Iraqi workers demand control

Submitted by martin on 16 May, 2003 - 10:27

Basra protest condemns imposed oil bosses
Solidarity with the peoples of Iraq!
No US/UK occupation

By Gerry Bates

On 9 May workers at the Basra refinery, Iraq's second-largest, staged a protest, demanding elections to choose their managers. The British army officer in charge of the refinery has replaced its old Ba'ath party top managers with ex-Ba'ath party middle managers.
The occupying management has clashed with the workers.
The chief executive of Iraq's South Refineries Co - British Army Major, Mark Tilley of the Royal Engineers -says: "I've got a refinery to run and I can't change the management now."
The workers at the refinery say the purge hasn't gone far enough. The workers demand "Liberal Elections" and say "We Don't Want Another Saddam".
The issue of workers' control at the Basra plant is a vital one for the whole country: the plant is the only one in the country producing cooking fuel, which Iraq's 24 million people rely on to make meals and boil water.
But food and clean water are low down the new powers' priority list.
Their main task is to get the oil pumped out so that the oil market can be restored to good order. Any delay to the resumption of normal oil sales from Iraq would bolster world prices. Crude prices have jumped in recent weeks.
The Basra protests may be the beginning of the other actions by workers to assert themselves in an attempt to determine the shape of the new order, to rebuild Iraq, to fight for the kind of resources that will undermine the conditions which have bred the looting. Over the coming weeks, Solidarity, together with No Sweat, will be putting together a campaign in solidarity with Iraqi workers. For more details phone: 0207 207 3997 or email

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