More than 100 government employees have been dismissed in recent weeks, joining 2,500 workers – nearly all Shiites – who have been fired since Bahrain's pro-democracy uprising.
More than 100 Bahraini government employees have been fired in recent weeks for their political views, signaling an ongoing campaign to crush dissent in the wake of a pro-democracy uprising this spring.
They join 600 workers who have already been forced to leave government ministries and universities and about 1,900 workers sacked by private businesses this spring. While the Ministry of Labor has reinstated about a fifth of those fired, the most recent dismissals challenge official portrayals of the kingdom as going back to normal following the government's brutal crackdown, in which at least 30 people were killed and hundreds detained.
An independent commission appointed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to investigate the crackdown could lead to more workers regaining their jobs. But some are losing confidence in the Bahrain Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which has become a focal point for angry protests.
Sayed Salman, head of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBT), says he appreciates the efforts of the Labor ministry so far to reinstate employees who were unfairly fired, but says the proportion of workers reinstated is too small and has taken too long. He also rejects government arguments that dismissals, such as those taking place at government ministries currently, are disciplinary measures carried out according to law.
“When you talk about the dismissal of 10 or 15 people, that is one thing," says Mr. Salman. "When you talk about the collective dismissal of hundreds of people from different ministries, it is a systematic dismissal to get rid of anyone who is suspected of having supported the political unrest.”
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