India insists on minimum wage for workers in Gulf

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Dubai, Feb 8: The Indian Government is introducing a new rule from March 1 stipulating that unskilled workers planning to take up jobs in Bahrain be paid a minimum wage of 100 Dinars (265 dollars) a month.

In a move that will have far reaching impact on the life of over two million Indian blue collar workers in the Gulf, the rule may drastically cut the number of Indians taking up unskilled jobs in the Gulf countries which will be forced to look for cheaper labour from Bangladesh and Nepal while ensuring that the Indian labour in the Gulf will not be exploited, industry watchers said.

The unskilled workers including construction labourers will not be allowed to migrate unless they have contracts attested by the Indian embassy confirming the minimum wage, Bahrain's Gulf Daily News reported today.

The Indian government is fixing minimum wages for each Gulf country, according to the local cost of living.

It will protect workers from exploitation, inflation and the rising value of the rupee, said Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty. Employers in Bahrain have already fallen in line with the 100 Dinars minimum wage for Indian maids, implemented last October, he said.

The minimum wage legislation comes into force on March 1, and will apply to Indian workers already in Bahrain when their current contract expires.

The Indian ambassador to UAE Talmiz Ahmad told the sources in an interview last week that minimum wages was a sensitive issue as the Indian worker believes he is free to negotiate the terms and conditions he is happy with.

The new law follows a series of protests by workers in Bahrain and other Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries recently over low pay and poor living conditions.


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