Labour Friends of Iraq support the right of workers in Iraq, as everywhere, to choose for themselves their trade union. This is a basic labour right enshrined in International Labour Conventions 87 and 98. The union’s political viewpoint is not legally relevant to the right to freely establish a trade union. In a democracy, the state has no right to abrogate to itself the right to define one union as legal and another as illegal.
Labour Friends of Iraq notes that the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Union of the Unemployed – a small federation linked to the ultra-left Worker-Communist Party of Iraq – has lodged a complaint at the ILO claiming that the Interim Iraqi Government has refused it recognition.
The FCWUI further claims that ‘The governor of Sharaban [in Baghdad] issued an official order to all companies and factories in this neighbourhood to prevent and try any labour activist who joins FWCUI. He stressed that the only official and legal federation is IFTU and threatened to arrest those who joined FWCUI’.
A formal complaint has been sent by the FCWUI to the ILO. The ILO’s Committee on the Freedom of Association discussed this complaint in November but has informed the FWCUI (December 8 2004) that ILO discussions have been adjourned ‘since it had still not received the [Interim Iraqi] government’s observations’. LFIQ will monitor this story. (AJ)