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Bahrain strike called off, wages raised
Dubai, Feb 14 A six-day old strike by over 2,000 workers, including 1,400 Indians, at a Bahrain construction firm was withdrawn today after the company management agreed to a nearly 27 per cent hike in the salary.

The announcement was made by the country's Labour Minister Majeed Al Alawi in Manama this afternoon, ending six days of stand-off between the management and the striking workers, Indian Ambassador to Bahrain Balakrishna Shetty told PTI.

Under the terms of the deal, the workers will get a monthly salary hike of Bahraini Dinar (BD) 15 and their wages during the period of strike will not be deducted. The workers were getting BD57 at present.

Earlier today, nearly 1,000 employees went to work, but the rest did not, sources said, adding when the first lot returned from work, there was some tension in the labour camp which was resolved with intervention of Indian Embassy officials.

The workers went on strike on Saturday at Durrat Al Bahrain residential development and resort project. The workers are employed by contracting firm GP Zachariades.

Durrat al-Bahrain, or "Pearl of Bahrain", is a multi- billion-dollar project consisting of 15 man-made islands.

The management of GP Zachariades yesterday said the striking workers will have to resume duty, otherwise they will not be interested in talking to them.

The workers were demanding a minimum monthly salary of BD100 (Rs 10,481), saying they currently receive just BD57 a month. They had also planned to march around 30 km from their accommodation to the Labour Ministry on Sunday, but were locked inside the labour camp.

The men were joined in their strike by another 500 workers at a different labour camp in West Eker. The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) also backed the striking workers.

Labour Minister Alawi had ordered for a committee to be set up to resolve the dispute, headed by Under-Secretary Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

It is one of the several strikes involving expatriate workers in Bahrain since February 4.

The other strikes took place at Bahrain Precast Concrete Company, Almoayyed Contracting, Hafeera Contracting Company and the Mohsin Haji Ali Group.

Three of them appear to have been resolved, while workers at the Mohsin Haji Ali Group gave the company until today to come up with a better deal.

Another strike by 1,000 Asian workers at Habib Ali Awachi and Sons Group on Tuesday was called off when the management promised to consider workers' demands. PTI
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
FILED IN: Business |Bahrain
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