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Bahrain union calls off national strike

Bahrain's largest trade union calls off strike, schooling resumes

Bahrain is finally returning to a state of normalcy after recent unrest.
Bahrain is finally returning to a state of normalcy after recent unrest.

Bahrain's largest trade union yesterday cancelled a nationwide strike after receiving assurances that the safety of its workers would not be compromised.

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) made the decision after meeting with Shura Council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh and Labour Ministry officials.

"We discussed several key issues workers are facing for the past few weeks, with their safety on top priority," said GFBTU secretary-general Salman Mahfoodh.

"The officials said they would work towards removing all barriers that would stop any worker from resuming their duties. Based on this we decided to call off the strike and urge all workers to resume their duties today."

The federation initially called for a strike on 20 February after the Bahrain military was deployed on the streets to quell anti-government protesters. However, this was called off the same day after the tanks pulled out.

The latest strike was called at the start of last week in solidarity with protesters. "During the meeting, we agreed some recommendations made by Labour Ministry officials mainly assuring that workers will not be targeted by anyone when they go to work," said Mahfoodh.

The federation, which represents more than 60 trade unions, was also concerned that workers would have had their salaries docked for participating in the strike.

"Employers should not deduct wages during this period," said GFBTU assistant secretary for the private sector Karim Radhi. In other developments yesterday, about 60,000 students returned to school following days of closures.

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