Bahrain Mirror: The Secretary-General of the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions in Bahrain (GFWTUB), Abdulqader Al-Shehabi, warned against the effects of proceeding in the policy of employing foreigners, indicating that the unemployment rate among Bahrainis eligible to work reached 20%.
Foreign workers make up more than 75% of the country's workforce and transfer about 100 million dinars a month abroad, accounting for 40% of the general budget, Al-Shehabi said in an article published in the Delmon Post.
He added that the unemployment rate among qualified youths is up to 20%, wondering why these faults in the labor market are not reformed by employing citizens and replacing them directly instead of foreigners in training programs?
"We can return to Bapco's Brants program, through which thousands of citizens were qualified and recruited before the formation of Tamkeen Action Fund," he said.
"Public debt amounted to 130% of GDP, recording unprecedented levels and for incomprehensible reasons," Al-Shehabi said, noting that debt servicing alone drains 25% of the general budget.
He warned that this could eventually lead to a devaluation of the dinar, if the financial situation was not radically addressed.
Al-Shehabi further stated it is not possible to continue to burden workers and their families with financial balance treatments, while the state's oil resources and derivatives are doubling.
He reiterated his criticism of the introduction of the optional retirement program, which he described as layoffs for Bahraini workers, the imposition of VAT, and the denial of the rights of employees and retirees with respect to the annual increase, at a time the commodity prices increased by 30%.
Al-Shehabi concluded by saying that "Bahrain needs to address the labor market quickly by replacing qualified Bahraini youths in stable jobs, calling for the adoption of legislations that oblige the public and private sectors to employ Bahrainis and the launch of a wage support program."