MOU seeks to fix Responsibility of Employers and Workers18 SEp :The Union Cabinet today approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Labour and Manpower Development between India and Bahrain for protection and welfare of Indian workers in that country.
The MoU enumerates the responsibilities of the employers and workers and will facilitate employment of workers between the two countries. It gives broad procedure for employment of workers and provides for protection and welfare of all categories of workers under the labour laws and other relevant laws of the host country. The agreement envisages bilateral co-operation between India and Bahrain to facilitate the mobilization and recruitment of manpower and exchange of expertise, knowledge and experience in job creation and generation of employment opportunity. The MoU also provides for authentication of the work contract between employer and the employee by the Ministry of Labour of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
India has already signed similar labour agreements with Jordan, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait. Negotiations with Oman and Malaysia have been finalised.
The Cabinet also approved the constitution of a Joint Committee to implement the MoU and to review employment opportunities and availability of corresponding skills in both countries. The Committee will co-ordinate between the two countries in the implementation of the MoU and take such further action as may be found necessary.
During the visit of Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs to Bahrain in May, 2006, he discussed the desirability of negotiating such a MoU with the Bahraini Government. The 4th meeting of the Bahrain-India Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation was held during 14th – 15th November 2007 at Bahrain. During the Meeting, the Government of Bahrain agreed in principle to sign the MOU. Officials from India and Bahrain held formal negotiations on 25th – 26th April, 2008 for finalization of the MoU
Bahrain is an important destination for Indian workers. There are an estimated 1.35 lakhs Indian workers in Bahrain out of nearly 2.70 lakh foreigners in Bahrain. Most of the Indian workers work in industries, the construction sector and as housemaids. During 2007, about 30,000 workers emigrated to Bahrain on ECR passports after obtaining emigration clearance from the Protectors of Emigrants. During 2006, this number was 37,688.
The condition of the Indian workers is often far from satisfactory. Complaints about ill treatment and exploitation of workers and housemaids have been received in the past. It is therefore, important to enter into a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Bahraini Government to lay down a framework for bilateral co-operation for the promotion of employment and for the protection and welfare of our workers.