Kurdish construction workers demand recognition

Submitted by AWL on 10 December, 2014 - 12:18

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!

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Iraqi labour under fire as sectarianism grows

Submitted by Matthew on 22 January, 2014 - 10:27

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.

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Iraqi union leader on trial

Submitted by Matthew on 12 June, 2013 - 9:26

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.

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Iraqi trade unions fight for independence

Submitted by Matthew on 1 August, 2012 - 10:57

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.

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Iraqi unions resist anti-worker labour law

Submitted by Matthew on 23 May, 2012 - 7:19

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.

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US withdraws from Iraq

Submitted by Matthew on 14 December, 2011 - 9:27

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.

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Submitted by martin on Fri, 16/12/2011 - 12:17

"Turkey, Iran, China, South Korea, Italy, and Arab states" are "far outpacing the US and UK" in winning contracts in Iraq.

French capitalists are doing well, too. "As well as investing in telecoms and building two car plants, [the French firm] Lafarge produces 60% of the cement sold in Iraq" (Financial Times, 16 December).

Shell and Exxon have won some oil contracts. But in the big Iraqi government auction in 2009: "Two of the most lucrative of the multi-billion-dollar oil contracts went to two countries which bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion — Russia and China — while even Total Oil of France, which led the charge to deny international approval for the war at the U.N. Security Council in 2003, won a bigger stake than the Americans in the most recent auction" (Time magazine, 19/12/09).

Norway's DNO International, Turkey's Genel Enerji, and the Chinese state-owned Sinopec, as well as US-based Exxon, have big oil contracts in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq.

Further, "the Iraqis are pursuing economic relations with countries such as Iran, which had been their enemies but are now close trading partners" (FT).

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly bemoans the lack of American companies with contracts in Iraq, but the best guess must be that Maliki (who, when in exile from Saddam, chose to live in Syria, Iran's close ally, rather than in Britain or the USA) is saying it for show.

The USA has been unable to control their outcome. The misdeeds of the US armed forces have made it harder for US companies to win contracts, and the US companies themselves more cautious about even attempting to come in.

Martin Thomas

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US troops to quit Iraq

Submitted by Matthew on 26 October, 2011 - 11:54

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