Bahraini MP’s Back Workers Call For Wage Rise


Over 10,000 government workers earning an average BD200 monthly wage joined a signature drive by the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Union last month asking the government to raise salaries.

These are for workers belonging to the Grades 1 to 10 levels in the Civil Service Bureau payroll.

MPs belonging to the Al Wefaq last week proposed for a salary hike though in separate deals.

The MPs are proposing 30 per cent increase for those within the Grades 1 to 6 levels and 20 per cent for those within the Grades 7 to 10 scale.

“It is a package we believe is just for the workers to help them cope with the rising standards of living. We are bound to help them maintain a quality of life above the poverty level,” said MP Jassim Hussein Ali of the parliament finance committee, one of proponents of the wage increase.

The MPs argued that the government is in a position to raise the wages especially after it registered a budget surplus in previous years.

“The latest available record that we have is 2005 where Bahrain posted a budget surplus of BD257million. That means the government is in a position to finance a wage increase,” MP Ali said.

MPs supporting the proposal are optimistic that it will be passed soon by parliament.
Some 15,000 workers are expected to be affected by the proposal.

There are some 39,000 workers in the public sector, about 35,000 of them Bahrainis. The figures exclude those in the military service.

The MPs proposal was not directly linked to the union-backed petition for wage increases, sources told the Tribune, but several union members are delighted with the proposal.
“They (the MPs) have a separate proposal on wage increases but just the same the common ground is that there is indeed an urgent need to raise the pay scale,” a union leader said. “The parliament proposal only justifies the petition,” he said.

A study done by an independent research centre a year ago showed that an average Bahraini household of four should have an income of at least BD350 a month to stay above the poverty line.

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