GULF DIGITAL NEWS
7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Women may lose jobs after budget cuts

WOMEN hired under a graduate recruitment scheme face losing their jobs because of budget constraints, according to a senior unionist.

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) has received several complaints from women working in the private and public sectors who feared their contracts would not be renewed, said secretary general Salman Mahfoodh.

He called on authorities to allocate funds to ensure those who landed jobs under the Rehabilitation and Employment University Graduates Project did not find themselves unemployed again.

The scheme helped around 4,500 graduates, particularly women and jobseekers from the human and social sciences disciplines, secure jobs in the private and public sectors.

The two-year scheme ensured employment and pay of not less than BD400 a month.

'The government in 2009 launched a scheme to employ thousands of young graduates in the private and public sector, but now these companies and ministries do not have the budget to continue employing them,' said Mr Mahfoodh.

'Several women have now come forward and informed the Federation that their contract ends by this month and they will be jobless.'

He said most of those hired under the scheme were female and stressed the need to support measures that bolster the number of women in the workplace.

'We need to integrate more women in the labour market and this requires flexibility from the private and public sector,' he said.

Mr Mahfoodh also urged more women to join trade unions to ensure their rights as employees were protected.

He made the comments yesterday at the opening of a two-day conference called 'Women's contribution in sustainable development,' at the Crowne Plaza's Bahrain Conference Centre.

Unionists from around the Middle East including the GCC, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Yemen are taking part in the event to discuss issues facing the female workforce.

'The Federation board has a 20 per cent ratio of women heading key committees, which shows they play a key role in our decision-making,' said Mr Mahfoodh.

'We would like to see more women unionists in the near future as they are equal partners in the workforce.'

Several women were present at the conference, which was also attended by Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway) board member Ellen-Kathrine Fauske.

The conference is taking place just over a week after Bahraini Women's Day, but GFBTU women and children affairs head Suad Mubarak told the GDN that some female employees were scared of losing their jobs if they joined union activities.

'We have failed to convince female workers to join trade unions because they fear their employers will take action against them,' she said.

'It is important to have women on board when we talk about their rights and empowerment.'

According to the latest figures, the total number of unemployed Bahrainis by the end of June was 7,180, of which 15pc were men (1,085) and 85pc (6,095) were women.

Labour Market Regulatory Authority figures for the second quarter showed there were 154,611 Bahrainis in jobs at the end of June, of which 54,101 were women.

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