By Gulf standards, the Kingdom of Bahrain has a comparatively strong union movement and history, and some protection for trade unionists in law. However these laws are not always adhered to, and a recent case suggests collusion between the Kingdom’s interior ministry and an employer to crush a union.
Yokogawa Middle East is a Japanese electronics corporation with sites in Bahrain and other Gulf states.The Yokogawa Labor Union was formed three years ago to organise workers at the country, and is affiliated to the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU). The GFBTU is the first Gulf organisation to affiliate to the ITUC.
The leader of the Yokogawa Labor Union, Sami Abdulaziz, was sacked recently for union activity and by using the twitter and the media to expose the intimidation and harassment that members are facing in the company. Twelve employees of Yokogawa Middle East were called to the police station during the past three weeks, and were questioned about their union activities.
“They were questioned about the activities in general, when did they join the union?, what is their role? etc. This is unlawful - the Kingdom’s labour law permits freedom to join unions,” said Mr. Abdulaziz.
After exposing this intimidation via twitter and the media, the union leaders was sacked.
After being sacked, Mr Abdulaziz was interrogated by the police, which shows a worrying collaboration between security forces and the employer.
Mr Abdulaziz has worked for YME for 12 years as a logistic leader, and has been selected as “best employee” three times.
The GFBTU is disappointed in the failure of the labour ministry to act, and will file a case in the labour court against Mr Abdulaziz’s sacking
Retweet this message telling Yokogawa to reinstate Mr Abdulaziz:
— Union Solidarity Int (@USILive) June 4, 2013
The Yokogawa Labor Union says:
“We need solidarity for our demand from all union movements since our union leader is asking the Company to obey the labor law in Bahrain & ILO conventions signed by the country and he was sacked for the these demands.”
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