Iraq: oil workers threaten strike

From the Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI):

Oil Sector Unionists Meeting in Baghdad

54 trade unionists and worker activist from the central oil sector (Baghdad and vicinity) held a meeting on Monday, September 4th in the hall of the Institute of Oil in Baghdad. They were representatives of many departments and companies of oil and gas production and industry, and other oil projects, pipelines and refineries. The leadership of FWCUI took part in the discussions and decisions of the assembly after having it planned previously.

The attendees of the meeting discussed issues and demands of workers of the oil sector which were previously forwarded in the first meeting of 29-8-2006 and finalized them to be the following:

1. Housing the workers of the oil industry, distributing residential lots.
2. Raising the minimum salaries
3. Expanding limits of promotion and salary
4. Turning contracted workers into full-timers, including them for
retirement and social insurance
5. Demolishing bureaucracy and corruption from administrations
Samir Al Mousawi, the union president of the oil sector technicians, proved capability in chairing the meeting towards its intended goals.

The assemblers stipulated the demands mentioned above and they decided that the Basrah oil workers’ strike represents the demands of the rest of the oil sector whether in the Center or the North of Iraq. They pressed for the following matters also:

1. Working towards coordination among the oil sector trade unions of the North, Center and South.
2. Raising the demands to the authorities and deciding a deadline for
meeting them, otherwise a general strike will be organized.
3. Holding a general assembly on 20-9-2006 for all the Central oil unionists.
4. Forwarding a protest letter to the Minister of Oil for his verbal
humiliation of the workers’ position when he described them as “traitors” because of their demands to improve their own situation

The leaders and activists contributed to the discussion throughout the meeting:
1. The representative of workers of oil projects focused on the problem of temporary contract workers and the need to turn them full-timers and not to allow their lay-offs once the projects finish.
2. Subhi Al Badri from FWCUI leadership elaborated on some previous successes gained, i.e. while leading the services’ workers’ union and having their demands met regarding housing and raising salaries, while Oufi Madhi, also from FWCUI leadership, discussed the situation of temporary workers
3. The representatives of the oil and gas sector discussed the organizational basis of the technical workers’ trade union and the possibility of extending the work of the union to cover all parts and fields of the oil sector.
4. Finally Falah Alwan, president of FWCUI, demonstrated the overall situation of oil workers at a national scale and he stressed upon the need to unite their struggle with the rest of the industrial and services sector and to plan for a general conference for the workers of the oil sector.

The workers’ leaders and the unionists directed a call to all workers of the oil sector to take on the demands raised by the union and to proceed for a general conference for all Centre, South and North parts of the oil sector in order to found a general union for the oil sector.

Workers’ Media Center

Oil Sector Unionists Meeting in Baghdad – Sep. 4th, 2006

See our last post on labor struggles in Iraq. See also our last communique from the Iraqi oil workers.