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Labour problems yet again...

Comment
Winfred Peppinck


Once again, the labour problem rears its ugly head.
A distressing report in the GDN about the anti-social problems being inflicted on the populous by itinerant labourers.
Problems of drunkenness, disorderly behaviour, lack of requisite modes of dress, even blatant nakedness, raw sewage in the street, garbage simply thrown out of the window, or just dropped outside residential premises.
Simply not acceptable, in every respectable society.
Too right for people to complain.
But let’s work back to the root causes of the problem.
The problem is that the whole free visa system has been corrupted into a money making scheme, with numerous injudicious “on selling” arrangements, in that “fine and forget” way.
The micro aspects of the story starts with the landlord, like the one who expressed astonishment when he found that his lease was with one senior expatriate worker, or more likely, the Bahraini owner of the workers.
The person who, paid for their employment under the free visa system, and was then saddled with the requirement to “house them.”
Plenty of space available, in residences or properties requiring renovation.
In Manama, presumably, to “speed the workers” to the required construction site.
Again, the owner expressed astonishment, when he discovered, as a result of complaints and inspection by government authorities, that in the place which he rented out to one person, there were now 30 people living on the premises!
You don’t have to “imagine” the consequences of a fire, as the reality happens all too often!
Firemen, often unable to get to the source of the fire, due to narrow streets, and the absence of nearby fire hydrants.
What a terrible lapse, mandatory inspection, which should have been taken, if not on a monthly basis, then certainly on a biannual timescale.
The problem is that these sorts of places are usually rented out at a substantial monthly price, with the tenants forced by one of their own to pay some rent from their meagre wages, for things like beds and the use of other facilities.
Venality knows no bounds, from property owner to property renter/buyer, to slave labour “foreman.”
There is no need for construction workers to be enmeshed in dense residential areas, and they wouldn’t be, if there had been any action on proposals to create a workers dormitory “villages,” with convenience stores, movie theatre, recreational facilities, on the
outskirts of Manama, Muharraq, Sitra or areas beyond the suburban fringe.
Inaction always creates problems, where there is agreement by governments and authorities that something has to be done, bills passed by parliament, yet people sit on their hands, letting the problem just roll along. 
Just look at how long it has taken, is still being taken, to establish mono rail or light rail, for Bahrain!
Years.
There will always be a requirement, for the foreseeable future, for Bahrain, requiring cheap labour force for construction work, therefore an urgent need, to clean up the whole labour workforce issue from top to bottom. 

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