The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) warned of massive worker dismissals using the pandemic as a convenient excuse after it received several complaints from both Bahraini and non-Bahraini workers that their companies plan to terminate them after the COVID-19 support period.
The union said that it has received 42 cases of dismissal from work, 18 of which were directly related to the COVID-19 crisis, while not ruling out that the rest could also be related to the health crisis. It said that it has already transmitted 20 cases to its lawyer and has resolved 6 cases by negotiating with employers.
GFBTU said that it is engaged with the Ministry of Labour and private sector on how to amicably resolve the issue. It reminded companies that workers have financial, family and social obligations which should be seriously considered before resorting to dismissals. It urged employers to find solutions that preserve workers’ rights, respect their obligations, and take into account their current social and health conditions.
GFBTU Secretary General Abdul Qadir Al-Shihabi also warned that some companies might declare bankruptcy due to the limited commercial activities brought by the lockdown measures. He said that the government should revisit its wage subsidies in support of workers, enterprises and Bahrainization, a strategic policy to regulate the labour market and help Bahraini workers. “Since 80 percent of the workforce are not nationals and do not benefit from wage subsidies, there is an imperative to rationalize the criteria on what economic institutions should be supported.”