General Directions and Policies
This plan was designed in the light of the general directions and policies. It is an authoritative common document to be used as a guide to formulate the programs pertaining to the labour market and achieve the national consensus between the three parties as indicated below:
Firstly: Adaptation of Flexibility and Social Protection
The promotion of the national economy depends on a suitable environment for the growth of the private sector. An environment free from bureaucratic impediments, rigid procedure and corruptive practices. This calls for a constant endeavor to simplification and facilitation of local enterprise and encouragement of the flow of foreign investments in productive projects that create satisfying jobs for local citizens.
The flexibility of work permits procedure for foreign employee constitutes a very important element for the implementation of the new programs and policies. Special consideration will be given to avoid any negative implications on the labour market in the short and long run on job opportunities for national labour. The negative implications may be due to application of liberal policies before creating the suitable circumstances or before ascertaining the ability of the Bahraini employee to be the best option.
The most relevant important issues are:
- Bahranization Procedure and suitable related means to facilitation of importing foreign labour in accordance with Article (42) of Act No. (19) (2006) with Regard to the Regulation of the Labour Market. Fees should be imposed proportionately gradually depending on the target of Bahranization.In other words, the gradual imposition of fees should be corresponding to a gradual Bahranization rate. The two processes should take into account the interests of the employers and employees in a balanced formula. The following factors are to be considered before granting work permits:
A- Preservation of the already achieved Bahranization target by any establishment, whether in the new rates or just from mere numbers, which ever is the highest.
B- Stipulation: Bahraini citizens should get new wok opportunities proportionately to the lowest limit of the prior decided rates, especially in sectors attractive to national labour.National successful policies should be encouraged to secure that economic development and social stability are complementary.
C- Gradual imposition of fees to avoid negative impact on the labour market. Most probably the implications will manifest in the long run. Productivity improvement programs rehabilitates Bahrainis; thus making the replacement process easier.
D- Balanced application of Bahranization systems by concentration on the quality, level of wages, and improvement of performance in a way that achieves justice for both employer and employee.
- The rules and procedure for foreign employers to obtain licenses were set out in order to grant foreign employers facilities and better services. This will lead to encouragement of investments in Bahrain and an increase in job opportunities for Bahrainis. For this reason, the level of services rendered by the Authority should be higher than the current services in terms of proficiency and simplicity. To achieve such goals, there is a need for fortification of coordination with various relevant governmental departments.
- The rules and procedure of licenses of private employment offices: How are they related to activation of “making the B Bahraini the best option”?
Intermediaries and agents play a vital role in employment in the public and private sectors, by satisfying the needs of employers and introducing the unemployed to the labour market. To enhance such vital role, all rigid rules should be abolished.
There is a need for providing some incentives to the private employment offices. This can be done through the employment office of the Ministry of Labour.
Secondly: Fortification of the Private Sector Ability for Competition
The development of the abilities of the Bahraini economy for competition is one of the major challenges facing the Kingdom of Bahrain. There is an increase in rates of contribution of local manpower in an international and regional competitive environment. The Bahraini private sector cannot compete and face the great responsibilities without sound encouraging policies.
A host of devices are necessary , mainly, creating work opportunities and jobs of high caliber, removal of bureaucratic obstacles, establishment of appropriate basis for the growth of the private sector, solidification of the partnership between the state and the private sector in formulation and follow up of economic policy in general and the labour market in particular.
There is a demand for suitable aid and help for the private sector to obtain a highly qualified skillful national labour. This will contribute in decreasing the dependence on foreign labour and can only be achieved through training and rehabilitation of local human resources.
Thirdly: Training of national Human Resources
Training with its professional, technical and electronic dimensions, is considered one of the most decisive factors for the Bahraini citizens to obtain excellent opportunities for jobs of high caliber and real value. This requires, raising the level of coordination between the Labour Fund, Ministry of Labour and the Supreme Council for Vocational Training. The efforts of the three institutions should be directed towards creation of diversified and integration programs for the short and long run. The present and future needs of the private sector can be fulfilled by adopting modern training methods.
