Redressing the wronged employees

21 Jan, '12

In this country, over a thousand have been dismissed from their positions for doing nothing other than expressing their opinions. Quite a number were fired for simply being Shi’a. My head just cannot get around this. Disregard, for the moment, the fact the as many households have been disadvantaged directly due to this despicable practice, how on earth do those who have ordered this heinous crime to be committed and those who condoned such collective punishment dream of this helping their cause, let alone the country as a whole? And how can others expect that with just another stroke of the pen that the damage will be contained and things will go back to normal? How can they ever think that the poisoned and poisonous atmospheres which have been created ever be effective again without the root causes be addressed first?

Yes, the king has ordered those dismissed to be re-instated. Apart from the fact that his order being ignored initially, then very reluctantly implemented with various conditions and reservations attached, people who have gone back found that they were forced into different – sometimes menial – positions and they have had to accept and sign humiliating contracts and accept the loss of back-pay as well as rescind any labour or court cases they might have raised against their employers.

The question is: did those who’ve dreamt up this revengeful scheme ever think that they would be allowed to get away with it? Did they mistake the times we’re living in to be medieval with disconnected fiefdoms and whatever they as overlords wish shall be done with alacrity and without any consequences?

If they have – and it appears that some certainly did – then the life they’re living is an isolated one in their own minds, and is of their own making.

How can this mess be fixed now?

If the offered fixes follow the perennial methods which treat symptoms rather than the causes, then their efficacy will be wanting. Nothing other than addressing root causes will work; the legal employment structure must be re-examined especially in the public sector, and I suggest the heads of the Civil Service Bureau be relieved of their duties for not standing up for their employees in the first instance. Second, adequate compensation for the wrongful dismissals and for the trauma those actions have caused and most importantly those responsible for giving out those despicable orders and their attached witch-hunting committees must be held to account, publicly. They have done untold damage to this country and its society. As such, they must be penalized and made example of so that this abrogation of responsibility and revengeful and criminal behaviour is never allowed to happen again.

Resolution won’t happen until these matters are adequately and ethically addressed.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Talal says:

    Mahmood, they got employed. Salary getting into their account once again. Period. If they really are demotivated, why not look for better jobs out there? Why not jump into the private sector? So some gov. managers are unfairly sticking those employees into menial jobs, their decision not anyone else. King said to bring them back, with no specific detailed conditions. What did you expect?

    One possible action, if they are willing to go though it, is sue for discrimination. Their choice if they really want to fight it to the end legally speaking.

    Current environment even for them to go back to the same job expecting it will be the same exact environment they had is wishful thinking. If you haven’t noticed, Bahraini’s are no longer the same tolerant people they once were (or atleast now their emotions bubbled up and quite visible when before it wasn’t). People are mad from all sides. Extremist views are everywhere if you look closely. That’s just the sad fact of reality today in Bahrain. Trust me when I say that it pisses me off to the point of stopping friends I know from talking further about their extremist views.

    In reality, if it’s shitty situation you are in while back in your job, do something about it and look elsewhere. Lots of people should make up their own minds and start fresh, dont look back. The medics for example should open their open clinic or consultancy, whatever. They’re much more well-known and famous today that their business can flourish (much more than being in the same situation pre-Feb.14.) They’re smart educated people so put that knowledge into good use.

    Let’s adapt to the situation we live in, and heal each side in their time (some heal fast, some will take years). western governments face crap every day from disgruntled employees, but the smart people adapt, take their own initiatives and live a better life. I for one dont give a damn about what government does, so long as they give me the right to live peacefully and reach to prosperity whether in my business or other’s businesses in a fair positive business climate.

    • mahmood says:

      Justice and equitable living demands other than the dismissed simply getting their jobs back without so much as an apology, or at least an admittance of guilt in order to redress their psychological state if nothing else. Creating re-induction schemes will also help those companies who really believe in their long-term health; however, the issue remains that those who ordered the unfair dismissals remain within those organizations. How long do you think they – assuming that they necessarily are in more powerful positions – will continue to mete out their revengeful ways to further alienate not only those who’ve been readmitted, but those who continued to be employed?

      Yes, people can walk to other careers and opportunities, but that will not see justice being done and without justice, equitable living will not be and a repeat will recur.

      This is not a case of disgruntled employees; this is most definitely one where justice has not been done and redressing the balance there will take much more than simply – and reluctantly – accepting the dismissed back.

      • Talal says:

        Totally agree on the part of those who ordered dismissals still hold power not being punished for what they have done. Yes, they should be punished for dismissing people purely on sectarian grounds (i.e. Minister of Education, his day will come).

        Then again, the people that have been re-instated and feel psychologically low about the re-instatement I believe can heal with more than 1 way. Don’t forget that there are support systems in society (family, communities, societies) that equally have a role in this problem just as government has. Let government go through the recommendations set in the BICI one by one, and let Saleh Al Saleh handle the idiots still holding power and not being punished (he has after all backed by the King and no one can stop him, even the PM).

        Mahmood, everyone is psychologically damaged in Bahrain. We can’t say there are people more psychological messed up than others. Everyone is not the same anymore. You know and I know it. We live in a sort’ve schizophrenic environment, and therefore cant expect government single-handidly fix people’s psychological emotions. Everyone, from you, me, local communities and societies needs to pitch in and temper if not find solutions to fix problems.

