Bahrain - 04 Aug: A TOTAL of 49 companies in Bahrain have been blacklisted by the Indian Embassy for allegedly cheating their workers, it was revealed yesterday.
Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty said the list included firms who kept workers in cramped living quarters or unhygienic conditions, failed to pay their salaries on time, physically abused them or had not provided safety measures at worksites.
The action means the embassy will pass the rogue companies' names to labour authorities in India so potential recruits can be forewarned before they travel to Bahrain.
Mr Shetty said the number of firms caught violating laws had gone up sharply in recent times, but the embassy was working with Bahraini authorities to ensure everything was being done to prevent abuse.
"This is normal practice when a company mistreats or has a consistent record of badly treating its employees," Mr Shetty said.
"Naturally we have to take action against and alert the authorities in India that they should not accept any employees with such companies."
Many mistreatment cases are raised at the embassy's monthly open house meetings with community members, but Mr Shetty said evidence was collected before any action is taken.
Officials thoroughly investigate the allegations and will write to the company concerned, giving them a chance to respond, before the embassy makes recommendations for change, he said.
If the firm fails to respond or does not take steps to alter its treatment of workers it is automatically blacklisted.
"We find that some of these companies claim that they are being defamed but they are the ones that have ignored the law," said Mr Shetty.
"We do it (blacklisting) in a very systematic manner.
"I do not think anyone can object to us demanding that workers are treated according to laws in Bahrain.
"These firms are harming the good companies in Bahrain because they do not pay their own workers fairly and they are able to undercut the good companies.
"The good companies in Bahrain will benefit from this and the bad ones will be eliminated.
The ambassador added once a company has been blacklisted it is possible for a firm to come off the list, if evidence and a written guarantee was provided that it had change its ways.
Also Read : Achievers - Balakrishna Shetty Indian Ambassador to Bahrain