The workers of the world celebrate on the first of May every year, Labor Day, which dates back to the late 19th century in the United States of America, specifically in the city of Chicago; In which trade unions struggled at the time to obtain the rights of their workers, especially the right to work for eight hours a day, and their efforts were crowned with success. Workers’ Day was officially recognized in 1889 AD. Through this celebration, workers hope to create better working conditions that lead to an increase in the standard of living in all practical sectors.
The anniversary comes this year in Bahrain, in light of harsher labor conditions than in the past due to the deteriorating economic conditions and ignoring the outstanding labor problems, not to mention the increase in unemployment rates and the decline in the level of wages. The authority in Bahrain has also prohibited workers from 2011 until today from demonstrating on Labor Day, although the Federation of Trade Unions submitted an official request to authorize the demonstration, but its efforts were unsuccessful.
A few days before Labor Day, the deputies announced in one of the sessions the conversion of 85,000 tourist visitor visas to regular employment, which is causing distortion in the labor market and provoking the feelings of thousands of unemployed and job seekers. Despite the successive statements issued by the Minister of Labor about his ministry’s attempts to restore unemployment to its normal level, the observer of Bahrain’s local affairs notices an increasing number of unemployed and a steady increase in masked employment. This is a violation of Article 1 of the Employment Policy Agreement of 1964 issued by the General Conference of the International Labor Organization, as well as Article 13 of the Constitution of Bahrain.
On the occasion of Labor Day, Nidal Al-Salman – President of Bahrain Center for Human Rights – stated that it is necessary to put plans in place to stop the challenges facing workers in Bahrain, and emphasized giving priority to the Bahraini citizen in job opportunities.
As Bahrain Center for Human Rights extends its congratulations to all workers in Bahrain on the occasion of their holiday, it calls on the authorities in Bahrain to:
- Work for sustainable development to improve the lives of citizens and create a strong and cohesive economy.
- Adopting efficiency in employment and combating discrimination.
- Increasing the salaries of employees in the public and private sectors, the last of which was 21 years ago.