Protesters storm LMRA, verbally abuse staff

Mahmood Rafique


A protest by contractors and small business owners outside the Labour Market Regulatory Authority’s (LMRA) headquarters turned ugly yesterday after a handful of protesters stormed the building and hurled abuse at staff members.

A few dozen members of the Bahraini Contractors Society in association with the General Federation for Employers organised the protest in Sanabis yesterday morning demanding the cancellation of the BD10 fee levied on each foreign worker they employ. They also demanded that illegal workers be repatriated and an end to the phenomenon of runaway workers amongst other conditions.

Protesters then entered the LMRA building and began shouting at the authority’s employees and its executive director, with witnesses saying obscene language was used. This led the LMRA to take legal action against the protesters. In a statement, the LMRAsaid the authority’s employees represent the country and that there is no difference between them and any other government employee and that they should not be disrespected in that manner.

The statement added that the employees are simply doing their jobs according to the processes and regulations set forth by the law. “Therefore, the LMRA is taking legal action against those who entered the building in an uncivilised way, raising their voices,” the authority’s statement said. The statement added that while it regrets taking legal action, it aims to protect the dignity of employees and ensure their safety due to the actions of the protesters, who have engaged in such conduct before.

The protesters, however, decided to continue protesting every Tuesday until all their demands are met. The Director General of the Al Assad Contracting and Construction Company and Hisham Mattar, member of the board of directors of the General Union for Employers, said employers will send a letter to the executive director of the LMRA to seriously look into the demands of the small business owners and SMEs.

Mattar pointed that the protests by contractors and employers will continue during Ramadhan through meetings and symposiums. The protesters also urged members to continue the protests until their demands are met for a large segment of citizens who they said have been negatively impacted by laws imposed by the LMRA which threatens their work and increases the cost of doing business.

“This protest is one of the steps to deliver our message and demands to all the officials and concerned individuals in this country,” a protester added.