By Andy Sambidge
Telco says move made 'in spirit of building Bahraini community' after months of unrest
Bahrain's main telco has said it will re-employ workers sacked after strikes connected to pro-democracy protests.
Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) said in a statement that the move had been made "in the spirit of building the Bahraini community".
It added that its directors has held discussions to review the status of employees terminated in 2011 for "breaching employment contracts and policies".
"Accordingly, efforts are being taken to employ terminated employees," the statement said.
More than 2,000 mainly Shi'ite workers were sacked from state-controlled companies last year for taking part in strikes and protests against perceived discrimination.
Batelco chairman Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdulla al-Khalifa said that Batelco would employ terminated employees "who agree to abide by Bahrain's labour law and Batelco internal policies".
"Our decision has been reached in line with Batelco's efforts in building the Bahraini community in support of the Kingdom's efforts to maintain stability," he said.
"A number of discussions have taken place with the relevant authorities, assigned by the government of Bahrain, that have been working with all parties to find a solution to a number of issues. We are pleased to support their initiatives and move forward with a positive attitude," added Shaikh Hamad.
He said Batelco was "committed to do all that we can to maintain stability in our home".
Despite moves to ease tensions, unrest continues in the Gulf island state. Shi'ites and police clash regularly outside the capital, Manama.
A commission of international lawyers set up by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to investigate the unrest said in November that many Bahrainis had been unfairly dismissed. The government promised to implement its recommendations.
Bahrain's Formula One circuit, due to host a race in April after the 2011 edition was cancelled, reinstated staff on Wednesday.
Re: Bahrain: The UN Human Rights officer said a few days ago "the situation there has not changed much from the uprising in March last year" http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/d/19247.html Interesting that once Human Rights groups brought this issue up, staff are being asked to return to work.
On the ground, reinstatement can mean many things. The head of the Manama governate was reinstated for 2 weeks until he found out in the media yesterday that he was replaced by one of the Al Khalifa family. A teacher was reinstated into a local library. People have been reinstated at lower pay and demoted. Also, reinstatement never means everyone. Almost half the students have not been allowed back. Dropping trials against athletes doesn't mean they have been released from prison.
The Bahrain government has recently paid around $1million to western PR firms to improve its image. It does this by releasing feel-good short articles that never reveal the whole truth.