28 Feb, 2008, 1055 hrs IST, PTI

DUBAI: Rattled by the spate of strikes, by the Asian workers, most of whom are Indians, the Bahrain government has said foreign workers who refuse to work will be immediately deported.

The government has said new visas to replace the deported workers will also be granted to employers so that their work is not disrupted.

Speaking at the first meeting of a trouble-shooting committee set up to tackle with the striking workers, demanding pay rises, Labour Ministry Under-Secretary Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Abdulla Al Khalifa yesterday said that Bahrain has no plans to introduce a minimum wage policy for expatriate labourers.

Shaikh Abdulrahman blamed the strikes on Indian ambassador Balkrishna Shetty's announcement of a new BD100 minimum wage set by India for unskilled Indian workers in Bahrain. India will enforce the minimum salary from March 1.

"Some labourers misunderstood those remarks on the new salary scheme, which will be effective from next month, when new contracts come into force," said Shaikh Abdulrahman.

"However, employers are warned that they have to treat the labourers humanely. I also strongly oppose a company's decision to cut air ticket costs from their employees' salary, because that's an obligation the employer should fulfill, not the workers," he was quoted as saying by Gulf Daily News.

"Inflation has also further escalated the problem, due to the 17 per cent drop in value of the US dollar. Some companies can't properly deal with labourers. Even with the small salaries, those workers are forced to live in appalling accommodation and work under bad conditions, he said

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