Basra’s oil pipeline workers, who had been staging occupations of the facilities since April 27 to demand back pay, scored a victory this week as the Baghdad administration agreed to meet with their leaders and negotiate a payment schedule. The administration capitulated after the workers threatened to shut down the pipeline and call a general strike. Union leader Faisal Hamdan told management the workers were prepared to immediately shut down all exports fro Basra’s harbor.
Electricity workers in Nasiriyah have also been holding daily public mobilizations calling for changing the system of employment, making them a permanent employee rather than “contractors”—a holdover from the anti-labor measure instated by Saddam Hussein. Ahmad Salim of the Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), told the press: “This demonstration is a pressure on the authorities, to oblige them to answer the workers demands.” (FWCUI Update, May 2009)