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

Unpaid wages row

A TOTAL of 178 labourers at a construction company downed tools yesterday in a row over pay.

They also staged a protest outside Cyprus Building and Road Construction Company in Manama, claiming they have not been paid for three months.

Some of those on strike are Pakistani and Bangladeshi men, while 140 of them are Indian nationals who have approached their embassy in Adliya for assistance.

One of the Indian employees told the GDN that majority of the workers, who earn between BD70 and BD120 a month, have been unable to support their families back home for months.

'We are forced to do this because this is the second time we are facing such a situation,' he said on condition of anonymity.

'We were not paid for October, November and December, but we did not protest and instead we remained inside the office and refused to work as we did not want to shame our company.

'Then the company paid us for two of the months and agreed to pay December's salary later on.

'But they never paid us that and they also did not pay us for January and February '“ that's three months.

'We have decided not to return to work until we get our salaries as we are finding it difficult to survive.

'We have expenses and families waiting for money as many of us are the only earning members in our families.'

However, a company representative said the employees had refused to accept their salaries for one month, and had demanded to be paid altogether.

'The salaries are paid around the 15th of every month as we have to calculate the overtime dues for the workers, which has been the practice for years,' he told the GDN.

'So, it is only two months' pay that is actually pending, while one month's pay is ready which they are refusing to accept and instead demanding all the pending wages together.'

The Indian Embassy said it has intervened in an attempt to resolve the issue.

'The employer is out of Bahrain and they agreed that there were salaries for three months pending,' said an official.

'The company is ready to pay one month's salary now but the labourers are not ready to accept it.

'We are waiting for the employer to get back.'

Labour Ministry officials could not be reached for a comment yesterday.

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