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Iraq government orders arrest of oil workers' leaders

category international | sci-tech | press release author Thursday June 07, 2007 15:27author by tom eile Report this post to the editors

Iraq's powerful oil workers' trade union today expressed alarm as an
arrest warrant was issued for its leaders, in an attempt to clamp
down on industrial action.

Members of the union have been on strike since Monday 4th June, in
protest at the government's failure to meet any of its promises made
in a meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 16th May. The
union's 16 demands included improvements to wages, health and other
working and living conditions as well as consultation on the proposed
oil law, which the union opposes. The union added a 17th demand
yesterday demanding the sacking of the General Manager of the
Southern Pipeline Company.

On Tuesday, al-Maliki warned that he would meet threats to oil
production "with an iron fist".

The arrest warrant, based on a charge of "sabotaging the economy"
specifically names Hassan Juma'a Awad, the leader of the
26,000-strong Federation of Oil Unions, and three other leaders of
the Federation.

Hassan Juma'a commented, "the government is intimidating the union
but we are determined to gain our legitimate rights." He added that
the strike would continue in accordance with the union's plan.

The strike entered its third day today and is in its "second phase,"
which now includes the closure of the main distribution pipelines,
including supplies to Baghdad. "Phase one" closed some of the
smaller distribution pipelines. Phases one and two did not include
production and exports.

The union is calling on all its supporters and unions across the
world to back the union at this critical juncture. Sami Ramadani
from the union's UK-based support committee, Naftana said: "Issuing a
warrant for the arrest of the oil workers' leaders is an outrageous
attack on trade union and democratic freedoms."

author by paul o toolepublication date Fri Jun 08, 2007 09:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When Paul Bremner was put in charge of Iraq as it's interem govenor after bush declared "mission accomplished", he tore up every law which Sadam Hussein had enacted......except....the one which prevented the the Iraqis forming of unions.
Like thatcher and Regan and their think tanks, they see unions as the one stumbling block to 'progress'.
On one refinery in Basra, a group formed to repair a refinery, no money, no conditions, no food or shelter. They got it up to 59% opperational by scavanging parts after it had been bombed in the invasion. The work was done because the oil workers saw repairing the refinery as imperative to the future of Iraq and took the initiative when a team from Haliburton showed up. They were told that the refinery was being built on an'open-ended contract'. They refused to go and they called in the f-16's, There were 750 men and their families supporting them in their work, the planes destroyed the refinery and HB moved in.
If I can find a link I'll get it.

author by tom eilepublication date Fri Jun 08, 2007 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry I didnít include contact details yesterday . I copied the press release from an email dated June 6 which originated from Naftana.
Naftana is an independent UK-based committee supporting democratic
trade unionism in Iraq. It works in solidarity with the IFOU. It strives to publicize 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 www.basraoilunion.org
Sami Ramadani 07863 138748 sami.ramadani@londonmet.ac.uk <
Kamil Mahdi k.a.mahdi@exeter.ac.uk < mailto:k.a.mahdi@exeter.ac.uk>
Sabah Jawad 07985 336886 sabah.jawad@idao.org < mailto:sabah.jawad@idao.org>

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