How did trade unionism develop in Bahrain?
New legislation introduced in 2002 authorised the official existence of trade unions. Prior to that, trade unionism existed as an underground movement, but many trade unionists were either in prison or living in exile. 2002 saw the establishment of a monarchy (Sheikh Hamad assumed the title of King) and the adoption of legislative reforms, including the recognition of freedom of association. We currently have 55 company trade unions. We do not yet have sectoral federations, but they will come, as our movement grows. There is still not much of a trade union culture in Bahrain, which is why we only have 25,000 members (10% of whom are women) out of a total labour force of 350,000 (of which 60 are migrants). We represent around 19% of local workers and perhaps 1% of migrant workers. We are involved in a dispute with the government over the trade union legislation, as it has not yet given public sector workers, the sector with the highest proportion of Bahraini employees, the right to orga