Bapco Starts Taking Measures Requiring Sacrifices, Lays off Foreign Employees

2020-06-14 - 7:06 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The wave of layoffs taking place over the Coronavirus pandemic has hit national companies, as the Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) laid off employees "to ensure its continuity in the future".

In a surprising statement, its Chairman Dawood Nassif did not provide any explanation or specify the number of workers and whether they were Bahrainis or not.

"This year has been difficult for Bapco, with continued negative refining margins, which we have not witnessed before," the statement said.

"We are spending more than we are earning, which requires taking difficult decisions to rationalize expenses to ensure the continuity of Bapco in the future."

Nassif regretted "sending termination notices to a number of employees," calling on the company's employees to "realize that the decisions we have made will require sacrifices in other areas of our operations."

Bapco workers union said in a statement that "the employees and workers were surprised this afternoon (Thursday, June 11, 2020) with the circular issued by the company."

While calling on to be involved in the decisions and the development of scenarios and solutions to this issue, the union stressed "the importance of preserving national employment being an essential asset in sustainable development and the main aid to support the economy."

A labor source said that the number of laid-offs is large, and that so far they are all foreigners (...) The company does not seem to be planning to dispense with Bahrainis at the moment.

A source familiar with the dismissals said the dismissed were foreigners, some of whom received a monthly salary of up to 2,000 dinars.

"It is true that the company dismissed foreigners, but it brought in others at the beginning of the year (...) It seems that the company doesn't know what it wants."

Recent information indicated that at least 200 Asian nationals, most of whom are believed to be from India, joined the company before the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

"If it is really not political, the company should cut its expenses by laying off foreign workers (...) The company didn't need to bring in foreign workers," the source added.

Since taking over the Ministry of Oil Affairs, Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa has hired foreigners in the company and reduced dependence on Bahrainis.

The Ministry of Labor said it has received assurances from Bapco that laying off workers will not affect Bahrainis.

Between the layoffs and the Ministry of Labor's assurances, the company's workers expressed concern over the decisions the board could make.

"Today, the assurances should include not laying off citizens from the company and affecting the employees' career privileges such as bonuses and allowances (...) They should realize that bringing in foreigners was their fault," a union member said. 

Arabic Version