Collective Labour Disputes
Collective Labour Disputes
Collective bargaining is the dialogue and discussions held between one or more workers trade union association and the employer or a group of employers or one or more employers’ association for the purpose of:
- Improving the work conditions and circumstances and the terms of employment;
- Working on achieving the social and economic development of the establishment’s workers;
- Settling the collective labour disputes arising between the workers and employers;
- Organizing the relationship between the workers and their associations and the employers and their associations.
The collective bargaining shall be held at the level of the establishment, the level of the activity, industry or occupation or at the national level.
If the collective bargaining is at the level of the establishment, the bargaining shall be between the employer or his representative and the trade union representing the workers.
If the bargaining is held on the level of the activity, industry or occupation, the bargaining shall be between the concerned association representing the employers and the concerned associationrepresenting the workers.
If the bargaining is held on the national level, the bargaining shall be between the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the General Confederation Workers Trade Unions in Bahrain.
The representatives of each party are legally authorized to hold the bargaining and conclude the deriving agreement.
Each party of the collective bargaining parties must submit the data and information requested by the other party when said data and information are essential and necessary for the proper conduct of the bargaining.
During the collective bargaining, the employer shall not take decisions or procedures related to the subjects of the bargaining unless in case of necessity and urgency provided these decisions and procedures are temporary.
If the collective bargaining is successful, a collective labour agreement shall be concluded based on the reached agreements in accordance with the provisions of Chapter II of this Title.
If no agreement is reached, any of the parties may request the Ministry to submit the matter to the Council of Settlement of Collective Dispute or to the Court of Arbitration, in accordance with the provisions of Article 158 of this Law.
Collective Labour Agreement
The collective labour agreement is an agreement governing the conditions and circumstances of the work and the terms of employment in such a way as to guarantee better conditions, circumstances or benefits for the worker. This agreement shall be concluded between the parties to the collective bargaining specified in Article 138 of this Law.
The collective labour agreement must be written in the Arabic language and signed by the representatives of the parties to the collective bargaining, otherwise it shall be deemed null and void.
a) Subject to the provision of paragraph (b) of this Article, the Ministry shall be in charge of reviewing the collective labour agreement, entering it into the register it shall set for this purpose, and publishing it in the official gazette within thirty days as of the dare of its submittal to it.
b) The Ministry may raise objections to the collective labour agreement and refuse to enter it into the register or publish it, provided its parties are notified the reasons of said refusal within thirty days as of the date of submittal of the collective labour agreement to the Ministry. The expiry of said time-limit without entering the agreement into the register, publishing it or raising objections against it shall be deemed as an approval by the Ministry of this agreement, and the latter must enter it into the register and publish it in the official gazette within a time-limit not exceeding fifteen days as of the date of expiry of the time-limit specified in the previous paragraph.
c) The parties to collective labour agreement may challenge before the competent court the decision rejecting the entry and publication of the agreement, within thirty days as of the date of their notification of this decision.
d) The collective labour agreement shall only be in force and binding towards its parties following the publication of its summary in the Official Gazette.
Trade unions and employers and their associations not parties to the collective labour agreement may enter the agreement following the publication of its summary in the Official Gazette, based on an agreement between the parties wishing to enter the agreement without the need for the approval of the initial parties to the agreement. Said parties shall enter the agreement by virtue of a request signed by the parties and submitted to the Ministry.
The Ministry must make a reference in the register mentioned in paragraph (a) of Article 143 of this Law to any renewal, entry by a party or modification to this agreement and must publish the summary of the reference in the Official Gazette within seven days as of the date of its occurrence.
The parties to the collective labour agreement must execute all of its provisions in good faith or refrain from taking any procedure or making any act that may disrupt the implementation of its provisions.
Any condition included in the collective labour agreement violating any of the provisions of this law shall be deemed null and void unless more beneficial to the worker.
Any condition included in the collective labour agreement infringing security or prejudicing the country’s economic interest or violating of the provisions of this Law, the retained by-laws, public order or ethics shall be deemed null and void.
The collective labour agreement may be concluded for a definite period or for the period necessary for the completion of a specific project provided said period in both cases does not exceed three years.
If this period expires, the agreement shall be deemed automatically renewed for one year unless the parties agree on a lesser period.
The collective labour agreement shall expire by the expiry of its initial or renewed period.
If the implementation by one of the parties of the collective labour agreement or of any of its provisions becomes exhausting due to exceptional unforeseen circumstances occurring during the validity period of the contract, the parties must recourse to the collective bargaining for discussing these circumstances in order to reach an agreement achieving balance between the interests of the parties. If no agreement is reached, either of the parties may request the Ministry to submit the matter to the Council of Settlement of Collective Disputes or to the Court of Arbitration as the case may be, in accordance with the provisions of Article 158 of this Law.
The provisions of the collective labour agreement concluded by a trade union shall apply to all of the workers of the establishment even if some of them are not affiliated to this trade union, provided the number of affiliated workers is not less than half the number of workers at the establishment at the time of conclusion of the agreement.
Any of the parties to the collective labour agreement may instigate, in favor of any of its members and upon the latter’s request, all actions arising from the violation of any of the provisions of this agreement, without the need to a power of attorney from this member in this respect.
