Seconds out! Round two: ILO V Bahrain

Seconds out! Round two: ILO V Bahrain
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Published November 20th, 2012 - 09:56 GMT via

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Bahrain is set to go head to head with the International Labour Organization
Bahrain is set to go head to head with the International Labour Organization
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Bahrain has lashed out at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for failing to dismiss an "unjustified" complaint about the reinstatement of workers sacked during last year's unrest.

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) and its supporters overseas have been trying to keep the issue alive to serve their own interests, said Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan.

It follows his return from Geneva where he presented evidence to an ILO technical committee, which is studying the complaint.

Mr Humaidan said Bahrain was disappointed it had not been dismissed outright given the facts he submitted.

"We have given all the evidence and we presented our case in full," he said during a Press conference at the Labour Ministry in Isa Town yesterday.

"We also told the ILO what we have done for re-instating workers, under directives from the leadership.

"Then ILO was also told we will solve all matters internally without any outside party getting involved.

"We expected the complaint not to be accepted. However, we have been told a final decision will be made in March."

Bahrain's delegation to Geneva was surprised to learn the GFBTU had claimed the cases of 700 dismissed workers were still pending.

"When we asked them to provide a list, they did not and then they kept changing the numbers," said Mr Humaidan.

"This only shows they do not have any evidence and are just trying their best to kick up an issue.

"They also raised political and human rights issues which have nothing to do with the case. This is unfair."

However, Mr Humaidan remains confident the ILO will realise the complaint was unjustified.


"The only reason I see is that they want to keep the issue going to serve their own personal interests and because they feel insecure," he said.

"They are insecure because there is now more than one trade union body in Bahrain and they think if they keep quiet, their authority will be undermined.

"Of the 4,600 people who lost their jobs, 98 per cent have been re-instated while the government is playing an active role in getting jobs for the others."

Mr Humaidan said in some cases the sacked workers were in court and the government could not intervene and ILO officials had seen the government's progress on the issue during a visit last month.

"There are some others where the workers are unhappy with the present job profiles but we are seeing how best they can be accommodated," he said.

Mr Humaidan added there was no plan to take legal action against the GFBTU as a result of its actions.

The complaint to the ILO, dated June 16 last year, was made by the International Trade Union Confederation and alleged Bahrain had violated the ILO principles of freedom of association.

It claimed the government had denied workers the right to strike and denounced the absence of any measures to implement the recommendations of the Committee on Freedom of Association.

The complaint also alleged there had been threats to the safety of trade union leaders including "arrests, harassment, prosecution and intimidation".

Thousands of workers were fired by the public and private sectors in Bahrain for their alleged role in the unrest in February and March last year.

Most were later re-instated following recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.

However, the GFBTU has been urging the government to take them back unconditionally.

Copyright 2012 Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing Group

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