Some updates to stories I've posted about recently:
Today's GDN reports that the Cabinet condemned the illegal Consitutional Reform Rally that was held in Sitra on Friday. And once again the GDN decides to not include any statements from Al Wefaq. According to a post on BahrainOnline last night, the Cabinet has asked the Interior Ministry to take action against Al Wefaq, which may involve a closure of the group for 45 days. (I'm not sure what the government hopes to achieve by shutting down or suspending a group's license. Recall that the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was shut down, yet last month representatives travelled all the way to Geneva to deliver a shadow report to the UN condemning the goverment!) Meanwhile, the Committee for the Unemployed will be holding the second in its series of demonstrations in the Seef district this Saturday (April 2) at 3.30pm, coinciding with Formula 1 weekend. It will be interesting to see how government responds to this. (The police did not interfere with the first protest, held last month).
The workers — mainly from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — claimed two other workers had committed suicide in the past, another died of a heart attack and five others became insane as a result of harsh working conditions that require them to work for more than 12 hours daily. They blamed the manager of the factory for their ordeal.
The workers also alleged physical abuse by floor managers and said they were not getting proper food and medical care.
Harinder Lamba, general manager of the company, dismissed the claims of mistreatment and low-wages [Hah!] as untrue. (Continued)
The GDN provides further details, reporting that the workers have submitted petitions to the Indian and Bangladeshi embassies:
Over 400 workers are calling for an investigation into the suicide of an Indian tailor, which prompted a riot at the garment factory where he worked.
They submitted a petition to the Indian and Bangladesh Embassies, as well as the police, yesterday demanding action against the management of MRS Fashions, in East Riffa.
The workers claim Madhu Babu, 25, was driven into taking his own life because of the ill-treatment that was dished out to him.
A tailor who spoke on behalf of his colleagues said it is the third such incident at the company in two years.
He claimed that Mr Babu was the second employee to commit suicide, while a third man allegedly suffered a heart attack because he was overworked. "We want the company to treat us as human beings," said the spokesman, who asked to remain anonymous.
"We all witnessed what happened to Mr Babu and we no longer feel safe working there." (Continued)