Bahrain Roundup 2020: Unemployment Rate Reaches 10%, Mass Dismissals of Bahrainis and Platform Made to Employ Foreigners

2021-01-28 - 4:40 am

Bahrain Mirror (Roundup 2020): Unemployment in Bahrain increased dramatically in 2020, amid the absence of real and serious solutions to the unemployment issue, which has become an additional threat to the country's stability that has been long lost for about a decade.

Thousands of graduates have joined the unemployment queues, while the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have led many Bahrainis to lose their jobs. However, the government has not provided data on the effects the pandemic has left on the labor market. 

Ammar Al-Abbas, a Member of Parliament, said he was "surprised by the large numbers that contact him on a daily basis from various private companies, which reveals the continuation of mass dismissals." Meanwhile, Mahmoud Al-Bahrani, a member of the Finance and Economic Committee, called on the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to "act quickly to contain the layoffs of Bahrainis, which several companies have started."

Minister of Labor Jameel Hamidan did not hide his understanding of the measures taken by some companies and said during his meeting with a Member of Parliament "the labor market by its nature is subjected to the system of supply and demand (...) If some establishments lay off some of their employees, the ministry will employ them in other institutions and companies."

Minister Hamidan's remarks show the government's new policy in prioritizing the interests of capitalists at the expense of Bahraini workers.

Traders believe that the Bahraini worker should not enjoy any protection.

"Labor market reform is done through lifting the protection of an employee, regardless of his nationality, including the Bahraini employee," Fakhro said in a press interview.

The government's view meets that of the venture capitalists in the idea that bringing and settling cheap labor in the country would enhance the competitiveness of Bahrain's economy.

The Labor Market Regulatory Authority, a government body responsible for regulating the workforce, has launched an online platform to help companies hire irregular workers.

The platform "will contribute to reducing the presence of irregular employment in the Kingdom," said Osama Al-Absi, the authority's president.

He added in a press statement that the platform "aims at facilitating the private sector's access to the workers it needs in light of the difficulty of hiring workers from abroad and the impact of air traffic, in support of the continued growth of the private sector."

A Bangladeshi newspaper revealed that the authority was on its way to grant 40,000 Bangladeshi workers the right to reside in Bahrain legally.

For its part, the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions launched a national program for registering the unemployed in cooperation with charities in various provinces. The results revealed that the unemployment rate in the country is at 10%.

The government claims that the unemployment rate is at 4.7%, but the figures recorded by the Union are almost double. 

The Secretary-General of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), Abdulqadir Al-Shihabi, revealed that the national project has registered 15,000 unemployed in Bahrain.

Al-Shihabi confirmed that the results of the study were submitted in an integrated manner to the office of Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Arabic Version