Bahrain MP insists no insult meant by comments on cashier job rejection

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A Bahraini MP has regretted admitting she turned down a cashier job because of her image and qualifications.

Mariam Al Saegh has come under fire from politicians for comments on a former Labor Ministry job posting, which she made during a parliamentary session on Thursday. She said she turned down the job because it “didn’t match my qualifications or my appearance.”

Ms Al Saegh released a statement clarifying her remarks, saying she was proud of the national workforce and did not mean to insult anyone or disrespect any profession.

“The intention to say ‘I can’t imagine how my look’ was signified in ‘form and content’ as we are Bahraini citizens, students, university or high school graduates, receiving a job offer that does not does not match the educational qualification,” she said in a statement posted on her social media.

“I hope we will focus on the important problem that most young job seekers suffer from. No one wants to be a cashier, even those who have just graduated from high school, but their needs have forced them to settle for very little.”

Bahrain’s Minister of Finance and National Economy, Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa, responded to Ms Al Saegh’s initial comments by congratulating all Bahrainis working in all positions.

“We respect and appreciate every Bahrain in any job and in any profession, and salute every Bahrain who works as a cashier in every supermarket in the kingdom, and salute every Bahrain in all their roles,” Sheikh Salman said.

The minister said that the government’s employment plans include not only the process of recruiting new entrants into the labor market, but also the development of employment for Bahrainis working in the market, upgrading their skills and trying to establish their career path through training and development.

    Kingdom of Bahrain, Saarland, 26/8/2010.  AlOsra Supermarket, Bahrain Currency upon departure.  Photo by Phil Weymouth

Following Ms Al Saegh’s comments on Thursday, several ministers took selfies with a number of Bahraini cashiers in a show of solidarity, support and appreciation for their willingness to work and earn an honest living.

Sabeeka bint Khalifa Al Fadhala, a member of Bahrain’s Supreme Shoura Council, issued a statement denouncing Ms Al Saegh’s statement.

“When was a person’s outward appearance a measure of any job?” Ms. Al Fadhala asked.

Updated: January 13, 2023, 2:10 p.m.

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