From Infoshop News:
PRESS RELEASE from Naftana – UK Support Committee for the General Union of Oil Employees Iraq
Tuesday July 20th 2006
OIL UNION BANK ACCOUNT FROZEN
IRAQI GOVERNMENT ATTACKS OPPONENTS OF OIL PRIVATISATION
We have just confirmed reports that the Iraqi regime has frozen all the bank accounts of the Iraqi oil workers’ union, both abroad and within Iraq
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.
Naftana member Ewa Jasiewicz is prepared to deal with enquiries. You can call her on 07749 421576.
Notes for journalists:
The GUOE organises over 23,000 oil and gas industry workers.
Naftana (Arabic: ‘our oil’) was set up by UK activists after contact with the GUOE.
We are in regular contact with the leadership of the union.
In August 2003 the union halted oil exports for two days as a protest over low wages.
The GUOE is independent of any political party or union federation.
GUOE executive committee members, including its President, were part of the opposition against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, and many were imprisoned by the regime.
The GUOE is opposed to the military occupation of Iraq and to the privatisation of the oil and industrial sectors of Iraq.
The GUOE is a successor to the Southern Oil Company Union (SOCU), set up immediately after the fall of the Saddam regime.
In October 2003 union activists kicked US company KBR [of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton corporation] out of oil industry workplaces.
See the union’s website for more details in both Arabic and English.
Sign up to the Naftana email alerts system firstname.lastname@example.org
Readers please take note, Naftana is waiting for the Union to advise on any follow-up/solidarity action with respect to the above news.
See also on this: here.
News on ‘weapons of mass destruction‘ scandal in Iraq: here.
On Fallujah: here.
Public opinion on the war in Iraq and USA: here.
More news from the brave new Iraq of Bush, Blair’s, and his Foreign Minister Beckett‘s, Britain, and Howard of Australia:
CANBERRA – Australian Prime Minister John Howard said on Friday it would be inappropriate to apologise to Iraq yet for the killing of an Iraqi government bodyguard by Australian troops in a shooting mishap in Baghdad.
Australia is trying to negotiate new wheat deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars but Iraqi Trade Minister Abdul Falah al-Sudany has called for an apology for the shooting and threatened to reconsider trade deals with Australia.
Australian soldiers mistakenly opened fire on Sudany’s bodyguards on Wednesday, killing one and wounding three people.
Murray Waas on Iraq war: here.
Iraqi Kurdish workers killed by pro Bush ‘forces of order’: here.
Declaration of Formation of the General Federation of Trade Unions-Iraq (GFTU-Iraq)
We declare through this statement the formation of the General Federation of Trade Union-Iraq by merging the Iraqi Democratic Union with the Union of Employees in Iraq.
· The Federation defends the general and independent interests of the working class and considers itself part of the international labor movement who share their interest with the Iraqi labor movement.
· The Federation struggle to unite the working class for the best interest of society by providing security, freedom and social prosperity in Iraq today. Also it strives shoulder to shoulder with other independent labor unions and the entire labor movement in Iraq to have a humane and progressive Labor Law legislated in Iraq.
· The Federation views that the occupation is the core issue in Iraq; therefore it has dedicated a big part of its work to end the occupation.
· The Federation views that the security issue has become a major concern for the workers, their families and the entire society; consequently it will save no effort to achieve this goal.
· The Federation looks at the ethnic and religious divisions as the products of the US-British led occupation who deliberately imposed those divisions on Iraqi society. Also it finds those divisions as the biggest enemies of the workers which intend to divert their struggle against their common enemy (occupation and its allied forces). Therefore the Federation fights along with the other libertarian forces of workers, women, youth, and progressives under Iraq Freedom Congress umbrella for formation of a non-ethnic and non-religious government that recognizes the citizens based on their human identity.
· The Federation declares upon this statement its involvement in the IFC struggle and regards it as the only vehicle to end the occupation and sectarian violence to establish a non-ethnic and non-religious government which grantees the absolute political, economic and social freedom for all Iraqis regardless of their ethnic or religious background or political orientation.
The general Federation of Trade Unions – Iraq calls upon the labor movement around the world for all sorts of support and assistant to end the occupation and its hostile projects and establishing a government under which the equality is prevailed.
The unions affiliated with this federation:
Oil Trade Union-Baghdad, Mechanic Trade Union, power Trade Union, Health services Trade Union, Agriculture and Food Product Trade Union, Textile and Leather Industries Trade Union, Transportation and Communication Trade Union, Railways in Mahmoodya, Latifya, and Yousifya Trade Union, Construction and Lumbers Trade Union, Ministry of Trade employees Trade Union, Kerbala Labor Union, Babil Labor Union.
The Executive Bureau
General Federation of Trade Unions- Iraq
Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq