More than 300 Iraqi oil workers have staged a wildcat strike in Basra and demonstrated outside the headquarters of the state-owned Southern Oil Company.
The walkout included workers from oil fields in Basra; from North and South Rumaila, Albirjisya, West of Qurna and Majnoon. Their slogans focused on corruption among company managers. They also demanded the levelling-up of their pay and conditions to the rates of workers employed by foreign oil companies.
Oil bosses used private security to confront demonstrators, and worker activist Sami Hassan was imprisoned for two hours.
Quoted in the Lebanese Daily Star, oil worker Assad Abu Hussein said “If the Southern Oil Company does not give us our rights of profits and bonuses, we will stop production. Just because we are poor and our field was not developed by a foreign company like the rest of the oil fields, we are being treated unfairly.”
The Iraqi Freedom Congress reports that the workers were organised by the General Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq, a split from the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq (the main left-wing union federation).
The Iraqi Oil Workers' Federation, led by Hassan Juma'a, and the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (the most “mainstream” of Iraq's union federations) also have bases amongst Basra's oil workers.