Labor - Iraq

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Iraq delays vital oil law again

United Press International, October 7, 2009 Baghdad - The Iraqi government has again postponed debate on a much-stalled hydrocarbons law until after parliamentary elections slated for January 15, according to legislative sources, further complicating efforts to attract major oil companies to invest in Iraq's rundown oil industry. That means the government's plans to ramp up oil production to bankroll reconstruction following the US-led invasion of March 2003 have been suspended, a critical setback as the country faces political uncertainty and internal disorder as US military forces withdraw. ... Iraq

Unionbusting, Iraqi-Style

David Bacon, The Nation, October 6, 2010 The political deadlock in Baghdad, which has prevented the formation of an Iraqi government more than six months after the parliamentary elections in March, has not prevented the administration of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki from opening the southern oilfields to the world's giant corporations. Nor has it stopped the US Embassy and Commerce Department from reinvigorating the Bush-era program of selling the country's public assets to corporate buyers. And because Iraqi unions have organized opposition to privatization since the start of the occupation, the Maliki administration is enforcing with a vengeance Saddam Hussein's prohibition of public sector unions. ... Unionbusting

Members of Congress Tell al-Maliki to Respect Labor Rights in Iraq

Congress of the United States, September 29, 2010 We are writing to ask that you take urgent action to protect the internationally recognized rights of Iraqi labor unions, and to secure passage of a law that enshrines Iraq’s commitment to the core labor standards identified by the International Labor Organization (ILO). The promotion of fundamental labor rights is an essential component of building a democratic society and of building shared prosperity in a broad middle class. Soon after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, the Coalition Provisional Authority discarded much of Saddam’s legal code and instituted wide-ranging economic reforms. Unfortunately ... Members

AFT President Calls on Iraqi Government to Respect Labor Rights

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, September 10, 2010 I am writing on behalf or the 1.5 million members of the American Federation of Teachers to express our shock at disturbing news emerging from Iraq affecting thousands of Iraqi workers and their communities. We strongly object to the government’s recent decision to refuse to recognize or bargain with workers in the oil and electricity industries. We decry reports coming from other parts of Iraq that have spoken of the forced closure of union offices, the seizure of union assets, and the sudden transfer of union activists to outlying regions. ... AFT

Government-ordered Union Shut-downs Alarm Labor Activists

Iraq Trade Union Rights Bulletin, July/August 2010 Carrying out a July 20, 2010 order from the Minister of Electricity, police raided and shut down electricity unions across Iraq. This is the latest attack on Iraqi workers by authorities invoking Saddam-era labor laws. Although Iraqi labor laws on the books since 1987 forbid public sector workers to form unions, in practice they have been doing so since the US-led invasion toppled the regime, and union leaders have been working to negotiate improved wages and working conditions throughout the government sector. ... Government-ordered

Is the US Pulling the Plug on Iraqi Workers?

David Bacon, t r u t h o u t, August 27, 2010 Early in the morning of July 21, police stormed the offices of the Iraqi Electrical Utility Workers Union in Basra, the poverty-stricken capital of Iraq's oil-rich south. A shamefaced officer told Hashmeya Muhsin, the first woman to head a national union in Iraq, that they'd come to carry out the orders of Electricity Minister Hussain al-Shahristani to shut the union down. As more police arrived, they took the membership records, the files documenting often-atrocious working conditions, the leaflets for demonstrations protesting Basra's agonizing power outages, the computers and the phones. ... Is

AFL-CIO Protests Saddam-like Iraqi Labor Order

James Parks, AFL-CIO, August 20, 2010 As US combat troops head home from Iraq, new evidence shows there is much to be done before all Iraqis are truly free. In a letter to Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka strongly protests a recent government order that bans all trade union activities in the government-owned electrical industry. The order by Iraq’s minister of electricity prohibits ministry officials from dealing with unions and instructs them to take back all the benefits electrical unions have negotiated in recent years. ... AFL-CIO

