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On International Labor Day, Unemployment Rates Keep Rising in Bahrain

Unemployment stats in Bahrain continue to record new levels when real and severe solutions to resolving the unemployed file are absent.

Thousands of graduates have joined unemployment lines in recent years, and the economic impacts of COVID- 19 have led to many Bahrainis losing their jobs.

Two decades later, the Bahraini labour market reform project, conditions for the national workforce have only deteriorated.

The Coronavirus pandemic has also exposed repercussions of the government’s poor decisions and policies, primarily through its Flexible Work Permit and the parallel Bahrainization act, which eliminated virtually every commitment to Bahraini citizens.

A significant increase in the number of unemployed has pushed large numbers to early retirement, contributing to burdening social insurance and causing a significant socio-economic imbalance.

On the eve of International Labor Day, which falls on the first of May of each year, economists expect the number of unemployed to rise during 2021 and the coming years in Bahrain.

This is supported by the results of some studies and expectations regarding the high unemployment rate among Bahrainis, which is a thorny societal issue that every household in Bahrain suffers from.

Experts stress the need for an honest response from the government that addresses the causes instead of providing prosthetic solutions.

At the end of last year, the General Secretary of the General Federation of Bahrain Workers Trade Union, Abdul Qadir Al-Shehabi, revealed that the unemployment rate in Bahrain is 10%.

Al-Shehabi indicated that unemployment is more concentrated among females, who account for two-thirds of the unemployed, or 10 thousand unemployed.

He pointed out that the total unemployment rate in Bahrain is about 15,000 unemployed, more than half of whom live in the Northern Governorate.

The government claims that the unemployed rate ranges at 4.7%, but the numbers reached by the union are more than double that.

Representative in Parliament Ammar Al-Abbas says that he is “surprised at the large numbers of people communicating with him daily from various private companies, complaining about the collective furlough processes.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Bahrani, a member of the Financial and Economic Committee, called on the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to “take swift action to ensure that Bahraini layoffs are contained, which several companies have begun to implement.”

The government’s view converges with the owner’s capital that bringing in and settling cheap labour in the country would enhance the country’s competitiveness.

Specialists warn of the impact of growing poverty and unemployment rates on the social situation of Bahraini families, as a large segment of citizens is facing great difficulties in managing their livelihoods.

With the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bahraini authorities resorted to taking decisions that weighed on citizens last year.

The authorities imposed new fees and taxes despite the severe economic crisis afflicting them. Meanwhile, the Caliph family is competing to squander taxpayers’ money in Bahrain.

According to observers, this is done by establishing and inauguring institutions and the purchase of palaces and sports clubs. Its goal is to form empires for the royals.

In turn, the Bahraini Association for Advancement of the Forum called on all concerned parties to pay attention to the informal employment sector, which is growing and accounts for a quarter of the national workforce.

The association clarified that informal employees are not registered in social insurance, which threatens a future catastrophe due to the lack of social safety, leading to future burdens on the government and society.

Thus, it is more beneficial to start with a social dialogue to protect this group from poverty and deprivation.

BAAF called on official authorities to be transparent about the informal unemployment file and deal accurately with the numbers, instead of excluding thousands from the lists of the unemployed by manipulating the procedures and giving workers inappropriate job opportunities to force them to reject them.

The association reiterated the need for the Bahraini government to work with transparency and seriously to improve the situation of the unemployed and provide them with suitable jobs.

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