        Let’s hope there more of the ‘helpers’ out there than the ‘complainers-to-government’ . It will take compromise, guts, and determination to do so from everyone. Let’s not be ‘told’ to do something or find restrictions or flaws within our own (damaged) government, and look at our own conscience: live a better life for me and my children. We own our life, not anyone else owning it.

        • DANA says:

          Talal, do you really believe that everyone at the higher level who messed up – or indeed deliberately ordered actions – from Interior to Education- will be dealt with ?

          I wonder….and I don’t think there are many who hold out hope for it – in fact, the actions and new resolve we see now on the part of the protesters, are in part a direct result of the persons in charge of ‘messing up’ not being dealt with.

          Perhaps a few new advisors will be brought in. This is highly convenient, as you can recruit them from the countries you most want to impress, and can let them advise.

          If they do well, great. If they don’t, then you send them packing and apportion the whole blame to them and say to their nations leaders: ‘ we tried, but YOUR experts failed’.

          I think too that everyone has some extent of psychological damage in Bahrain. But I would argue that the extent of that damage is a bit different if you still have a good life living in some areas of Manama or Riffa, vs if you live in a small village that has seen a lot of crackdown and police brutality, lost someone from the community, has had many people arrested, injured, houses vandalized.

          The social fabric is there, and the bonds within communities, at least on the sides of the protesters, are becoming stronger and stronger. That too is a force not to underestimate.

          And some people are finding outlets in other ways — whatever you think about the protests, wherever you stand, you have got to admire the resilience and ways of dealing with a lousy situation when people actually collect rubber bullets and tear gas canisters that were fired on them and their community, and turn them into art..

        • mahmood says:

          We live in a sort’ve schizophrenic environment, and therefore cant expect government single-handidly fix people’s psychological emotions. Everyone, from you, me, local communities and societies needs to pitch in and temper if not find solutions to fix problems.

          But you cannot absolve the government from this primary responsibility! Governments are there to serve their people, not to subjugate them and bring the wrath of the devil on them for expressing their opinions and daring to demand a better life and a better share of the spoils.

          So allow me to disagree with you somewhat here. It is the government who are almost solely responsible for this mess. In any self respecting country, they would have voluntarily resigned and with their resignation will not have negated the legal apparatus’ role in questioning their actions and serving them their just deserts behind bars for their culpability.

          Until that time, I’ll continue to be of the ‘complainers-to-government’ camp.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this short but well written piece on the wronged unemployed. Sadly, we have returned to the middle ages through such inhumane acts.
    I believe there will be a point in time where the unemployed will be re instated in their rightful positions, perhaps with compensation. However the fate of those who carried out these orders and those who encouraged are being well rewarded through certain governmental bodies.
    When will they repent? When will the government act sternly against sectarianism? That is unknown.. And I am the least hopeful that that day will come.

  3. DANA says:

    On the pragmatic side, I agree with Talal.

    Taking all notion of just and unjust in the Bahraini/protest context out of it for a moment: this kind of unfair treatment towards employees on the actual job happens in a lot of settings – I don’t think just in Bahrain.

    And indeed, the employee has two options: stand up and take legal paths, or put up with it and as soon as possible leave to a better job — IF there are better jobs, and not for all will there be open opportunities out there, especially these days.
    We could continue here, back into the discussion on Bahrainis looking abroad for opportunities.

    Do the people who sacked them care ? No. Do these people want to see their re-instated employees enjoy a pleasant work life and promising career progress ? No.

    Will it get better and will there be justice one day ? From my perspective, I repeat what I said in this forum before: only if there is one day a strategic and fully supported programme conducted or supervized by an experienced and impartial international organization.

  4. somebody says:

    Dana and Talal, regarding your advice for wronged workers to take legal action, are you kidding? We all know what the legal system is like here – civil cases take decades to be resolved. Look at the yacht tragedy – that was when, 2005? Last I heard, the compensation case had been adjourned yet again. And this is a high profile case, known internationally – ordinary cases are even slower.

    Furthermore, if anyone with big wasta wants the case thrown out, the judge will do so (often, they’re from the same family….). How many times has a Bahraini court found against the Bahrain government? It happens regularly in Europe and the US, places which have an independent judiciary. But in Bahrain? Never, because the upper echelons of the government, security forces and judiciary are all the same people. A club. A big, happy family.

    Talal – I’m a bit confused: in your second last paragraph, you write “if you’re in a shitty situation in your job, do something about it”. Fair enough. But in your last paragraph, you then write: “Let’s adapt to the situation we live in, and heal each side”.

    Er, so if your situation is very bad, should you try to do something about it, or should you simply adapt to it? You suggested both mutually exclusive options in one post, which is a little confusing.

    I hope you would agree that the first option is the better of the two. That is what the protesters have been doing for the last year. Until the injustices in their situation (see above; foreign mercenaries; 30 year housing waits; employment blacklists, etc, etc) are addressed, you can’t expect anybody to “heal”.

    (I was inspired to write this because I just watched Braveheart on MBC2 🙂

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