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Wed 11 Mar 2015 01:37 PM

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Four Seasons Bahrain workers said to be in wages dispute

More than 100 expat employees working for subtractor claim they have not been paid for two months

Four Seasons Bahrain workers said to be in wages dispute

More than 100 expat employees who worked on the new five-star Four Seasons hotel in Bahrain have allegedly not been paid for two months.

The 125 electrical and mechanical staff work for Mercury Contracting, a subcontractor on the newly completed Four Seasons Bahrain Bay project.

They began striking on February 28, staging a protest in front of the hotel and claiming non-payment of wages. This week they said they were originally promised they would be paid the previous week but instead received just BD50 each on Sunday, reports the Gulf Daily News.

The hotel, which opened on March 1, is quoted in the article as saying it is not involved in paying the salaries of subcontractors' employees, while a spokeswoman for Mercury Contracting reportedly told the newspaper that wages should have been paid by the main contractor, named in the article as Six Construct. The Gulf Daily News wrote that it had been unable to reach Six Construct for comment.

However, the spokeswoman for Mercury Contracting is quoted as saying: “It is true the workers are on strike and in fact other Mercury employees involved with the project have also not been paid.

“We had a meeting with them [Six Construct] two weeks before the opening of the hotel and they said they were ready to pay only 30 percent of the salaries and the reason for this decision is unclear.

She added: “We cannot stop the workers from striking as it is their right, but the contractor could seek legal action on non-negotiable terms, as striking is a breach of contract. As of now, it is uncertain as to what could be done.”

Those on strike include Indian, Pakistani and Filipino workers. One worker reportedly told the newspaper that electrical and mechanical staff are supposed to be paid basic salaries of between BD65 and BD150.

The BD50 paid to each worker on Sunday helped to settle food and grocery bills but not other crucial expenses. “We have families back home who depend solely on our salaries, and there are around 30 of us whose visas have expired,” the anonymous worker added.

Update: Pierre
Sironval, managing director of Six Construct, issued the following statement to
Arabian Business: “An immediate investigation has taken place in regards to the
protest described [in your article]. We confirm that there has not been a
strike in front of the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay but workers were gathered
in front of our office.

“We fully understand the reasons behind the workers’
complaints regarding delayed payment of their salaries by our sub-contractor
Mercury, who is responsible for satisfying the grievances of their workers. We
sympathise with the workers’ plight and hope that Mercury will resolve this
matter at the earliest.

“The name of Six Construct has unfortunately been
misused by Mercury and provided the public with false claims. Though Six
Construct is the main contractor, it pays Mercury in accordance to their
contract. In turn, we expect Mercury to honour its agreement with its employees
and workers.”

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