Khalil Ibrahim Fardan, president of the General Union of Port Workers in Bahrain (GUPWB), was dismissed on 11 November. The ITF-affiliated General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), which is representing Fardan and his union, had hoped that a meeting with the company’s management a week later would prove positive but was informed on 19 November that APMT was going ahead with the dismissal.
ITF general secretary Steve Cotton wrote to Jameel Bin Mohammed Ali Hamaidan, Bahrain’s labour and social development minister, on 17 November that the GFBTU reported that APMT’s claim about work practices was both an inadequate excuse for the dismissal and illegal, according to Bahraini law.
He said: “It has come to our knowledge by the GFBTU that Fardan has been previously targeted by the company due to his active union work, and preventing him from the legitimate right of performing his role as a union leader is unacceptable to the trade union movement worldwide and the ITF, as such an action is a violation of trade union rights.
“I therefore call for your personal intervention in requesting an immediate investigation on the legality of Khalil Fardan’s dismissal.
“The ITF is hopeful that the right solution will be achieved with your support and guidance.”
The general assembly of the GUPWB met on 24 November to discuss the situation. It issued a statement in which it expressed ‘strong and complete solidarity’ with Fardan, described the dismissal as ‘anti-union’ and urged the company into dialogue. It also conveyed its thanks for their support to the labour ministry, the GFBTU, the ITF and its affiliates.