VIDEO: GFBTU S-G in Farewell Speech Calls for Agreement to Put an end to Crisis
2016-03-07 - 9:17 p
Bahrain Mirror: Mr. Sayed Salman Al-Mahfouz, Secretary General of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions, whose term has ended, called on all parties to launch initiatives to fill in the gaps that segregate the constituents of the political scene in order to reach an agreement that can put an end to this crisis that "has exhausted all of us."
His call came in his farewell speech, which he delivered during the opening day of the third general conference that kicked off on Saturday (March 5, 2016), and after he stepped down and announced that he will not run for the union's General Secretariat again.
At the beginning of his speech, Al-Mahfouz recounted the challenges that the union has confronted since 2011, "the situation at that time was way harder, more critical and dangerous," adding that after four years, "the union is steadfast."
Al-Mahfouz talked about the stages that the labour movement has gone through during the last term, particularly the political unrest in the region and Bahrain that "caused changes in the country and left marks still present today on the political, economic and social levels. Addressing these marks is important to all parties."
The Secretary-General further stated that undoubtedly the dialogue is the only thing we call for; "the political and economic dialogue which is the symbol of our conference, and the social dialogue which represents the correct relation between the three parties."
Al-Mahfouz also tackled lifting the government's subsidies on fuel, electricity, meat and other commodities and services, stating that "all these measures, in our opinion, should not be taken unilaterally by the government. The measures should be taken through partnership with the civil society, union trade and legislative authority via a transparent dialogue."
"We should have started to address the financial irregularities that were proved by the Bahrain's Financial Regulatory in order to return the money to the state's treasury instead of lifting subsidies as a way to reduce the expenditures and increase resources," he noted.
Mr. Salman Al-Mahfouz also reiterated his call for establishing an economic and social council to manage the balance between salaries and prices, put a minimum wage variable, solve the unemployment issue and provide support for people of low income.
He also pointed out the "representation in the tripartite bodies", indicating that the right of the "most represented" is one the principles stipulated by the international labour standards, urging to adhere to these standards.
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