Indian workers sacked in Bahrain 30 Nov 2007, 1030 hrs IST,PTI

SMS NEWS to 58888 for latest updates DUBAI: Fifty workers, including several Indians, who took part in the longest running strike in a Bahrain firm, have been sacked, even as arbitration talks were on in the court.

Fifty employees of Almarai dairy, including Bahrainians, Indians and Sri Lankans, have been on strike for the past one month, demanding better pay and conditions. The dairy is a Saudi Arabian Company's plant in Bahrain.

"The strike broke records as Bahrain's longest ever strike, but was brought to an abrupt end when a company lawyer informed the judge overseeing arbitration proceedings that their services had been terminated. The news was delivered via telephone during a packed session at the Justice Ministry arbitration bureau and prompted outrage among those present," Gulf Daily News reported.

Following the announcement, the employees' union declared that it would take the matter up with MPs - specifically those from the Al Wefaq and Al Menbar blocs.

They also announced plans to launch a signature campaign to encourage people to boycott the dairy's products.

"This is an appalling decision and it is against Bahrain's law. We shall take the matter to parliament. They cannot just sack us all like this. There is a proper procedure and it has not been followed," said union spokesman Yousif Ali.

The dispute between the union and the management was initially being heard at the Labour Ministry, but it was later transferred to the arbitration bureau.

The Labour Ministry had earlier said that the company accepted a number of demands made by employees following their first strike in July and had signed an agreement to pay a minimum salary of Rs 2,000 and offer other benefits.

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