Workers Trade Union Law of 2002 (Bahrain)
LEGISLATIVE DECREE NO(33) OF 2002 WITH RESPECT TO PROMULGATING THE WORKERS TRADE UNION LAW
We, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain,
Having reviewed the Constitution,
And the Labour Law for the Private Sector promulgated by Legislative Decree No.23 of 1976, as amended,
And the Maritime Code promulgated by Legislative Decree No.23 of 1982,
And upon the submission of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs,
And with the approval of the Council of Ministers,
We hereby decree the following Law:
The provisions of the attached Law shall be applicable with respect to workers trade unions.
Chapter 17 of the Labour Law for the Private Sector promulgated by Legislative Decree No.23 of 1976 concerning Labour Organisation and Joint Committees and Councils with respect shall be revoked and every provision that conflicts with the terms of this Law shall be revoked.
The existing labour organisations on the date this Law comes into effect shall continue to carry out their duties until the formation of the new workers trade unions.
The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs shall issue the necessary Orders for implementing the provisions of this Law.
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The Prime Minister and the ministers, each in his respective capacity, shall implement this Law which shall come into effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
- Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- King of the Kingdom of Bahrain
- Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa
- Prime Minister
- Abdul Nabi Abdulla Al Shoala
- Minister of Labour & Social Affairs
- Issued at Rifaa Palace
- 17 Rajab 1423 H
- 24th September 2002 G
WORKERS TRADE UNION LAW
CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL PROVISIONS
For the purpose of the application of this Law, the following terms and expressions shall have the meanings assigned against each :
"Trade Union Organisation": An organization to be established to look after the worker's interests and to defend their rights. This shall include the trade unions and the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain (GFWTUB).
"Workers Trade Union": An organization comprising a number of workers in a particular establishment, a particular sector or a particular activity and is formed pursuant to the provisions of this Law.
"The General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain (GFWTUB)": An organization comprising all trade unions throughout the Kingdom of Bahrain.
"Ministry": Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
The provisions of this Law shall be applicable to:
a) Workers who are subject to the Labour Law for the Private Sector;
b) Workers who are subject to the provision of the Maritime Code; and
c) Workers employed according to the civil service schemes.
Membership of Trade Union Organisations and continuation thereof as well as withdrawal therefrom shall be guaranteed.
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Trade union activities shall not be used as a means and justification for discrimination in employment or influencing workers in any manner whatsoever.
The Trade Union Organisations provided for herein shall have an independent juristic entity as from the date of depositing the documents of their constitution with the Ministry.
A Trade Union's Constitution shall in particular, include:
a) name of the trade union;
b) objectives for which the trade union is to be formed;
c) membership and dismissal procedure, admission and subscription fees and cases of exemption therefrom;
d) number of the members of the Board of Directors, manner of electing them, frequency of governing body meetings, by-elections and powers of the Board of Directors;
e) disciplinary procedures of trade union members for misconduct and penalties that may be inflicted upon them and the committees responsible for investigation and taking disciplinary action;
f) services and financial assistance that may be offered to members if required;
g) terms and conditions under which trade union organization's staff are appointed and the procedure therefor and for the termination of their services,
h) method of maintaining the organisation's fund, financial system and accounting books and records and;
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i) procedures for convening the organisation's Board of Directors and the general assembly for ordinary and extraordinary meetings.
CHAPTER TWO: TRADE UNION'S STRUCTURE AND OBJECTIVES
The trade union structure shall consist of the trade unions and of the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain (GFWTUB)
The trade union organizations shall aim at protecting the lawful rights of their members, defending their interests and improving their working conditions. In particular, they shall endeavour to attain the following objectives:
a) dissemination of trade union awareness among workers;
b) improvement of the cultural standard of workers;
c) promotion of professional and occupational standards of workers;
d) improvement of the health, economic and social standards of workers and their families;
e) participation in Arab and international labour forums and events and presenting the viewpoint of the Bahrain workers.
For the realisation of its objectives, a trade union organization may establish savings or fellowship funds and may form co-operative societies and social clubs.
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PART ONE: THE GENERAL FEDERATION OF WORKERS TRADE UNIONS OF BAHRAIN (GFWTUB)
The General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain (GFWTUB) shall be responsible for union activities of the Bahrain workers trade unions and, in particular, shall exercise the following functions:
a) To draw up the general policy and a trade union code of conduct for the workers of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
b) To enhance co-operation between the trade unions and the Ministry.
c) To enhance co-operation between the trade unions and employers.
d) To set up and manage workers' cultural and social centers.
e) Participating with the concerned authorities in drawing up labour strategies in collective bargaining and in enhancing social dialogue with the concerned authorities.
f) Participating in the councils and committees concerned with labour and workers' affairs.
g) Proposing the formation of new trade unions.
h) Authorising trade unions to join Arab and international labour organisations and giving notice thereof to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
i) Permitting the representatives of trade unions to attend conferences outside the Kingdom of Bahrain.
j) Determining the maximum fee for admission and for annual subscriptions of trade union membership.
