Bahraini Formula One workers still unfairly dismissed

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.

11 thoughts on “Bahraini Formula One workers still unfairly dismissed

  1. Witnesses: Bahrain police fire tear gas at funeral

    January 21, 2012 04:55 PM

    Associated Press

    MANAMA: Bahraini security forces have fired tear to disperse mourners at the funeral of a man whose death brought conflicting accounts between authorities and the kingdom’s main opposition group.

    Witnesses say clashes began after some people began chanting anti-government slogans in a cemetery. Bahrain has been hit by near daily unrest since February 2011 when majority Shiites began protests for greater rights from the Sunni monarchy.

    The funeral Saturday came a week after conflicting reports over the death of the 24-year-old.

    Officials say the man drowned, but the Shiite opposition group Al Wefaq says his family claimed he was in police custody. Wefaq asked for an independent investigation.


  2. Bahrain: More martyrs amid a damned air show

    Bahrain Freedom Movement – 20/01/2012 – 12:20 am

    Yaseen Jassim Al Asfoor, 11, is the latest martyr on the way to liberate Bahrain from the Al Khalifa and Al Saud occupation. Last month, he was exposed to intensive chemical gases fired into his house by the Al Khalifa mercenary forces. He was taken to hospital where his condition deteriorated further until his lungs collapsed He remained in the last three weeks in intensive care.

    He passed away today amid growing public anger at the way Bahrainis are being slaughtered by the murderous regime. This is the second martyr in a week. For the people, the killing of this boy has only confirmed the need to change the regime which is becoming increasingly vicious despite the calls for its own allies as well its investigation commission to change its track. Salma Abdul Muhsin, an elderly Bahraini woman was martyred earlier in the week as a result of inhaling chemical gases fired by the Al Khalifa forces into her house. She became ill and was taken to hospital, where she died three days later. Another woman, Badria Ali, 59, had become so depressed by the arrest and torture of her son that she burnt herself to death last weekend. The two tragic events have highlighted the plight of the people under the Al Khalifa oppressive regime.

    The forth martyr this month is the 22-years old young Bahraini who was brutally murdered by the Al Khalifa Death Squads operated by the royal court. Yousuf Ahmad Mawali, 24, was kidnapped early on 11th January after leaving his home. His father reported him to the police later in the day and the officer in charge of Samaheej police station told him that Yousuf was at the Criminal Investigation Department in Manama. Three days later the police called the family to inform them that the body of their son had been found on a beach at Amwaj island. He had allegedly drowned. This lie was rejected outright by the family who has refused to sign a false death certificate stating the cause of the death as drowning. The Al Khalifa have made it a condition that they would not hand over the body until the family has signed the falsified document. The body remains at a cold store, contrary to Bahraini traditions and ethics which prefer fast burial of the dead in dignity and honour. A young man’s body has thus become a bargaining utility in the hands of a brutal regime.

    The people’s determination to continue the revolution until the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship has been overthrown has intensified in recent days. Yesterday the whole country was engulfed in thick smoke as Bahrainis sought to inform the international community that their revolution had come to remain and achieve its goals. The regime had organised an Air Show as a means of deception to the international community that all is stable and the people’s revolt had ended. The 14th February Alliance that had led the revolution called for a special country-wide event under the theme “The mourning of the sky”. The youth hurried to the streets lighting fires across the main road and creating pitch black smoke that was easily visible by those attending the air show more fifteen miles away. The show is oragnised by the Farnborough International which said that the decision to go ahead with the show despite the ongoing crackdown was with the Al Khalifa, not with them. Major news agencies reported the event alongside the people’s revolution, a scenario that the Al Khalifa and the Al Saud would not have liked to emerge.

    Meanwhile the daily and nightly protests had continued unabated. Each corner of the country has contributed on daily basis to the protests and demonstrations despite the unrestricted repression by the ruling Al Khalifa family, which is supported by the Saudi occupiers. The standard slogan has remained a stark reminder that there is no way that Bahrainis will ever accept the present dictator exploiting his position to inflict maximum damange on the people. The call for an immediate end to Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship has become the standard slogan and it has become inconceivable that the two sides will live together again.

    Any hope of a political solution has been dashed by the dictator who delivered a speech this week calling on the people to stop their revolution and embrace the regime with little marginal changes to the Al Khalifa constitution. The situation was made worse by a statement from the Al Khalifa crown prince who confined any reform to what his father had announced, arguing that no political reforms could be offered outside the present political tools and mechanisms. Even those who had pinned hopes for reform on the Al Khalifa crown prince now feel that they had been betrayed by a cunning regime that is far from reforms.

    Bahrain Freedom Movement
    20th January 2012


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  4. Bahrain F1 circuit ‘fails to reinstate sacked staff’

    By Elizabeth Broomhall

    Monday, 23 January 2012 12:40 PM

    Bahrain’s race circuit, the venue for its April Grand Prix, has failed to reinstate staff fired during last year’s uprising, despite a promise by the Gulf state that it would rehire those suspended.

    Just three of the 29 people sacked during the protests have returned to work this month, media reports said, with some refusing to accept terms offered by Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

    Leading local activist Nabeel Rajab said the offer to reinstate the staff was an attempt to deflect attention from calls for a boycott of the planned April race.

    “I very strongly believe that [the promise to rehire] was primarily just to get Formula One back,” said Rajab, vice president at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. “They should not just have reinstated those people, they should have launched an investigation. They don’t know why they were sacked and now they are expected to come back to work without answers?”

    Bahrain’s Ministry of Labour said Aug 18 that 2,463 employees had been dismissed since the start of the anti-government uprisings.

    Arabian Business reported this month that rights groups in Bahrain had urged F1 teams and fans to boycott the April Grand Prix in protest at abuses in the kingdom.

    Bahrain’s season-opening race at Sakhir circuit was cancelled last year after widespread political unrest in the country and the deaths of a number of pro-reform demonstrators.

    An independent report into the crackdown on protesters found authorities used “excessive force” and listed the systematic torture of detainees.

    Activists in the kingdom have said they will target the F1 race if it goes ahead in April.

    Last weekend’s Bahrain Air Show, the island’s first global event since the uprisings, saw protesters burn tyres around Manama in a bid to embarrass the government.

    “The Bahrain Air Show was a complete failure,” said Rajab. “The airplanes were lost in a dark cloud of protesters around the area. And of course nobody came.

    “We don’t want to see Formula One to come to Bahrain. It’s better for them, it’s better for the Bahrainis and it’s better for human rights if they don’t come this year to Bahrain.”

    A spokesperson for BIC was not immediately available for comment.–441948.html


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