Iraq: Baghdad workers win —despite death threats

Iraqi state employees affiliated with the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (GFWCUI), following a campaign of demonstrations in central Baghdad that began Aug. 24, won an agreement from the Ministry of Finance to meet demands for improvement of living conditions and to rescind recently announced cuts in pay and benefits. The government also agreed to discuss workers’ demands for public access to parliament sessions. Government talks are to begin with GFWCUI president Subhi al-Badri and vice president Saeed Nima. (GFWCUI via US Labor Against the War, Sept. 8)

But the victory follows a new wave of persecution and harassment. When Subhi al-Badri was elected to head a delegation of labor leaders to meet Ministry officials following a thousands-strong rally Aug. 24, he was accosted by members of the Badr militia upon leaving the meeting. The militiamen confiscated Subhi’s personal belongings, beat him and attempted to adbuct him—although this was thwarted by workers who came to his defense. The militiamen also fired at the crowd, although there were no casualties. Later that day, Saeed Nima received a telephone message threatening to kill Subhi. (GFWCUI via Workers Liberty, UK, Sept. 5)

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