Fourthly: Stable, encouraging and progressive environment
The stability and growth of the work environment is considered as one of the most important constituents of sustainable social development in economic, political and social dimensions. Such stability depends on various factors:
- Positive relationships between employer and employee
The basis of such relationships relies on cooperation and constructive dialogue. The interests of both parties should be taken into account. The commitment towards the application of the labour code and other labour legislation that regulates duties and obligations play a main role in labour relationships stability. There is another important role played by the mediation of the Ministry of Labour to avoid labour disputes (collective &individual) or settle them amicably, if they occur. It is to be noted that, solid good relationship between the labour unions and the employers on establishments’ level or on the national level leads to stability of labour relationships.
- The work should be productive for both employee and the establishment, where he works. This goal can be achieved through providing professional training opportunities and development of employees’ creative abilities. The impact of such policies is enormous and will be reflected in establishments’ high productivity. In this respect, continuity of training, psycho- material incentives and clear promotion criteria are factors of utmost importance.
- Existence of healthy working environment that secures professionals safety:
This requires encouraging working conditions for development of work productivity and the preservation of a high standard of health care for the human resources, physically and psychologically in accordance with international and national Professional safety standards. The awareness of workers and responsible officers should be raised and extended to include work premises and workers’ dwellings.
- Increase of economic projects profits levels through elevation of employers and employee performance.
- Continuous investment growth and encouragement of investment in order to create new work opportunities and more profits.
Fifthly: Equal jobs opportunities for all citizens
The Kingdom of Bahrain labour market is not different from other GCC states labour markets with respect to high unemployment levels among females. Though the number of working women increased in quality and quantity in the governmental sector, yet their role in the private sector remain below the current challenges.
The situation calls for sensible well studied plans to formulate policies based on gender equality in the labour Market (Taking in consideration the creation of jobs opportunities for all citizens on the basis of experience and competence without discrimination due to sex, race or colour). Moreover there should be modernization and restructuring of relevant jobs in order to integrate women in the labour market. Through training, women will contribute effectively in economic development.
Sixthly: Efficient Administration of the Labour Market
Efficient administration of the labour market is considered as the tangible and practical application of good governance of society, economy and politics. The technical aspects of efficient administration are closely linked to the level and quality of services rendered to citizens and how such services are adapted to their needs. The political aspects of efficient administration are closely linked to transparency, accountability, watch, supervision, public consultation and effective performance of all governmental institutions.
The success of all these policies requires that all administrative organs of the labour market work as one team with other governmental agencies and civic society organizations including the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, private sectors associations and all other relevant institutions.
Efficient administration of the labour market comprises the following:
- The institutionalized frame work based on clear distribution to the roles and responsibilities of the three complementary parties of the labour market. Special consideration should be given to parties that have great impact on the labour market.
- The legislative frame work for the legality of the institutions. This includes integration of all labour legislation with necessary amendments to insure consistency and adaptability.
- Definite methods and indicators to apply concepts of transparency, social partnership, accountability and evaluation.
Seventhly: Social Dialogue
Social Dialogue is a main factor which contributes to correct formulation of the national plan. The kingdom of Bahrain had done a lot in this respect, though not without difficulties. Nevertheless there were lot of achievements waiting for more fortification and continuous development. The formation of the Board of Directors from the three production partners is an advanced qualitative leap that manifested fortification of the social dialogue.
This concept comprises the following:
- Ensuring the effective application of the concept of public consultation provided for in the Labour Market Regulation Act.
- Cooperation with the Shura Council, the Council of Representatives and the civic organizations in all matters relating to public interests.
- Application of all acts and procedure to combat all forms of corruption in the labour market.
- Fortification of transparency with regard to publication of information and statistics of the labour market.
Eighthly: Regional Integration with the Gulf and Arab world
The free markets with GCC states and other Arab states should not harm local competition. On the contrary, it should enhance local competition through the adoption of the following policies:
- Encouragement of the mobility of national labour between the GCC states.
- Integration of the methods and procedures of combat of the negative impact of mal use of foreign labour and coordination of efforts with regard to negative effects on the demography of the population of the GCC states.
- Coordination in matters relating to fees. There should not be big differences in fees that may have a negative impact on investment.
- Encouragement of the mobility of capital between GCC states to provide more jobs opportunities for the citizens.
- Coordination and united standing in mattes relating to the Arab and international spheres.
- Integration of economic, labour and social policies between the GCC states.
Last Update: Tuesday 11 December 2007