ILO Director-General's statement on Bahrain
(21 June 2011)
The Director-General of the ILO condemned the public call by the Joint Committee of Major Companies in Bahrain to the 15 members of the Executive Committee of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions to resign immediately or to face criminal and civil law prosecution.
The threat of criminal and civil prosecution by enterprises wholly or partly owned by the Government is an act of intimidation which takes Bahrain still further away from the course of respect for trade union rights on which it had embarked since 2002 and which has been widely recognized and praised by the ILO in the past.
The ILO has engaged in intensive efforts in recent months to encourage a return to social dialogue in Bahrain; to ensure the safety and protection of trade union leaders; and to promote the reinstatement of up to 2,000 dismissed workers. Nevertheless, and despite the announced recommendation by a Government Committee for the reinstatement of 571 workers, they, however, have not yet returned to their jobs. This will hopefully happen very quickly and continue with reinstatement of all dismissed workers.
The Director-General strongly deplored this confrontational ultimatum by the Major Companies and urged the Government to seek its immediate withdrawal and to do everything to bring all parties to the table of social dialogue in line with the very positive announcement made on 31 May by His Majesty Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, the King of Bahrain, which has brought so much hope both within and outside Bahrain.