Manama (Bahrain), Mar 1 : New Delhi's hope of emulating its success in imposing a minimum wage for Indian maids looks in doubt with the withdrawal of a decision to help unskilled labourers by Monday.
The decision to fix a BD 100 (around Rs 10, 481) minimum wage for Indian labourers signing new contracts in Bahrain was scheduled to come into force today, but has been frozen until the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry resumes work on Monday. It may be withdrawn following unexpected resistance from the Bahrain's Government and contractors.
New Delhi decision to fix a minimum wage for maids last October was accepted by Bahrain despite some limited protests, and the success seems to have encouraged Indian authorities to apply the same measure for its 230,000 unskilled workers. arlier in February, Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty said unskilled workers on fresh contracts would be given a minimum wage of BD100 to help them with spiralling costs of living.
His remark, which he insisted was in accordance with the policy decided by New Delhi, sparked a series of unprecedented strikes and the paralysis of work in one of Bahrain's largest work sites.
Several contractors and some officials blamed Ambassador Shetty for his statement, claiming that it acted as a catalyst for strikes, and warned of dire consequences.
Some contractors talked about seeking menial labour from other countries, such as Vietnam.
According to a Gulf News report, Ambassador Shetty rejected the charges, saying he was merely implementing his country's decisions to protect its citizens against rising costs of living and the falling value of foreign currencies against the Indian rupee.
New Delhi had succeeded last October in implementing a decision to fix the minimum wage for maids at BD100 and to offer them a mobile to be able to call their embassy in the event of an emergency.