A struggle to exist

Tim Lezard reports on the LFIQ delegation to Iraq in the New Statesman. He quotes the vice-president of the Iraqi Workers Federation, Hadi Ali – We have tried to build new, independent trade unions, totally different from the old ones, but Decree 8750 is stopping us. We struggled to beat Saddam. Now we are struggling to build a strong, federal and democratic Iraq.

Army Prepares For Elected Council Handover

Having created a 835 man battalion from scratch and trained 500 police officers, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are preparing to hand over the southern tribal region, bordering Iran, to an elected provincial council, in weeks. (David Spector)

LFIQ Chair defends Iraqi unions in Foreign Office Questions

Tuesday 25th April Mr. David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that the Iraqi Government are in breach of international law by the way in which they have implemented decree 8750? They have also reinstated decree 150, which attacks the country’s free and independent trade union movement. Trade union assets have been seized and public sector workers denied the right to join trade unions. Will he agree to meet Iraq’s trade union representatives in this country to try and resolve these matters? Dr. Howells: I have certainly met trade unionists from Iraq, and would be only too glad … Continue reading LFIQ Chair defends Iraqi unions in Foreign Office Questions

Will Hutton backs Iraqi trade union rights

Will Hutton examines the Euston Manifesto and includes the following perceptive comment on why the liberal press has ignored the rise of the new Iraqi labour movement. Hutton says – Because Iraqi reconstruction has been a fiasco, the liberal temptation is to side intellectually with the insurgents. But, for example, trade unions are forbidden to organise in the Iraqi public sector because of the Saddam Hussein ban still in force; the comment pages of the liberal press are hardly full of articles insisting that the Iraq government entrenches union rights. Little space is given to arguments about the wider importance … Continue reading Will Hutton backs Iraqi trade union rights

Second-hand mobile phone solidarity

The TUC has launched an appeal for unions and their members to pass on their used mobile phones to the Iraqi trade union movement as an act of second-hand solidarity. Unions representing workers in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan face incredible challenges in defending working people and rebuilding democracy. One of their requests for solidarity from British trade unionists is the provision of mobile phones – crucial for any union organiser these days, but especially in Iraq where travel can be dangerous and landlines aren’t sufficiently reliable or widespread. But mobile phones can be expensive to buy in Iraq (and UK … Continue reading Second-hand mobile phone solidarity

International trade union movement lambasts interference in Iraqi union affairs

The ICFTU has protested to the Iraqi Prime Minister about his governments labour laws. Mr. Prime Minister, the ICFTU strongly objects against this inordinate interference in the designation of the leadership of the IFTU. Dictating to a union how to organise its leadership elections, and whom not to include in it, is a blatant violation of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association. Although Iraq did not ratify this convention, it has an obligation as an ILO member to respect the principles enshrined in it. I therefore strongly urge you to ensure that the IFTU benefits of … Continue reading International trade union movement lambasts interference in Iraqi union affairs

Mandela Adviser Seeks Iraqi National Reconciliation

Nelson Mandelas former legal adviser Nicholas Haysom has spent much of the last year attempting to teach the Iraqi political classes about South Africas reconciliation process. The 1991 SA peace accord was signed by 26 political parties and organisations in the face of increasing violence. He is now attempting to replicate this form of settlement in Baghdad. (David Spector)

The Euston Manifesto

The Euston Manifesto is launched today. It is the product of discussions between a variety of bloggers and activists, including some involved in Labour Friends of Iraq, and proposes a Renewal of Progressive Politics. Its conclusion is that It is vitally important for the future of progressive politics that people of liberal, egalitarian and internationalist outlook should now speak clearly. We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic ‘anti-imperialism’ and/or hostility to the current US administration. The values and goals which properly make up that agenda – the … Continue reading The Euston Manifesto

Freedom is not free, first report from LFIQ trip to Iraq

Freedom is not free is the inscription on a major statue here in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. This part of Iraq surely knows the cost of war and repression. It’s often not mentioned much but Saddams genocidal Anfal campaign murdered nearly 200,000 Kurds and razed hundreds of villages before the uprising and what everyone here calls the liberation in 2003. Yesterday we also visited the Red House in Sulamani which was the secret police headquarters under Saddam and where hundreds of people were tortured and murdered. It’s grim but not the worst one can find. It’s being maintained … Continue reading Freedom is not free, first report from LFIQ trip to Iraq