Iraq: The oil minister must stop his hostile practices against the workers

There is much talk in the media about the “building of democracy” in Iraq. This brief report about how the present Iraqi government treats oil workers reveals the real interests that it defends. Oil worker trade union activists need your support.

Once again the Oil Minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, has issued an arbitrary decision by relocating a number of labour leaders and activists in the oil sector in Basra.

Imad Mohsen Jaafar, Executive bureau member of the Oil Federation and chairman of the Oil Drilling Union in North Rumaila, Safaa Gaber, media relations secretary of the Oil Drilling Union in Northern Rumaila, Mohammed Abdullah Ateeq, Executive bureau member of the Oil Federation and chairman of the Oil Drilling Union in Albirjsiya, and AbdelBaki Rady Nabhan, media relations secretary of the Oil Drilling Union in Albirjsiya have received a notice of relocation in the wake of organizing and leading a labour demonstration last July in front of the headquarters of the Iraqi Drilling Company in Albirjsiya to claim the entitlements of workers, including benefits and bonuses.

It is not the only, nor is it the last, decision issued by al-Shahristani and his fellow cabinet members, known for their hostility towards the workers. In the recent past, he issued a decree relocating or arresting a number of labour leaders, after they organised protests against the draft Oil and Gas Law. The Minister of Industry has also issued a decree in which he has banned trade union activity in the public sector, as well as the many attempts by a number of pro-Islamic MPs to prevent freedom of expression.

The persistent attempts of the Minister of Oil, his fellow cabinet members and the Iraqi parliament, in suppressing freedom and human rights is mainly intended to prevent the emergence of a strong protest movement, a movement that seeks better living conditions for workers and all Iraqis. Mr. Hussein al-Shahristani and his fellow cabinet members in the Maliki government are working tirelessly for the suppression of freedom of association and human rights in order to cover up the corruption that is eating away every corner of the government.

The democracy that is being bragged about by the Maliki government does not go beyond its militia and affiliated sectarian gangs who tend to control the wealth of society. Therefore any decision issued by the Maliki government and al-Shahristani, in suppressing trade union freedoms is an illegal and a flagrant violation of human rights and freedoms.

The Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq condemns the Minister's decision and demands its rescinding immediately. The Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq also calls on all freedom lovers in Iraq and around the world to denounce and condemn the ruling of al-Shahristani, and calls to put pressure on the government to stop these inhuman practices.

(3.9.2009)

  • The Strength of the Labor Movement Lies on Its Unity and Organization
  • Long live International Workers' Solidarity.

See also: www.fwcui.org