by David Binns (UCU London Retired Members)
MENA Solidarity’s Bahrain Briefing, posted on 21 May of this year, drew attention to the activities of a pro-regime trade union network named the Bahrain Labour Union Free Federation (BLUFF). BLUFF emerged in 2012, in the aftermath of the BahrainiSaudi joint state assault on democracy campaigners and independent labour movement organisations the preceding year. Leaders of the established General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions (GFBTU) as well as the Bahraini Teachers’ Association (BTA) had denounced repressive state steps against pro-democracy activists. In response, as the May Briefing noted, „attacks and victimisations of trade unionists increased over the following weeks”. These state actions included attempts to internationally isolate the GFBTU and dismissal of many among its leaders. Physical and legal attacks on BTA leaders in particular provoked international condemnation, not least from labour movement bodies.
BLUFF emerged in the midst of this struggle for…
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