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Transporting Workers

On April 20, 2007

Manama, Bahrain

A few weeks back, we wrote about a serious accident which put several foreign workers in hospital beds. It seems that some months prior to this incident, the Bahraini government proposed that workers be transported to and from work in covered vehicles. A normal person would interpret that as, "workers should be transported in buses or vans." But the crafty businessmen whom this was directed at took it literally and simply threw in some extra plywood to cover the sides of those trucks and viola! We have a covered vehicle.

Transporting Workers

...the business community in Bahrain says it is not practical to transport all workers by buses to their workplaces and back.

"It will cause huge financial burden for businessmen," said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board member and contractors' committee chairman Samir Nass.

"The number of labourers in Bahrain is about 200,000.

"The cost of providing air-conditioned transport for all of them is estimated at BD50 million to BD100m."

Mr Nass said transporting construction workers on air-conditioned buses would also adversely affect their health.

"After travelling in an air-conditioned environment for half an hour or so, when they step out into hot and humid weather conditions, they are likely to catch cold," he said.

Catch a cold huh. I have been driving for nearly a decade in near freezing temperatures inside my car during those merciless Saudi summers and I never caught even a simple running nose after getting down to buy a drink or have some lunch. It's pathetic to say the least.

What surprises me even more is how long it would take the government to put up these rules. Other countries have had them for decades now, and they say "New rules governing workers' transport are expected to come into force by January next year."