Appeal for support for Iraqi labour movement

LFIQ Vice-President Harry Barnes pens a passionate appeal for support for Iraqi trade unions. The General Federation of Iraqi Workers and the Kurdish Federation of Workers (from Iraqi Kurdistan) have met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq to press for the repeal of Iraq’s Anti-Trade Union Legislation. Still in operation (and use) is Law 150 passed by Saddam Hussein in 1987 banning the operation of Trade Unions in the public sector of the economy, which covers some 80% of those who manage to have jobs. Decree 8750 adopted in August 2005 by the transitional Government is also still in … Continue reading Appeal for support for Iraqi labour movement

Books are weapons

LFIQ Vice-President Harry Barnes remembers not being allowed to buy Das Kapital in Basra in the mid 50s and links to a story about which he says: The Baghdad booksellers love of books as shown in the video, shows just why Iraq can still have a future.

Survey of union rights in Iraq and worldwide

The International Trade Union Confederation has just published its first Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights covering 138 countries, which shows an alarming rise in the number of people killed as a result of their trade union activities, from 115 in 2005 to 144 in 2006. On Iraq, it says: In addition to the many trade unionists who fell victim to untargeted violence, at least two trade union leaders were assassinated on account of their union activities and there were countless other violations of trade union rights. The authorities increased their interference. After taking control of trade union … Continue reading Survey of union rights in Iraq and worldwide

To the Finland Station?

Details of high-level private talks to find a settlement in Iraq Press release Monday 3 September Leading representatives of Iraqi political parties and others linked to a range of groups close to the conflict completed four days of discussions in Finland Participants committed themselves to work towards a robust framework for a lasting settlement. Those present agreed to a set of recommendations to start negotiations to reach national reconciliation. These recommendations are contained in the attached Helsinki Agreement. The principles of inclusivity, power-sharing and a commitment to removing the use of violence as a means of resolving political differences were … Continue reading To the Finland Station?

TUC Fringe Meeting

17.30, Wednesday 12th September, Brighton Conference Centre Solidarity with Iraqi Workers Speakers: Gary Kent, Director, Labour Friends of Iraq; Abdullah Muhsin, International representative, General Federation of Iraqi Workers; Sue Rogers, Chair TUC Iraqi Solidarity Committee/NASUWT; Norma Stephenson, Unison President; Councillor Mushtaq Laharie, Chairman, Third World Solidarity Chair: Dave Anderson, MP Venue: Meeting Room 1, Brighton Centre Refreshments provided. Open to all TUC delegates and visitors

Surge of solidarity needed

LFIQ Director Gary Kent argues in Progress that with or without foreign troops, a surge of solidarity with the unions and others in Iraq is needed. No time to crow We should all be reaching out to Iraqi trade unionists and democrats 31 August 2007 Why is sympathy for and solidarity with Iraqi democrats so muted? Al Qaeda followers in Iraq recently carried out their second worst atrocity after 9/11 by blowing hundreds of ordinary Yazidi Kurds to smithereens. Where were the vigils and the round-robin letters that would have been organised over, for example, the loss of hundreds of … Continue reading Surge of solidarity needed

Iraqi Foreign Minister warns of catastrophic consequences

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has forecast catastrophic consequences if London and Washington decide prematurely to withdraw their troops from Iraq: a bloodbath as the country breaks up, neighbours sucked into a regional conflict, an oil crisis and a new terrorist haven far deadlier than Afghanistan.

Iraqi Oil Minister revives Saddams anti-union Law

Statement issued by the General Union of Oil Workers and Technicians (GUOWT), a GFIW affiliated union. The oil workers unions sent a delegation to meet up with oil minister on the 6 August to discuss the current crisis but the minister refused to meet them. The GUOWT issued a statement on the 2 August and again on the 7 August deploring the approach taken by the Oil Minister and called on him to withdraw the memo sent and signed by his legal adviser Mr Laith abd al Hussein, on 18 July 2007 under his personal instruction to the Iraqi oil … Continue reading Iraqi Oil Minister revives Saddams anti-union Law

Dave Aaronovitch tackles the troops out argument

See Dave Aaronovitch article in the Times, which examines a recent editorial in the New York Times. He says: But what could readers make of there being not one single word in the editorial about what Iraqis themselves wanted the US to do? Not one. Iraqi democrats were depicted merely as being people to be airlifted out of the green zone when the Saigon moment arrived. The calls from Iraqi politicians, local leaders in Anbar, the Kurds and many other groups for the Americans to stay on for the time being were not even referred to. That is true unilateralism.