Iraqi trade unions

What’s wrong with “Stop the War”?


Simon Nelson

The Stop The War Coalition enjoyed its heyday around the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but has regained some prominence since David Cameron’s government first proposed the bombing of Syria in August 2013.

Kurdish construction workers demand recognition

The Kurdish Construction Workers' Organisation, active mainly in Iraqi Kurdistan, is appealing for support in its campaign to get recognition from the Kurdish Regional Government.

The Kurdistan Regional Government must formally recognise the Organization of Construction Workers in Kurdistan!

Iraqi labour under fire as sectarianism grows

Sectarian violence continues in Iraq, with 21 people killed in bombings in Baghdad on 20 January. The central government, dominated by Shi’ite Muslim parties and led by Nouri al-Maliki, recently launched a military counteroffensive against Sunni-Islamist militias which have taken control of areas in the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah in western Iraq.

Falah Alwan, President of the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI, one of Iraq’s main labour federations), spoke to Solidarity about the situation in the country.

Iraqi union leader on trial

At a hearing on 3 June, the Iraqi Southern Oil Company lawyer presented a list of charges against Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) leader Hassan Juma’a based on a letter from the Inspector General of the Iraq Ministry of Oil in Baghdad.

The SOC claims that strikes which Hassan’s union has organised have caused them financial damage. Hassan, and his international supporters, believe that he has done no more than carry out his legitimate and legal duties as a trade union activist.

Iraqi trade unions fight for independence

The main issue facing Iraqi workers is the government’s attempt to impose a new labour code.

Workers have been working without an official labour code since the fall of the Ba’athist regime. Effectively people have been working on the basis of established traditions, conventions, and practises rather than a legal code.

There was a draft in 2004, but in our view this was worse than the 1936 labour law of the old monarchy! The new labour code also perpetuates Saddam Hussein’s 1987 ban on unions and collective bargaining in the public sector.

Iraqi unions resist anti-worker labour law

The unions in Iraq are continuing our joint campaign against the imposition of a new labour law, and against governmental interference in union elections.

The labour code the government is currently proposing represents only the interests of the factory owners and big business. It’s worse than the labour laws of the Saddam era. It guarantees no basic workers’ workers, and prevents freedom of association and strikes. It also relates only to the private sector, as public sector workers are formally considered “public servants” rather than workers.

US withdraws from Iraq

By Martin Thomas

At the end of December, the last US troops will withdraw from Iraq, eight years and eight months after the invasion of March 2003.

Bungling to the last, the USA sent vice-president Joe Biden to tour Iraq declaring the operation a success, and he held forth to a puzzled audience on the great things the USA has done in Baku. Baku is in Azerbaijan, not Iraq.

US troops to quit Iraq

On Friday 21 October US president Barack Obama announced that the 46,000 US troops still in Iraq (down from a peak of 170,000) will all leave the country by 31 December 2011.

Attacks on Iraqi unions

There are escalating attacks on Iraqi union leaders and activists in the Kurdish area of Northern Iraq and in Baghdad.

In Kirkuk, management of the Northern [State-owned] Oil Company, punitively transferred Jamal Abdul-Jabbar, President of the Oil and Gas Union, to a remote location in retaliation after he led a major walkout in defense of contract workers and for better conditions and safe work environment.

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New social protests in Iraq

Martin Thomas spoke to Falah Alwan ( FWCUI), Toma Hamid (WCPI in Australia), and Mansour Razaghi (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Australia who has been in close touch with the Iraqi unions) about recent protests in Iraq.

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