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Jobs for 48 more sacked Bahraini workers

Manama, May 24, 2014

Another 48 workers sacked during unrest in 2011 have been found similar jobs or received settlements since Bahrain reached a deal with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in March, said the unionists.

A total of 165 people are still waiting for their situation to be resolved when a complaint against Bahrain was withdrawn two months ago and the figure has now dropped to 117, they told the reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

 Around 4,600 people in total were dismissed in 2011 for allegedly failing to show up for work so they could take part in anti-government demonstrations, getting arrested on suspicion of criminal activities or taking part in strikes called by trade unionists sympathetic to the Bahraini opposition movement.

Some claim they were dismissed for no reason, but the government has taken steps to make sure they are all either re-employed, found similar jobs elsewhere or receive a settlement.

However, the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) claimed some firms were still reluctant to take back their former staff. "As of now 48 of the 165 workers dismissed have been re-hired," said GFBTU assistant secretary for the private sector Karim Radhi.

"Most of them have been re-hired by Alba, Bapco and some of the smaller private companies, but other companies are just not doing anything.

"There are some companies that are contesting whether the workers were unfairly dismissed, even after we cut down the size of the list from more than 400 people.

"The GFBTU went through the list and singled out the strongest cases, removing all those who had already found other employment."

Bahrain's Labour Ministry entered an agreement with the GFBTU and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to ensure all those dismissed were reinstated, which resulted in complaint against Bahrain being withdrawn from the ILO.

Under the conditions of the agreement, companies who dismissed workers should either re-hire them at the same rank, on equal or greater pay, or provide adequate compensation.

In August, the Labour Ministry is required to submit a progress report to the ILO, while the GFBTU and BCCI can also present their own reports.

"Not all the companies on the list to re-hire dismissed workers have been informed, which is a requirement to re-hire these workers," said Mr Radhi.

"The Labour Ministry was supposed to send letters to all the companies, but it didn't.

"Instead it decided to do it verbally, which is no good.

"There is no way of proving that these companies have been informed.

"The verbal communication has worked a little, but it eliminates accountability for the companies that have no intention of re-hiring, as there is plausible deniability. They can say they didn't know.

"Either way more needs to be done before the August when the progress report is submitted to the ILO. We need to fix this problem quickly."

Radhi said representatives of the ministry, the GFBTU and BCCI were supposed to meet once a week, but there had only been two meetings since March. Labour Ministry officials were unavailable for comment.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Workers | Sacked |

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