New offices for labour disputes

LABOUR complaints can now be filed at two new offices opened by the country’s labour watchdog yesterday.

The ‘Labour Claims Departments’ at the Expat Protection Centre in Sehla and the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) branch in Riffa will register all labour-related disputes, including non-payment of wages.

The complainant will be given a case number and a court hearing date as soon as the grievance is recorded.

The offices were officially inaugurated by Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa in the presence of LMRA chief executive Ausamah Al Absi.

“We have an agreement with the ministry that on their behalf we will receive and submit labour disputes from employees to the ministry,” Mr Al Absi told the GDN.

“Any worker with a dispute of any kind now has a choice to visit the new offices in the Sehla and Riffa branches of LMRA instead of going to the labour court.”

However, Mr Al Absi pointed out that the offices will not deal with existing cases which are already in court.

“We are just helping workers get their cases registered which we think will make life much easier for them.

“Our Sehla and Riffa branches are easier to reach than the Diplomatic Area.

“We have translators to help the workers and the LMRA’s database will be available in these offices which will help easy access to details of the employee and employers.”

Mr Al Absi, who is also chairman of National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Bahrain, said the plan to set up these offices was in the “pipeline” as part of the authority’s efforts to ensure effective implementation of government directives to speed up procedures and increase co-ordination between government agencies.

“It is also part of the government’s strategic work programme to speed up the settlement of labour disputes,” he added.

On the occasion, Shaikh Ali said the offices will contribute to speeding up the registration of labour disputes.

“This step paves the way to include a number of legal services related to labour disputes through a single point, which will enhance the effectiveness of judicial procedures and raise the efficiency of performance,” he added, while appreciating the LMRA’s efforts.

The offices will work five days a week, from Sunday to Thursday, from 8am to 4pm.