Minister closes all union offices in Saddam-style move

US Labor Against the War, July 23, 2010 Police raided and shut down electricity unions across Iraq in mid-July, carrying out an order from the Minister of Electricity that could have been lifted from Saddam Hussein’s rule book. The order prohibits "all trade union activities at the ministry and its departments and sites" and authorizes the police "to close all trade union offices and bases and to take control of unions' assets properties and documents, furniture and computers." The Iraqi trade union movement is calling on trade union members and labor solidarity activists everywhere to raise their voices in protest. ... Minister

A Brief Explanation of the New (Draft - Proposed) Iraq Labour Law

This draft has yet to be submitted to Parliament by the Prime Minister. General Federation of Iraqi Workers, June 2010 A team of ministerial experts, joined by ministry workers - both management and clerical - have been preparing a draft for the above-mentioned Law. They have had the advice and guidance of Ministry employees, headed by the Minister engineer Mahmood Al-Sheikh Radhi and his Deputies, in particular the project supervisor Senior Deputy Noori Muhsin Al-Hilfi. The most significant aspect of the reviewed and revised Draft defines the principals of the constitution, stating that work is the right of all Iraqis, and is essential for a happy and prosperous life. ... A

Iraq Oil Workers Praise & Support Basra Port Workers in Face of Government Crackdown

Hassan Juma'a, President, General Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq, June 2010 To the brothers and sisters in the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq: We congratulate you on the tireless and valuable efforts in leading the demonstration of general union of port workers in Iraq on Monday. In fact it is an honor for all workers in Basra. We support and praise the port workers and union leaders in demanding their rights in this vital sector. ... Iraq

US Troops Mobilized Against Basra Port Worker Demonstration

Leaders Reassigned 1000 KM Away. Amjad Ali, North American Representative, General Federation of Workers Councils & Unions in Iraq, June 2010 A demonstration that began May 7 in Basra intensified today with new threats upon the workers and union leaders being relocated 1000 km from their jobs. In response to a call made by the leaders of the general union of harbor workers in Basra (an affiliate union with the General Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq) hundreds of employees of the Iraqi Harbor Corporation walked off the job on May 7, 2010, demanding better wages and living conditions. Immediately after being informed, Iraqi Harbor Corporation director sought aid from US troops ... US

Iraqi workers standing up for their rights: Please Sign!

Abdullah Muhsin, General Federation of Iraqi Workers, May 2020 Seven years after the fall of Saddam, Iraqi workers are long due their fundamental rights at work. Workers across Iraq have recently launched a campaign to finally overturn the repressive laws still in place, and to give them their fundamental rights at work. In the wake of the recent national elections, international support is urgently needed to press the new government to put in place a fair and just labour law. There are important ways you can give your support ... Iraqi

Post-Election, Embattled Iraqi Labor Movement Still Struggles for Rights

Michelle Chen, In These Times, April 16, 2010 The elections in Iraq in March brought unexpected twists in the country's chaotic political narrative, reflecting growing complexity in the electorate as well as the balkanized nature of Iraq's religious and ethnic landscape. Since no party won a decisive majority, it may be months before the new government takes shape, as members of Parliament hammer out tenuous coalitions. While myriad civil society movements had a stake in the election, notably absent from mainstream electoral battles was organized labor. Given the prominence of unions in US and European politics, activists might be wondering ... Post-Election

Iraqi DC Consulate Picketed Over Violations of Labor Rights

Labor Rights "Fundamental" To Iraqi Democracy.
Adam Wright, Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, April 15, 2010

Stop harassment of oil union leaders

LabourStart, April 2010 After weeks of industrial action in the southern oil fields in Iraq, management are trying to prevent the Refinery Workers Union operating by sending four of its leaders to other workplaces. This is a standard management tactic in Iraq, and in the past has often meant sending union leaders to more hostile, violent areas of the country. But pressure from Iraqi trade unionists and trade unionists around the world has stopped this before, and we can do it again. Refinery workers held rolling sit-ins on 25-26 February, 2 and 18 March, followed by a large demonstration on 28 March calling for wage increases, fair payment of allowances owed to workers ... Stop

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