[Marxism] Iraqi Minister Enforces Saddam Law on Unions

Paul Flewers rfls12802 at blueyonder.co.uk
Fri Aug 3 16:21:49 MDT 2007

So much for the 'liberation' of Iraq from the Ba'athists!

Paul F


Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 18:05:16 +0100
From: Sami Ramadani <sami.ramadani at londonmet.ac.uk>
Subject: Iraqi Minister Enforces Saddam Law on Unions

"For Immediate Release
Naftana Press release
Thursday 2nd August 2007

Iraqi Oil Minister Enforces Saddam law on Trades Unions

In a disturbing development, the Iraqi Oil Minister, Mr. Hussein
Shahrastani, has effectively ordered his ministry to apply a 1987 law issued
under Saddam to ban the 26,000 member Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions
(IFOU).  This is the clear meaning of the Ministry directive couched in
terms of merely applying an earlier instruction not to recognize
unregistered NGOS. A copy of the ministry's directive was obtained by the
union and sent to Naftana*.

The directive, dated 18 July 2007, states: 'The minister has directed that
all members of all unions be banned from participating in any committee if
they use their union identification, since these unions have no legal status
to work within the state sector. They should not be permitted to use the
offices and equipment of the [ministry's] companies, because they do not
have legal status within the state sectors.' All necessary measures should
be taken to implement the minister's directive within a maximum of two
weeks, it concluded.

In a message to Naftana, the union's president, Hassan Juma`a, affirmed that
the union would not recognize the minister's decision, stressing that the
oil minister has been fighting against trade union work because of the
patriotic stands of the IFOU. "We are working for Iraq," he declared.

In flagrant violation of the principle of free association, the governments
since occupation have continued to treat all trade unions as illegal, until
such time as a 'legal framework is enacted'. Thus the Oil Minister's
directive follows US Administrator L Paul Bremer's Public Notice Regarding
Organization in the Workplace, issued on June 6 2003, which upheld Saddam's
infamous decree 150 of 1987 that banned all trade union activity by deeming
workers in the state sectors to be 'civil servants' without the right to
organize. It should be remembered that, in spite of strenuous efforts by the
occupying powers to privatize the Iraqi economy, the overwhelming majority
of Iraq's industrial workers belong to the state sector.

Last year the government froze the assets and bank accounts of the oil
workers' union along with that of all other unions. The minister's new
directive is seen by the union as a preemptive measure to weaken the union's
highly successful campaign against the proposed oil law, which was
instigated and is being imposed on Iraq by the occupation governments. The
proposed law, popularly known in Iraq as the 'thieves' law', has attracted
the hostility of Iraqi workers and technical oil experts alike. Popular
opposition is such that the government has failed to meet several deadlines
laid down for it by the Bush administration and US Congress to enact the

We call on all trade unions and supporters of democratic rights to protest
the Iraqi government's dictatorial measures and to support the IFOU and
Iraq's workers in their struggle for freedom and democracy.


For further information contact:

Sami Ramadani - 07863 138748   sami.ramadani at londonmet.ac.uk
Kamil Mahdi -    k.a.mahdi at exeter.ac.uk
Sabah Jawad - 07985 336886    sabah.jawad at idao.org

Notes for editors:

Naftana ('Our Oil' in Arabic) is an independent UK-based committee
supporting democratic trade unionism in Iraq. It works in solidarity with
the IFOU. It strives to publicise the union's struggle for Iraqi social and
economic rights and its stand against the privatisation of Iraqi oil
demanded by the occupying powers.

For more information see the IFOU's website http://www.basraoilunion.org 

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