Bahrain trade unions call off strike
Manama , February 21, 2011
Bahrain’s trade unions have called off a national strike, urging all workers in the public and private sectors to return to work today (February 21).
The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) had spearheaded the strike called for yesterday, but later cancelled it - saying its demands were met.
It held an urgent meeting at its premises in Adliya, where members decided not to go on with their plans for a strike.
The federation had announced on Saturday that several trade unions under its umbrella would go on a strike in light of recent events.
"We decided to call off the plan to continue this nationwide strike as our demands were fulfilled by authorities," said GFBTU secretary-general Salman Mahfoodh.
Demands included tanks to be removed from the streets and people allowed to protest freely.
The strike proposal was mooted by unionists after violent escalations at Pearl Roundabout that resulted in fatalities last week.
Mahfoodh said they received overwhelming response yesterday from union leaders in the private and public sectors.
"We saw several teachers, lawyers and municipality workers backing the national strike," he said. "They attended the protest at Pearl Roundabout and gave speeches.
"I urge all employers to be considerate with their employees, who have participated in these protests since last week. They are expressing their opinion and should not be dismissed from their jobs or face any disciplinary action."
Mahfoodh said GFBTU was not diverting from labour issues to political ones by supporting the protesters, as some of the demands were social and economic in nature.
"One of their demands is to tackle unemployment. This is what we always back and this is an exceptional situation where it is about national interest and the welfare of citizens," he said.
Mahfoodh said some unions refused to co-operate with them, as the union leaders did not agree with collective bargaining and resorted to follow their own rules.
"This happens in all countries. But we are supporting all these protesters who are demanding reforms in a peaceful manner," he said. – TradeArabia News Service