Bahrain 'one of the best places to work in Gulf'
Manama, July 18, 2014
Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman are the best places to work in the Gulf - and are on a par with working conditions in the US, according to a new study.
They were ranked higher than Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE in a 2014 Global Rights Index published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The study placed countries in one of five different categories, with category one containing the best places to work and category five containing the worst.
Bahrain was positioned in category four along with Kuwait and Oman, as well as the US.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE were designated category five countries.
The index was created based on 97 indicators such as whether employees were exposed to systematic physical violence, threats and intimidation, had the right to strike and were guaranteed protection under the law.
"Workers in countries with the rating of four have reported systematic violations," the report said.
"The government and/or companies are engaged in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers putting fundamental rights under continuous threat."
To qualify for category four, a country must fare poorly in 27 to 35 indicators used to draw up the index.
Rights groups in Bahrain have long campaigned for a better working environment, especially for Asian expats who face the harshest conditions with low payment, delayed salaries and other forms of abuse.
Migrant Workers Protection Society chairwoman Marietta Dias told the GDN that labour unions should be doing more to recruit expat members to better protect their rights.
"Workers are cautious about joining a trade union," she said.
"Trade unions don't have many expats on their books and they should make more effort to have these people join them."
Meanwhile, General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) assistant secretary for the private sector Kareem Radhi pointed to the delayed reinstatement of some workers sacked in connection with 2011 unrest.
Around 4,600 people were dismissed after they allegedly failed to show up for work so they could take part in anti-government demonstrations, were arrested on suspicion of criminal activities or took part in strikes called by trade unionists sympathetic to the Bahraini opposition movement.
Some claimed they were sacked for no reason at all and almost all have been reinstated, but the GFBTU alleged a minority were still waiting. - TradeArabia News Service