19 October 2010
Several businessmen are claiming that the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) is providing more assistance to runaway workers than they are to Bahraini employers.
A business conference held recently highlighted the problem of absconding workers. Delegates explained that companies incur financial losses when their employees run away and the fees imposed by the LMRA continue to exacerbate this problem. Speaking to DT, former business owner Abdul Aziz, who has been out of work for eight months after losing his business, stated:
“These employees are bleeding us dry. They run away and we are still asked to pay fees to the LMRA.” “I complained about runaway employees, but because they did not receive a CPR number when they arrived in Bahrain, the LMRA said I could not complain about the matter. However, the only reason why they did not have a CPR number is because the network was down at the airport when they arrived. This is not my fault.”
Fellow businessman Nader Alawi added: “We are continuously losing money because of these deserters. The LMRA is breaking its own rules. They ask us to go and complain about runaway workers, which we do. But after filing the complaint we are surprised to find that the deserters are working for another company legally, and that our original complaint has been cancelled by the LMRA so that they can work legally for another company.”
The LMRA has dismissed these claims. Speaking to DT, LMRA official Waheed Al Balushi stated: “It is impossible that the runaway worker has no CPR. Before they are brought into the country, they already have an assigned CPR number. The network in the airport may be down at times, but this does not mean that they do not have a CPR number.” “Also, nobody has to pay for fees for runaway workers.
Whatever loss they are saying they have incurred is the result of the contracts that they were unable to fulfil and not related to the LMRA directly”.