Committee formed to monitor Bahrain's new labour law

Decision taken after company chiefs voice concern about scrapping sponsorship system.
Committee formed to monitor Bahrain's new labour law
By Andy Sambidge
Thu 14 May 2009 06:59 AM

Company chiefs in Bahrain have met with government officials to voice their opposition to the country's proposed scrapping of the sponsorship system.

A Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) delegation, led by chairman Dr Essam Fakhro, met parliament chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani, in a meeting also attended by Labour Minister and LMRA chairman Dr Majeed Al Alawi.

It was agreed to set up a committee to monitor the impact of the new law, which is due to be implemented on August 1, and to suggest amendments if necessary, Gulf Daily News reported on Thursday.

Dhahrani told the paper that the government should have consulted with the private sector before taking any decision that would affect businesses.

"I welcome the formation of a channel between the BCCI and the ministry and I hope the conflict is overcome, with the government reconsidering its decision to apply it within three months," he added.

"We already have a joint committee with the BCCI and the Bahrain Businessmen Society and are willing to give them our support to ensure businessmen never get adversely affected."

Under the new regulations, foreign workers will be directly sponsored by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and therefore able to move jobs without the consent of their previous employer.

The previous system, which is common in the Gulf Arab states and under which employers do the sponsoring, has long been criticised by human rights groups for placing workers at the whim of their employers, who have been known to take their passports.

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