Bahrain Unions to Extend Strike

MANAMA—Bahrain’s largest trade union Sunday called for nationwide strikes to be prolonged until foreign troops are withdrawn from the kingdom and pro-government militias are disbanded, posing another threat to Bahrain’s fragile economy.

Speaking after a meeting of the General Federation for Bahrain Trade Unions, which represents more than 60 trade unions across Bahrain, general secretary Sayed Salman said that unions wanted to avoid causing lasting damage to the economy, but were left with no choice but to extend the general strike. He said foreign troop intervention and mounting attacks on Bahraini workers by armed government loyalists are “unacceptable.”

“As of now 70% of Bahraini workers are on strike and in this situation we cannot call our people back to duty. We hope that it won’t be a long time as our workers are also suffering, but we want all the militias and foreign forces to be taken off the streets…The situation here is unacceptable,” Mr. Salman said in an interview.

The trade union group represents workers from across Bahrain’s services and construction sectors, including Gulf Air, the national carrier, and Bapco, the island’s largest oil company.

An official from the Bapco trade union said that the refinery, which has the capacity to produce more than 250,000 barrels a day of crude, has partially shut down production owing to staff shortages.

“Only 10% is working properly at BAPCO…80-85% of production and distribution is now affected,” the union official said.

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