A fisherman in Bahrain casts his net into the sea ©ILO
The Kingdom of Bahrain has been a member of the ILO since 1977 and has ratified 10 ILO Conventions, including five of the eight fundamental conventions. In 2000 the ILO initiated a Decent Work Pilot Programme in Bahrain aimed at strengthening national capacity to integrate decent work into national policies by focusing on social development policy, unemployment insurance and social dialogue. The pilot programme revealed that there was a need to continue advocacy which engages social partners in dialogue, encourages policy integration away from segmented approaches, enacts action plans and establishes institutional coordination mechanisms.

In 2010, Bahrain became the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to agree to a three-year Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), the ILO's main three-year vehicle for delivery of support to countries. The DWCP covered the period from 2010-2013 and focused on three priorities:
  • Promoting and realizing the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
  • enhancing income security; and
  • improving integration and employability of women.
In August 2016, the ILO and Bahrain entered into discussions around the establishment of a new Decent Work Country Programme with a focus on capacity building for tripartite constituents. Accordingly, the proposed areas of intervention are to:
  • Improve labour market statistics;
  • enhance the Ministry of Labour and Social Development’s capacity in labour inspection as well as occupational safety and health;
  • review of the Unemployment Insurance Law and conduct an actuarial review of the Unemployment Insurance Scheme; and
  • review legislation and capacity building activities related to International Labour Standards, social dialogue, and protection of migrant workers.

Tripartism and Social dialogue

The ILO has supported Bahrain to reform organizational management and bolster the capacity of government as well employers’ and workers’ organizations since 2006. The ILO has also assisted the Kingdom to improve its dispute resolution capacity by promoting settlement mechanisms that are in line with International Labour Standards.

In 2007 the ILO conducted training sessions to build the capacity of trade unions in Bahrain. The objective of the sessions were to: Educate participants on the different types, objectives, roles and services of trade unions; analyse the situation of workers in Bahrain to identify needs and priorities; and develop action plans for unions which outline assistance required.

Technical advisory services have also been provided to the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) including an assessment of the performance and capacity of the BCCI as a social partner, recommendations for improvement, as well as elements of a strategy that defines the BCCI’s socioeconomic role and involvement in the labour market reforms.

In 2012 ILO supported constituents in Bahrain to sign a Tripartite Agreement, to resolve complaints from Bahraini workers who had been dismissed from their jobs. In March 2014, a complimentary tripartite agreement was inked in order to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation among the constituents, as well as define the future direction for the ILO technical cooperation in the country through: Capacity building and training to reintegrate dismissed workers as well as to support the improvement of workplace relations and social dialogue; training on International Labour Standards among tripartite constituents, specifically to government agencies, the Judiciary and Parliament; and support to legal reforms and institutional capacity building in order to ensure the effective implementation of the ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111). See more...

International Labour Standards

Under the ILO project entitled “Implementing and Enforcing Internationally Recognized Labour Rights in Oman and Bahrain,” the Kingdom was provided with assistance to implement and enforce internationally recognized labour rights such as freedom of association, the right to organize, as well as effective recognition on the right to collective bargaining, tripartism and social dialogue. See more…

Social Protection

The ILO has supported Bahrain to establish the first Unemployment Insurance Law in the Arab States. The objective of the Law’s Unemployment Insurance Scheme is to support the labour market reforms, provide incentives to Bahraini first-time job seekers to enter the labour force, and facilitate the return of unemployed workers to the workforce.

Labour Governance

The ILO has provided technical advisory services to Bahrain’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development as well as social partners in order to assist them to revitalize the organization and management of the country’s labour inspection system. The ILO has also extended support to Bahrain in order to formulate its National Employment Programme, which provides jobseekers in both the public and private sectors with technical and financial support during their search for employment. In addition, the agency has supported a revised Labour Law for the Private Sector and assisted Bahrain in the design of the country’s second labour force survey.