On expanding the Leather Industries Workers' Strike to a Mass Movement throughout Iraq

We received this news item on a significant strike in the Leather Industry in Iraq. Some 1,500 workers have been on strike for more than 40 days and they need international support and solidarity. The duration of this strike marks a new record in the strike history of the workers’ movement in Iraq. We publish it for the interest of our readers.

Day after day, the workers prove their determination to realize their demands, while the authorities implement policies harmful to workers' rights and interests.

After firing live ammunition on workers from the Ministry of Industry, who were demonstrating on 10/06/2009, the authorities promised to meet their demands, which they summarized as follows:

  • Payment of back wages
  • Payment of safety benefits
  • Settlements for those fired for political reasons during Saddam's regime, taking into account their length of service

The authorities did not keep any of the promises they made during the negotiations. So, the workers in the industrial sector announced a new strike. It was launched from the "The Public Enterprise for Leather Production", three weeks ago. A number of organizers in the leather industries put out a call to the workers of all industries to join in the strike, and to transform it into a mass movement of all the workers in the Ministry of Industries.

The unifying of workers in the Ministry of Industries into a general movement, and confronting obstacles, are matters of life and death, and a vital mission that concerns about one quarter of a million workers. They face not just policies that run counter to their interests, but also a plan to liquidate the public industrial sector, and eventually the loss of their jobs through the policies of "self-funding", not finding channels for production and markets, and not updating supplies and maintaining equipment.

The workers from the Ministry of Industries face the most dangerous challenges that require them to focus on their interests and to organize into a broad-based movement throughout the country.

To unify our ranks and the expand the Leather Industries strike we put forth our demands:

  1. To undo "self-funding", which threatens to wipe out the industrial sector.
  2. Distribute what's left of back wages from 1/1/2008.
  3. Undo the resolutions of Saddam's regime that do not allow workers to organize in the public sector.
  4. Distribute safety benefits as a central part of wages.

Workers of the Industrial Sector,
Workers of all sectors,

Our interests are one, and our goals as a class are one, and we cannot realize our goals unless workers join a general and broad-based movement.

The realization of our demands depends on the strength of our wills, the concentration of our power and the organization of our ranks.

We call for the solidarity and melding of all sectors with the workers in the industrial sector.

We ask the workers of the world to aid the workers of Iraq to achieve their just demands.

The Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq

11/03/09

See also: www.fwcui.org