The member in favor of whom the action is instigated may intervene in this action.
Some of the procedures and methods of examination and settlement of disputes arising from the collective labour agreement shall be subject to the rules agreed upon between the parties or otherwise to the provisions of Chapter III of this Title.
The Ministry shall establish an administrative unit in charge of collective labour bargaining and agreements affairs and of the monitoring of the implementation of these agreements.
The Minister, following the opinion of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and of the General Confederation Workers Trade Unions in Bahrain issues a decision determining the rules and procedures to be retained with respect to each level of collective bargaining.
The Minister shall issue a decision retaining a collective labour agreement specimen to be used as a guide by the parties to the collective bargaining.
Collective Labour Disputes
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to each dispute related to the conditions or circumstances of the work or the terms of employment which arises between one or more employer and all or a group of their workers.
If a dispute which is subject to the provision of the previous Article arises the disputing parties must seek its amicable settlement by means of collective bargaining.
a) If the disputing parties do not partially or totally settle the existing dispute within sixty days as of the date of the request by either of them of settlement of the dispute by means of collective bargaining, either of them may request the Ministry to submit the dispute to the Council of Settlement of Collective Disputes, whose formation and work regulation are set by virtue of a decision issued by the Minister.
b) If the dispute is not settled within sixty days as of the date of its submittal to the Council of Settlement of Collective Disputes either of them may request the Ministry to submit the dispute to the Arbitration Court specified in Article 160 of this Law.
If the request to submit the dispute to the Arbitration Court was submitted by the employer, it must be signed by him or his representative.
If the request was submitted by the workers it must be submitted by the Chairman of the concerned trade union following the approval of its Board of Directors. If said workers are not affiliated to a trade union the request must be submitted by the majority of the workers concerned by the dispute at the establishment or at the establishment’s department as the case may be.
The Ministry must send to the party submitting the request a receipt acknowledging the receipt of his request provided it refers the file of the dispute to the competent Arbitration Court within three working days as of the date of its receipt of the request.
The Arbitration Court shall be formed for a three year period by virtue of the decision of the Minister in charge of judicial affairs and shall consist of:
- Three judges of the Higher Civil Court of Appeal appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, and the senior of these judges shall preside over the Arbitration Court.
- An arbitrator representing the employers’ association appointed by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- An arbitrator representing the workers’ trade union appointed by the General Confederation Workers Trade Unions in Bahrain.
- An arbitrator representing the Ministry and appointed by the Minister.
The authoritiesmentioned in items 2, 3 and 4 of this Article shall appoint an alternate arbitrator replacing the initial arbitrator in case of his absence or impediment.
The Minister in charge of judicial matters shall issue a decision determining the attendance fees of the members of the Court from among the employers’ association and the workers trade union.
Each arbitrator shall before starting his duties take the following oath before the President of the Court of Arbitration: “I swear by God Almighty to respect the Constitution and laws of the State and fulfill my mission with trust and honesty”.
The President of the Court of arbitration shall set the hearing for the examination of the dispute on a date not exceeding fifteen days as of the date of its receipt of the dispute. The members of the Court and the parties to the dispute shall be notified the date of this hearing at least three working days before the scheduled date.
The Arbitration Court shall settle the dispute submitted to it within a time-limit not exceeding thirty days as of the date of the first hearing set for the examination of the dispute.
The Arbitration Court may interrogate litigants, hear witnesses, carry out inspection, delegate experts, examine the documents and books of accounts relating to the dispute and take all of the procedures enabling it to settle the dispute.
This Court may impose the sanctions prescribed by the applicable laws upon the failure by the witness to appear before it without an acceptable excuse or upon the latter’s refusal to tender the oath or answer the questions addressed to him subject to the provisions of the Law of Evidence in civil and commercial matters.
The Arbitration Court shall apply the statutory laws and decisions in force. In the event of inexistence of a legislative text to be applied, the Court shall settle the dispute by virtue of customs, and in the event of inexistence of such customs it shall settle the dispute by virtue of the Islamic Shariaa, otherwise the dispute shall be settled by virtue of the principles of the natural law and the rules of equity in accordance with the economic and social circumstances of the country.
The award of the Arbitration Court shall be rendered motivated with the majority of the opinions of its members. In case of tied vote the President shall have the casting vote. This award shall be deemed to be a final decisionrendered by the Higher Civil Court of Appeal upon an executory clause being endorsed therein by the Clerk's Office of such Court.
The Arbitration Court shall send to the parties to the dispute a copy of its award by virtue of a registered letter within three days as of the date of its rendering.
Following the notificationof the two parties to the dispute in accordance with the provision of the previous paragraph, the Arbitration Court shall send the file of the dispute to the Ministry to be kept with it. The concerned parties shall have the right to obtain a copy of such award.
Either of the parties to the dispute is entitled to challenge the award rendered by the Arbitration Court by way of cassation in accordance with the procedures and on the dates specified in the the Court of Cassation Law.
The awards rendered by the Arbitration Court shall be subject to the rules of rectification and interpretation of awards specified in the applicable laws and moreover, the recusal and dismissal of arbitrators other than judges shall be subject to the provisions on the recusal and dismissal of judges specified in these laws.
Last Update: Tuesday 18 August 2015