Briefing on Iraqi labour movement held in the Commons

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson chaired a briefing in the Commons, on Tuesday, on the new unified Iraqi TUC – the Iraqi Workers Federation – with senior trade union leaders, party activists and Foreign Office and Iraqi officials.
These included Kevin Curran from the International Foodworkers’ Union, Tim Lezard, President of the NUJ and Joni McDougall, the International Secretary of the GMB.
The meeting was addressed by the Iraqi labour movement’s international representative Abdullah Muhsin who stressed the importance of the free unions as part of Iraq’s new non-sectarian civil society.
Dave Anderson, who is Chair of the Labour Friends of Iraq group, said: “People took different views on the invasion of Iraq but we should now do all we can to back Iraqi democrats and the new unions in particular which are trying to bring peace and democracy to their country.The recent elections in Iraq and the development of a genuinely independent trade union movement point to real progress on the road to democracy. At this time of year our thoughts should be with the people of Iraq and our troops on the ground. I intend to continue to work with the Itaqi people to help them in any way that I can to rebuild their lives.”
Dave Anderson is also helping to publicise the new Books to Iraq initiative which aims to raise money for medical textbooks to help rebuild Iraq’s public health education system. The biggest union in the country, Unison, has agreed to encourage its members to help with the appeal.
Dave Anderson will raise this issue in the Commons in the new year with the following Commons motion:
That this House believes that Iraq has given the world a great legacy of pharmaceutical and medical knowledge; further notes that in addition to the recent conflict and continuing violence two wars and twelve years of sanctions have had a crippling effect on Iraq’s pharmacy education and practice, severely affected access to information resources such as books and journals and imposed a total isolation from the international scientific community; and supports the new initiative Books to Iraq – – which has been created by pharmacists who wish to contribute to rebuilding Iraqi Schools of Pharmacy by raising money to send them a range of medical and pharmaceutical textbooks because the safe supply of drugs, and drug information is an essential tool of public health which will directly help Iraqi Universities, academics and students and indirectly help the wider Iraqi population as well as help replenish the knowledge that Iraq held for humanity in the past.