Lankan workers return to work

10 August 2012 02:35 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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More than 1,500 workers including Sri Lankans who went on a week-long strike returned to work yesterday after they accepted a salary increase.

They claimed Ambattur Clothing International had given their Bahraini colleagues a pay rise, but excluded them.

The Sri Lankan and Indian workers downed their tools last Thursday when the garment factory refused their demand for a BD10 increase in salary, saying it would have cost them around BD15,000.

However, after a week of negotiations with the Labour Ministry and Sri Lankan officials, the company agreed to a BD5 increase for each worker.
"The workers were upset and demanding a pay rise after the management gave an increment to Bahrainis only," said Sri Lankan honorary consul general P B Higgoda.

"The factory gave a pay rise to Bahrainis but not for others, so they demanded a BD10 increase, but the company refused.

"The management was unable to go to that level as there are 1,500 workers and paying BD10 to each worker would have cost them BD15,000.
"The factory then offered them a BD3 increase in salary, but the workers refused and stopped working."

Mr Higgoda said Sri Lankan officials had to intervene because among the disgruntled workers, 1,100 were their nationals.
"We were involved in the matter and I personally visited the workers at their labour accommodation in Ma'ameer," he added.
"I called the Labour Ministry and factory management for discussions.

"I also called our Foreign Employment Bureau and informed them about the strike because a large number of Sri Lankan workers were involved.
"Officials from Sri Lanka came to Bahrain and we had several meetings to sort out the matter as the company wanted the workers to go back to work.
"We also formed a workers' committee and notified the company. "After several meetings, we finally agreed to an increase of BD5 for all the workers." The GDN was unable to reach company officials for comment yesterday. (Source: Gulf Today)

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