DOL Recommends Further Discussion to Improve Bahrain Labor Compliance

Secretary of Labor Solis commends the new government on steps taken to improve labor, but points out areas where changes can be made.

According to a Department of Labor report, the country of Bahrain still has a long way to go before it meets labor commitments made under the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the report recommending further consultations between the U.S. and the country, in light of the 2011 political unrest.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations with the DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs Office of Trade and Labor Affairs filed a submission, which led to the report. The report does recognize that the Bahraini government has made strides in labor improvements.

Following the civil upheaval in February and March of last year, 2,700 workers were fired in Bahrain. According to the report, the majority of those employees have been reinstated.

The report states that most of these employees dismissed were general strike, trade unionists and leaders targeted by the new government.

"It is our duty to ensure that trading partners meet their commitments to labor standards in free trade agreements,” said Secretary Solis. “We at the Department of Labor, and throughout the Obama administration, take this responsibility very seriously, and this report reflects that. We are hopeful that through engagement with our trading partner we will find a solution that is good for workers both in the United States and Bahrain."

The full report can be found on the Department of Labor website.

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