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Thu 18 Jun 2009 01:04 PM

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Bahrain signs deal to improve life for Indian workers

Labour Minister inks agreement to protect low-paid workers against rogue bosses.

Bahrain has signed an agreement with India, the leading supplier of the Gulf state's expat workforce, to give them better protection against unscrupulous bosses.

The new deal includes housemaids who are not covered by Bahrain's Labour Law.

Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the terms of which are binding for the next four years, unless either country decides to scrap the agreement prematurely.

Bahrain is the fifth country in the Gulf to sign a labour and manpower co-operation agreement with India after the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

During 2008, about 31,924 workers emigrated to Bahrain on Emigration Check Required passports.

A committee will be set up to ensure that directives in the agreement are being implemented and will consist of officials at Bahrain's Labour Ministry and the Indian Overseas Affairs Office.

Employers who want to recruit Indian workers will now have to specify the nature of the work they will be doing and the required professional skills.

Other required details include the duration of the contract, an agreed salary and end-of-contract benefits, health services, holidays.

However, either country has the right to demand in writing the termination of the contract at least three months before its official expiry date.

An estimated 150,000 Indians worked in Bahrain, most of them in the construction industry and household sector.