Why did Abdulrahman Fakhro Dare to Insult Bahraini Worker?

2020-07-30 - 6:44 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Unlike the rest of the cautious merchants, Abdulrahman Fakhro cannot hide his tyranny, greed and selfishness.

How can a trader dare to say that Bahrainis are not worth having a job, and that they ate incompetent, unproductive, and uncommitted? How dare he publicly promote the exclusion of Bahrainis from the labor market, and give full freedom to traders to hire foreigners in their place?!

"Labor market reform is done through lifting the protection of an employee, regardless of his nationality, including the Bahraini employee," Fakhro said in a lengthy interview with a local newspaper.

The stereotype of the Bahraini worker, established by Abdulrahman Fakhro and his similar fellow merchants, reflects the reality of shameful discrimination against the Bahraini worker in his own country's labor market. Throughout generations, the Bahraini worker has been condemned to ineligibility, depriving him of the right to decent work, decent living and job security within his own country.

Fakhro and his men are the reason behind ruining the Bahraini labor market and economy which achieves 14 billion dinars ($37 billion). This means that the individual share of the GDP should be 8,700 dinars ($23,000). However, a Bahraini's average salary does not exceed 425 dinars per capita (more than half of Bahrain's workers earn less than 450 dinars (about $1,200)).

How many Bahrainis are in the private sector today so that Fakhro has risen against them in such a sudden way? Due to the new government's measures, the percentage fell from 33% in 2002 to 16% in 2019. Last year, only 15,000 Bahrainis gained jobs in the private sector, compared to 155,000 foreigners, i.e. 1 in 10 (1 in 10 foreigners employed against one Bahraini).

The percentage of jobs that Bahrainis received from everything the market produced last year was less than 9%, so what percentage does Fakhro want to reach?

"It is not reasonable to require 20% in the contracting sector when you do not find a Bahraini working as a surveyor, in construction or similar jobs," he says in a previous statement.

Once he demands that the skilled Bahraini be provided, and other times he wants Bahrainis to work in low skilled jobs and lower wages, otherwise he would refuse to hire them! What about the jobs that Bahrainis line up in queues to get? Why are all the accountants, administrators, marketers, technicians, customer service staff and branch managers of Yusif Bin Yusif Fakhro Company foreigners? Why does Fakhro appoint a foreign CEO to his companies?

In Fakhro's view, Bahrainis do not deserve to work in his companies that employ capital worth millions. The state gives them the right to do so, but why does he defame Bahraini employees?

It is not the Bahraini worker, but Fakhro and his like-kind traders who are "protected" by the state, which accepted in the 1970s their request to reduce their insurance contributions, and did not impose on them minimum wage, annual salary increase, and any real restrictions on the import of foreign labor, and of course didn't impose taxes!

No one in the government will respond to Abdulrahman Fakhro and no one will face him.

The state protects Fakhro, and even seeks his help to scheme the policies that govern the country's economy. It grants him a seat in the operation and management of its most important institutions (Insurance, Batelco, Osoul, Amlak, Seef real estates ...). The opinions of Fakhro and people like him are, to the Government of Bahrain, the principles of the political economy.

Thus, over a period of 50 years, everything has grown in Bahrain, but two things have remained the same: the faces of merchants and the average wage of a Bahraini labor. Is the imbalance in market policies and the nature of traders or in the genes of Bahrainis?!

What has this country benefited from enabling Fakhro? How does the state allow him to use its infrastructure and make use of its wealth and economic climate for 55 years while he refuses to hire a Bahraini publicly and insists on importing foreign labor to protect every penny of his profits?

What does Abdulrahman Fakhro want more? Why doesn't he take his business away from this country since he doesn't like its citizens, after all the wealth he has accumulated at their expense?

In his opinion, a foreigner with a flexible visa should not have the right to compete with the merchant, but the same foreigner may have the right to compete with the poor Bahraini for the job. 

Commenting on the 2011 protests, Fakhro will say "Bahrain is for all Bahrainis"... But his companies and his business and like-minded people have no place for any Bahraini.

Arabic Version