Iraq Freezes Union Assets


Wave of anti-union activity by government

The Iraqi regime’s decision comes in the wake of a series of anti-union measures, including the disbanding of the council of the lawyers’ union, freezing the writers’ union accounts and the September 2005 decree making all trade union activity illegal.  For that anti-union act the regime used the pretext of promising the promulgation of a future law to ‘regulate’ trade union organisations and their activities.

This action follows in the footsteps of US administrator Paul Bremer In 2004 Paul Bremer, the occupation’s then pro-consul in Iraq, declared trade union activity in the state sector illegal.  That decision re-enacted Saddam Hussain’s 1987 decree banning workers’ unions in the state sector by declaring them to be ‘civil servants’ rather than ‘workers’.

Hamstringing opponents of oil rip-off

Iraq’s enormous oil wealth is being groomed for Production Sharing Agreements, which would transfer effective control over all aspects of oil policy, production and marketing to multination oil companies.  The oil workers’ union is one of the most effective opponents of this policy, organising an anti-privatisation conference last year and another one to come this year.

More information here.

Where is the coverage? Where is the outrage?

Why isn’t this being covered by the mainstream media? Over 2,500 American troops have died for this government, and we must not let them die for a Pinochet-esque regime that represses the most basic rights of workers rather than a genuine democracy.

Below is a list of links to contact information for the US’ most prominent news organizations. It is our duty as progressives to ask them why they are not covering this story of utmost importance.

Associated Press
Agence France Presse
New York Times
Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
USA Today
McClatchy/Knight-Ridder (under "SITE SERVICES")
Christian Science Monitor

Also, here’s some background information on the plight of Iraqi labor unions:

Pinkertons at the CPA
Iraqi Labor Leader: We Will Defend Our Oil
Murdered Iraqi Trade Unionist Trapped Between U.S. and Insurgents

And here are the official web sites of the Iraqi labor unions. They deserve our support for facing off against the theocratic and fascistic insurgency and the heavy-handed, neoliberal occupation.

Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI) & Union of the Unemployed
Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions
General Union of Oil Employees/Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions

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