Protests at plans to curb Iraqi unions

13 March 2006

Iraq’s government is trying to take control of the country’s emerging trade union movement in a move that has sparked protests from a number of British Members of Parliament and the TUC.

 

Iraq’s government is trying to take control of the country’s emerging trade union movement in a move that has sparked protests from a number of British Members of Parliament and the TUC.

 

The Iraqi council of ministers has issued a decree, number 8750, which would allow it to take over union finances; the decree also declared that the government would introduce new industrial relations legislation which would not include freedom of association.

 

Freedom of association is, of course, a basic human right and the changes would create state trade unions akin to those of the former Soviet Union. Considering the US government’s loud and continued assertions that the Iraq war has been declared and conducted in the name of freedom, the irony of the new decree will not be lost on Iraqi trade unionists.

 

Labour MP Dave Anderson has tabled a parliamentary motion supporting independent Iraqi trade unions, which has attracted the support of 49 largely Labour MPs.

 

The motion, number 1689, also expresses alarm “at recent reports that the Iraqi government has replaced the leadership of the independent engineers’ union with its own appointees in a prima facie breach of freedom of association”.

 

It also “welcomes the decision of Iraqi professional organisations to create jointly with the IWF (the Iraqi Workers’ Federation) an umbrella organisation to oppose decree 8750” and “congratulates the TUC for initiating global protests against decree 8750.”

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