Chapter 4: The parliament in Bahrain and labour market policy preferences
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The chapter discuss the labour market policy preferences and debates of Bahrain’s representative council (Majlis Alnuwab) by analysing the relationship of these preferences to the political, cultural and economic context in Bahrain. The chapter assesses if the changing political context in Bahrain pre and post the Arab uprising has contributed to the preferences and attitudes of Majlis Alnuwab’s members. It also examines the reaction and the rhetoric of Alnuwab members to irregular migrants during the early phase of COVID-19 crisis. The findings reveal that the post 2011 contentious political context in Bahrain had a limited effect over the preferences of the Alnuwab Council. The main influence of the political conflict after the 2011 uprising in Bahrain is the increase in Alnuwab’s hostility towards international organizations and their influence on labour market governance and policies. However, the approach of Alnuwab continues to be limited by its cultural, religious and economic preferences. These preferences have not changed over the years such as: the importance of domestic labour to the welfare of Bahraini families, the economic and cultural impact on Bahrainis from irregular migrants, the religious and local norms to limit the freedom of female domestic workers. Some of these concerns continued to be relevant for the members of Majlis Alnuwab during the outbreak of COVID-19 and the increased infection rates among low skilled migrant workers.

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