UK Trade Unionists Express Support for Bahraini Medics

Trade unionists in the UK and Australia have been expressing their solidarity with imprisoned medics over the past few weeks, with a campaign calling for their release. The UK based Mena Solidarity Network has teamed up with the Bahraini Australia Youth Movement, in a campaign also supported by the Australian Nurses Federation.

They have been calling on trade unionists and workers to send pictures with signs of the names of the Bahraini medics, who are still in prison for treating injured protesters. A number of British health workers have joined the campaign including doctors and medical students part of UNITE, Britains largest trade union.

The Assistant General Secretary of UNITE, Gail Cartmail has also supported the campaign, as well as the Secretary General of the Union GMB, Paul Kenny. (both shown below)

Medics at London’s University College Hospital, one of the largest NHS Trusts in the UK, have overwhelmingly backed the campaign, passing a motion that condemns the imprisonment of the medics and calls on the UK Government to stop selling arms to Bahrain.

Others backing the campaign include the Tower Hamlets (London) branch of the British Medical Association, as well as students and staff studying at Ruskin College in Oxford.


Trade unionists and students in the master of arts programme in International Labour and Trade Union Studies at Ruskin College in Oxford express solidarity with jailed Bahraini health care workers. Students are joined by their tutor Ian Manborde and guest lecturer Doug Miller (author of ‘Last Night Shift in Savar’)

It’s not just health workers who have backed the campaign, a group of blacklisted construction workers also took time out of their own campaign meeting to support the Bahraini medics.

As well as the picture campaign, MENA Solidarity has called on trade unionists to pass the following motion through their unions:

  • This union condemns the imprisonment of Ibrahim al Demistani, Hassan Matooq, Ahmed Ali Almushatat, Haleema Al Sabagh, Dr Ali Al-Ekri, Dr Ghassan Dhaif and Dr Saeed Al Samahiji, and resolves to write to the Bahraini authorities calling for their immediate release, and for the release of all other political prisoners in Bahrain.
  • This union further condemns the British government’s continued willingness to sell arms to Bahraini authorities despite the ongoing repression there. Since 14 February 2011, the British government has approved at least £16m of export licenses for military equipment to the Bahrain, including small arms ammunition, body armour and training hand grenades. We call on the British government to stop the export of military equipment to Bahrain.
  • This union resolves to circulate details of the campaign for the arrested medics to our members and encourages them to take part.
  • This union further resolves to send this resolution to our region / annual conference calling on the union to mobilise a national campaign to highlight the repression against healthworkers, other trade unionists and activists in Bahrain since 2011.

Anne Alexander, from the MENA Solidarity Network said, “”Here in Britain, trade unionists don’t have to face the kind of repression that our colleagues in Bahrain have endured. But we can all take inspiration from their courage in standing up for their democratic rights. At a time when our own health service is under attack – not from armed police and tanks, but Tory cuts which are devastating services and slashing jobs – we think it is particularly important to show our solidarity with healthworkers in Bahrain, and link together our common struggles for social justice and genuine democracy. Given the long and shameful history of collaboration between British governments and Bahrain’s repressive rulers, we want to send a clear message to David Cameron that trade unionists here stand with their colleagues in Bahrain.”

The group ran a similar campaign, a few months ago, to support imprisoned teachers in Bahrain:

To join the campaign use the following links to print your own solidarity sign and email to

Ibrahim al-Demistani
Hassan Matooq
Haleema al-Sabbagh
Ahmed Ali Almushatat
Dr Ali Al-Ekri
Dr Saeed Al Samahiji

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