Bahrain's Alba hires firm to end worker dispute

Hay Group appointed as 39 workers sacked amid 2011 protests reject new job offers
Bahrain's Alba hires firm to end worker dispute
Flashback to Bahrain uprising in early 2011 when hundreds of Alba workers were sacked. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 15 Dec 2012 02:22 PM

Bahrain Aluminium said on Saturday that it had hired an HR consultancy in a bid to resolve a dispute with a group of employees offered new jobs after being sacked amid protests last year.

The company, which owns the world's fourth-largest aluminum smelter, said in a statement that Hay Group had been appointed to carry out a study into the nature of the dispute.

In the aftermath of the protests that have hit the Gulf kingdom since early 2011, Alba has reinstated a total of 484 employees.

The move is in response to directives issued by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa as well as to recommendations made by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

But Alba said on Saturday that a group comprising 39 employees had rejected new job offers, claiming the nature of work was different.

"The Alba management has taken series of steps to reinstate dismissed employees and close this file for good. However, Alba has faced repeated rejections to jobs offered to the remainder of dismissed employees who alleged that the nature of work of their new jobs was different," the company said in a statement.

It said Hay Group is currently conducting a technical study to look into the allegations by the remaining employees about the difference in nature between their previous jobs and the ones being offered to them.

"Alba would like to emphasise that it is awaiting the final results of this study, and affirms its commitment to implement the recommendations outlined in the report," the statement added.

In February, the Gulf Kingdom's Labour Ministry said a total of 937 workers sacked for their roles in last year's Bahrain uprisings had been reinstated.

Out of a total of 2,462 employees who were dismissed, another 608 have been welcomed back by companies and are in the process of being reinstated, the ministry said.

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