Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The Haji Hassan Group is one of the most prominent business houses in Bahrain and has been in existence for over 40 years. The Group has interests in, trading, construction, manufacturing, building materials, chemicals, and housing. The Haji Hassan Group owns Bahrain Asphalt, Haji Hassan Reinforcement, Bahrain Precast Concrete Company, Bahrain Blocks, Haji Hassan Construction, Bahrain Bulk Trade, Arabian Parts Company, Bahrain Transport and Haji Hassan Washed Sand Products.

But they can't seem to feed workers edible food.

And surprise, surprise, surprise, the workers are none to happy.

The following comes from the Gulf Daily News (Bahrain).

'Rotten food' sparks wildcat protest

NEARLY 1,000 workers staged a wildcat protest last night after allegedly being served rotten food at the Haji Hasan Group labour camp in Salmabad.

Company officials immediately closed the canteen and promised a full investigation.

Workers marched to the Salmabad roundabout, shouting slogans against the canteen contractor as well as their management.

They said they would not go to work today unless they were assured by management that the situation would be corrected.

They claimed they had been served poor quality and stale food over the least few months, but all complaints to the company management and the canteen contractor had fallen on deaf ears.

Company directors Ibrahim Al A'Ali, who was at the scene, told the GDN the canteen had been closed with immediate effect.

"I have ordered a full investigation and will take appropriate action," he said.

"I will call a meeting early in the morning and resolve the issue in co-operation with the workers and their union. Welfare of the workers is a priority for us."

The workers also alleged the contractor served food at a fixed time, which meant some of them went hungry and others had to wait several hours before they were served.

Haji Hasan Employees Union chairman Abdullah Mirza told the GDN things came to a head last night, when the contractor allegedly mixed food left over from lunch time into the new food prepared for dinner.

"That resulted in a foul smell coming from the food," he said.

Mr Mirza said that when some workers protested, they were told to take the food or leave it. "This angered the workers," he said.

"One thing led to another and soon they were out on the streets. Nearly 1,000 people have walked out."

Mr Mirza said the employees used to provide their own food, but the company gave them an option to have food at the canteen, for BD18 every month.

"More than 1,000 workers at the company joined in the scheme, but they are now regretting it," he said.

Many workers have also been taken ill in the past, said Mr Mirza.

"What will happen if stale food is served to us in the summer and we fall sick en masse?" he said.

Another company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was only one contractor to cook for all the workers.

"What will the man do? It is not possible to cook for so many people at one place," he said.

He said there had been moves to get more contractors for the job, but these had never materialised.

The official said the contractor perhaps wanted to save money and cut corners.

"Ideally, the food cooked in the day should not be mixed with fresh food, but the food was mixed," he said.

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