Friday, February 15, 2008 (Dubai) Amid labour unrest in Bahrain by foreign workers, majority of them Indians, Manama on Friday virtually rejected New Delhi's attempt to fix the minimum wage for its nationals taking up employment in the Gulf country.

Bahrain is keen to protect the rights of foreign workers, but the recent move by India of fixing a minimum wage of BD100 for unskilled workers couldn't be applied in other countries, Bahrain's Labour Minister Majeed Al Alawi said.

''However, it is entirely the right of the Indian government to determine a minimum wage for its workers and prevent their nationals from leaving India to take up jobs which do not pay the fixed wage,'' Al Alawi added.

Stressing that India's relations with Bahrain are ''extremely good'', the minister said ''We have lived with Indians for many years and our relationship goes far beyond jobs''.

Foreign labourers employed in various construction firms in Bahrain recently downed their tools demanding better pay and improved living conditions. Most of them have agreed to return to work after reaching a compromise with their employers.

''We do not want to see any agitation between the Indian community and their Bahraini employers,'' the minister was quoted as saying in Gulf Daily News.

''What we want to see is a strong partnership from which both sides will benefit,'' he said adding the society in Bahrain is multi-cultural and it has always welcomed expatriates from other countries.