x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Building workers end strike over unpaid wages

Workers employed by Al Hamad Contracting, a large construction conglomerate based in Sharjah, end a one-day strike in Bahrain.

Workers employed by Al Hamad Contracting, a large construction conglomerate based in Sharjah, ended a one-day strike in Bahrain yesterday after being given a month's pay, the country's labour ministry said. "They received one month payment and will receive April and May within one week," an official at the ministry told Reuters. The estimated 5,000 striking workers are employed by Al Hamad's Bahrain branch, which is working on several major projects in the country including the Bahrain Financial Harbour, a huge new financial complex in Manama, and Marina West, a beachside residential complex on the island's west coast.

The strike, a rare occurrence in a region where labour unions are virtually non-existent, started on Wednesday after workers complained they had not been paid on time, according to a report yesterday in Bahrain's Gulf Daily News. "Since February, the company has been delaying our salaries by a month and now owes us two months' wages," the paper quoted one worker as saying. But Ezz Watson, the contract manager for Al Hamad, said the company had not delayed payments to labourers.

The strike appears to have ended after one day. A spokesman for Marina West said workers were back on site. Reports of wages being delayed or not paid have spread around the region in recent months as firms battle the global financial crisis. To combat the reported trend, the UAE's Ministry of Labour in April launched a "My Salary" service through which employees could report non-payment. * with Reuters

afitch@thenational.ae