EIGHTEEN more firms have been added to the list of companies that will face prosecution for allegedly flouting Bahrain’s summer ban on outdoor work, according to an official.
The number increased from 123 on July 26 to 141 on August 9, as the ban entered its second month.
Until Thursday, labour inspectors had visited 8,437 sites and registered violations involving 294 workers.
“Most of the violations are related to non-compliance with the ban and 87 companies have been referred to prosecution until now,” Labour and Social Development Ministry Labour Inspection director Ahmed Al Hayki told the GDN.
“The number of cases that are facing prosecution till now is 141, which involves 87 companies.
“The number of workers involved in all these cases is 294.
“More than 90 per cent of the violators are construction companies.”
The ban, which has been in place since 2007, is enforced between midday and 4pm every July and August to protect workers from scorching summer temperatures.
The GDN reported last month that the numbers this year were way above compared to last year when 89 violations in total were recorded during the two months.
“Violations were seen in all the four governorates and mainly at small and medium construction sites,” said Mr Al Hayki.
“As stated earlier, the numbers are more not because the violations are more; instead, it is the result of a more strategic approach to reach out to more sites.
“The violators will face fine or imprisonment, or both.
“There will be no compromise on any case of violation irrespective of any justification.
“It has been more than 10 years now and almost all companies, whether big or small, are aware of the law.
“The only people who could be unaware of the law are the new workers and we are trying our best to reach out and spread awareness.”
Meanwhile, Mr Al Hayki pointed to the need for expats to come to Bahrain “legally”, referring to the recent murder of a Bahraini imam.
Shaikh Abduljalil Hmood was brutally slaughtered by a Bangladeshi muezzin (prayer caller), who according to records was a known conman previously blacklisted by his own embassy.
“Illegal workers are not solely the responsibility of the government, there should be a collective effort from civil societies, embassies and other responsible agencies to tackle this,” said Mr Al Hayki.
“We wish to tell people that you don’t have to pay to get a job in Bahrain if you come in legally, and this awareness is what we need to spread.
“Moreover, violators of law should be punished sternly and definitely no one community can be targeted for a crime committed by an individual, as in the recent case of the killing of an imam by an expat worker.
“We are thankful to the expatriate community for their contributions to make our lives comfortable.
“We want them to have a pleasant working environment in Bahrain and the summer work is one among such efforts by the government.”
Shaikh Hmood, the imam of Bin Shiddah Mosque in Muharraq, was killed on August 4.
The GDN reported yesterday that the 39-year-old prayer caller was arrested the following day when he was caught dumping plastic bags containing body parts near a scrapyard in Askar.
He has since confessed to the crime during questioning by the Public Prosecution, while several other people have also been arrested for aiding and abetting.
Bangladesh Ambassador Major General (Rtd) K M Mominur Rahman expressed “deep shock at the brutal killing” calling for “exemplary punishment”.