Bahrain not to deport striking Indian workers

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Dubai, Mar 4 (UNI) Bahrain, in a volte face, denied that foreign labourers, many of them from India, face deportation if they go on strike, stressing that recent protests were a legitimate right of workers.

Labour Minister Mr Majeed Bin Mohsin Al Alawi defended the actions of labourers on Sunday and said deportation was not part of the country's labour policy, the official Bahrain News Agency reported.

''Going on strike is a legitimate, peaceful way for workers to defend their social and economic interests which has been approved by trade union laws and international agreements signed by Bahrain,'' he added.

However, he said downing tools should be the last resort after dialogue and negotiations fail, since employers were within their rights to terminate contracts to ensure projects were completed on time.

Mr Al Alawi described five of at least 10 recent strikes as illegal because they did not meet the conditions of labour union laws, without giving further details.

His statement appeared to indicate division within the government on how to solve labour disputes as a recent announcement by the Labour Ministry said striking labourers would be deported.

The statement will have repercussions in all the GCC countries as Dubai recently deported 45 striking Indian workers for allegedly resorting to violence during a strike demanding better pay and living conditions.

It will also go against the contractors in Bahrain who are pressing India not to implement the minimum wage proposal of 100 dirhams (Rs 10,000) for workers.

The new minimum wage rule was due to come into force on March 1, but was delayed until yesterday.

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