expatriates," he said.
"The ministry has managed to decrease the numbers of those getting below BD250 by 49 per cent to 16 per cent and we are working hard to move all to the BD250 and above range.
"We have already reached deals with the private sector to give BD400 for university graduates and BD300 for diploma holders and whenever we complete our target, we will increase the minimum wages platform."
However, he added it was difficult to force a pay increase on the private sector because it could harm businesses.
"We have to approach things steadily and realistically with reasonable increases," he said.
The minister added that the construction sector and hotels were two areas identified by authorities as major potential employers of Bahrainis.
"Two sectors with a potential - construction and hotels - are looking for Bahrainis, but many are under the misconception that construction means working in harsh conditions as labourers. Many also think that working in hotels is just bartending," said Humaidan.
"Construction is a big sector and it is looking for Bahrainis as general managers, supervisors and specialists in maintenance - basically in everything related to buildings and infrastructure.
"Hotels offer a wide range of services like weddings, conferencing and gyms - it's not just bartender jobs that are available."
He said the gap between the cost of employing Bahrainis and expats in target sectors such as construction, trade, hotels, restaurants and part of the industrial sector had widened by BD23 to BD299.
"The widening is mainly due to two reasons and that's the continuation of a freeze on the BD10 labour fees and the high costs of employing Bahrainis," he added.
Meanwhile, Humaidan urged Bahrainis earning below BD250 to visit the ministry for assistance.
"We can either find them better jobs or support their wages with the difference to reach BD250, in co-operation with their workplace until the employer is able to accommodate the difference," he said.
"A total of 1,219 Bahraini newcomers have entered the labour market in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 9.7 per cent from the same period last year. Only 81 Bahraini newcomers earn below BD250 and we are working to provide them with the necessary help alongside others facing the same problem." – TradeArabia News Service
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