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k) Considering the suspension of members of the trade union Board of Directors.
l) Considering any matters referred thereto by the trade union Board of Directors or by the Ministry.
The General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain shall ratify the trade union liability regulations for the Board members of the trade union organisations and also provide the trade unions with model guidelines for internal financial and administrative rules and regulations.
PART TWO: TRADE UNION
SECTION 1: FORMATION OF A TRADE UNION
The workers of any establishment, of any particular sector, of any particular activity or of similar or associate industries or professions may establish their own trade union subject to the provisions of this Law.
No more than one trade union shall be set up for each establishment.
The procedure for the formation of a trade union shall be by submitting to the Ministry its:
Constitution and the names of the founding members, provided that the Constitution shall not conflict with the provisions of the applicable laws and regulations in the Kingdom.
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SECTION TWO: UNION'S BODIES
The bodies of trade union shall consist of:
a) General Assembly
b) Board of Directors
c) working committees according to each union's bylaws.
The general assembly of a trade union shall have the power to:
a) elect the Board of Directors;
b) amend the constitution, by laws, and draw up administrative and financial regulations;
c) suspend or dismiss members of the Board of Directors;
d) appoint auditors of the union and determine their remuneration;
e) approve the annual balance sheet, final accounts and the reports of the Board of Directors and the auditor;
f) consider any matter referred thereto by the Board of Directors, the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain (GFWTUB).
SECTION THREE: CONDITIONS OF MEMBERSHIP
A member of the trade union shall fulfill the following conditions:
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a) He shall be a worker upon the provisions of this law are applicable.
b) He shall not be an employer or an official responsible for formulating or deciding upon the establishment's policies.
CHAPTER THREE: FINANCIAL SOURCES OF TRADE UNION ORGANISATIONS AND EXEMPTIONS THEREFOR
The financial sources of trade union organizations shall consist of:
a) Joining fees.
b) Subscriptions payable by the members.
c) Subsidies, gifts, donations and wills accepted by the Board of Directors with the approval of the Ministry.
d) Proceeds from various functions and activities allocated for the trade union's benefit.
e) Other sources which do not conflict with the provisions of this Law or the organisation's constitution.
The trade union organization will be exempted from any charges prescribed for property owned or rented by such organisations and from customs duties on goods imported for the benefit of the trade union's activities.
Duty-free imported goods shall not be disposed of before the lapse of five years from the date of importation; otherwise such goods shall be subject to customs duties.
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CHAPTER FOUR: DISSOLUTION OF TRADE UNION ORGANISATIONS AND THEIR BOARDS OF DIRECTORS
A trade union organization and their Board of Directors shall be dissolved in accordance with the provisions of their Constitution or by a court judgement.
The Board of Directors of the Federation will temporarily take over the powers of the trade union whose Board of Directors has been dissolved until a new Board of Directors is formed according to the union's Constitution.
CHAPTER FIVE: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
A resolution of the Minister, in consultation with representative/s of employers and the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain, will be issued in respect of the members of the Board of Directors of the trade union organisations to carry out their duties on a full time basis. Such resolution shall specify the terms and conditions of this full time assignment, financial rights of a full time member and the rules of a full time assignment.
The trade union organization shall not:
a) engage in any activity beyond the union purpose provided for herein;
b) invest any money in financial, real estate or other speculative activities;
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c) use force, violence, threat or unlawful measures to infringe or attempt to infringe upon the right of others to work or upon any other of their rights; or
d) engage in political activities;
The right to strike is a legitimate means for workers to defend their rights and interests subject to the following restrictions:
a) the approval of three quarters of the members of the General Assembly of the Trade Union, through a secret ballot;
b) the employer shall be provided with a notice period of not less than two weeks before the commencement of the strike, and the Ministry shall be also notified;
c) the purpose of the strike is to achieve the social and economic demands of the workers;
d) avoiding harm to the property of the State and individuals, and their safety and security;
e) strikes shall be prohibited in vital and important facilities such as security, civil defence, airports, ports, hospitals, transportation, telecommunications, electricity and water.
f) strikes shall not be conducted except after conciliation between the workers and the employer fails. If the two parties are unable to reach an amicable agreement, the dispute shall be referred to conciliation and arbitration by a Committee of Conciliation and Arbitration. This Committee formed by the membership:
Three judges of the High Civil Court chaired by one of them, shall delegated by the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs at the beginning of every judicial year; a representative from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, delegated by its Minister; a representative from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, delegated by its Minister; a representative from the Civil Service Bureau, to be delegated by the Minister concerned; a representative from the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain and a representative from employers organisations.
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This Committee shall delegate one of its members to conciliate between workers and the employer. It has the right to have assistance from outside experts. The conciliation shall be upon the request of both parties. If they refuse to go to conciliation or are unable to agree, the Committee shall meet with the arbitrators to solve the dispute without the need for the approval of any parties, within a period not exceeding one week.
The Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs shall issue an order to determine the dates and procedures to hold the Conciliation and Arbitration Committee meetings, its fees and how to implement the Committee's decisions.
The Committee shall adopt its resolutions by the absolute majority of votes.