Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bahrain following through on labor market reforms

Bahrain is doing good things to rationalize its labor market, and put domestic workers at less of a disadvantage. The Financial Times reports:
The focus of the protesters’ anger is a BD10 ($26.6) monthly tax on every foreign worker, introduced last July. The funds are to be used by Tamkeen – “the enabler” – to train Bahraini nationals for work in the private sector, as part of wider reforms intended to cut unemployment, diversify the economy and reduce the public wage bill.
“I already pay BD200 to bring a worker into the country, and now they’re taxing me to keep him,” says Ibrahim Yousef of the Bahrain Contractors’ Society. Local fishermen, many of whom employ workers from India and Pakistan, went on strike in February in protest.
An independent regulator, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, was hived off from the Labour Ministry in 2006. The LMRA is responsible for registering foreign employees and licensing new companies. It is one of the few such bodies in the Gulf to publish job market data.

The second task was job creation. Tamkeen has accumulated a BD66m war chest, to be spent over the next four years....
The source of Tamkeen’s finances also preserves its semi-independence – it answers to the Economic Development Board, brainchild of Bahrain’s reformist crown prince.

A populist parliament has attempted to derail the government’s reforms on several occasions. This week, Bahrain’s labour minister quashed a law drafted by deputies that would impose a BD500 fine on “runaway workers” who leave their jobs without permission.
One of the many advantages of foreign workers is that they can contract not to leave their jobs, whereas Bahrainis cannot. Imposing the fine would have only enhanced this contractual advantage.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:51 AM  
Anonymous afrodisiacos said...

Quite useful info, thank you for the article.

7:40 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home