This week, lots of reports in pro Bahrain regime media about Bahraini Formula One car racing workers, who had been sacked last year as the regime rightly or wrongly considered them to have participated in pro-democracy demonstrations. These reports claimed that the sacked workers had been reinstated. What a big proof of reconciliation by the regime this supposedly was.
Not so, says a BBC report:
20 January 2012 Last updated at 15:29 GMT
Sacked Bahrain F1 staff stay out
Bill Law, BBC Radio News
The row over 29 sacked Formula One employees deepened yesterday when it emerged that most have yet to return to work.
The workers were fired for allegedly participating in protests against the government of King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Out of 29 who lost their jobs, only three have come back.
12 others who were asked to return have refused, saying that the terms of a new contract are unfair. They say the contract fails to restore lost pay and benefits. They are also being asked to drop cases brought for unfair dismissal.
The 29 were among more than 1,600 Bahrainis summarily fired last year from their jobs in both the private and public sectors. …
However one of the sacked workers told the BBC that less than half had been asked to return.
The worker who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal described a chaotic scene on the day of the arrests in the BIC offices.
“The head of (BIC) security went from desk to desk with two plainclothes police officers. If you had a Shia name you were arrested.”
The worker said that he and the others were taken to a local police station, verbally abused and beaten.
“We loved Formula One, we loved working for the company. How could the managers allow this to happen?” …
Like other arrested BIC employees, the worker said he had not participated in pro-democracy demonstrations.
Acknowledge the violations
Karim Radhi a spokesman for the General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions (GFBTU) says that along with other companies who fired employees, BIC had failed to acknowledge that the sackings were wrong.
“When we heard that BIC was bringing employees back, we were happy. We thought they would acknowledge the violations and correct them.”
But he says the hope that BIC would set what he called “a good example” has fallen flat.
Mr Radhi says that all sacked workers should be unconditionally reinstated, returned to their previous jobs and their back pay and benefits restored.
But companies have already filled many positions and are loath to let their new employees go.
The opposition say that is because Shia have been replaced with Sunni, especially in senior and middle management jobs.
And as the dispute over jobs drags on so too do the protests.
Activists say that if the Grand Prix goes ahead in April as scheduled it will become a focal point for what they say will be peaceful demonstrations against the al Khalifa regime.
Bahrain has failed to grasp reform – so why is the grand prix going ahead? The repression at Bahrain’s race track is a microcosm of the government crackdown, yet the FIA still hasn’t got the message: here.
Bahrain Special: Air Show, “Black Smoke” Campaign, & Dark Arts of Regime Propaganda: here.