Iraq: PUK opens fire on striking workers

A communique from the Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), July 27:

Killers of the employees of the Tasloja Cement Factory must be brought to justice

On July 27,2006, the police and security forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan opened fire on 700 workers of the Tasloja Cement Factory near the city of Suleiumanyia in the Iraqi Kurdistan. Three workers were killed and sixteen more were injured in this cruel attack. The workers came under attack because they launched a strike asking for [a] wage rise and that 300 workers previous fired by the administration be reinstated in their jobs. The response of the security and police forces in Suleimanyia to these demands expressed peacefully was to open heavy fire on workers as if they were facing an enemy entrenched in a battlefield. Incidents like this [in which] 20 workers are killed or maimed at working place for stopping work are rare even in countries ruled by oppressive regimes. An authority serving a capital owned by militia only cannot tolerate stopping production for a moment even when it is decided by the workers themselves.

The authority of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have for several years unleashed its police and security forces against the people of Kurdistan where they kill people on various reasons or imprison people for critiquing this authority on daily basis. Today, this heavily corrupted authority whose senior and junior officials are multimillionaires and are partners with the capitalists who own businesses use these forces to protect their capital and to protect the process of production even if it requires terrorizing and killing innocent people.

This is the same authority that talks day and night about “unlimited freedom,” “the prosperity of freedoms in Kurdistan,” “nobody is to be prosecuted on opinion,” “Kurdistan must be ruled by institutional government,” and many more lies while in practice has often proved that it is a militia authority which protects capital and capitalists in Kurdistan and is ready to kill innocent protesting workers and toilers.

We condemn this brutal crime. We call on all progressive and freedom loving organizations and individuals inside Kurdistan and worldwide to condemn this anti-human and barbaric crime and exert pressure on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan to stop killing the discontent freedom loving people of Kurdistan and to recognizes political freedoms including the right to strike and demonstrate. We announce our full support for the demands of the employees of Tasloja Cement Factory and wish the wounded workers quick recovery. We ask that the following demands be immediately realized:

1. The managers of Tasloja Cement Factory must be dismissed and

2. All members of the police and security squad who committed this crime must be publicly prosecuted.

3. The victims and their families must be properly compensated for the loss.

Organization of Kurdistan
Worker-communist Party of Iraq
July 27, 2006

In Solidarity,

Amjad Al-Jawhary

Federation of Worker Councils and Unions in Iraq

See our last posts on Iraq, labor struggles in Iraq, social struggles in Iraqi Kurdistan and our last communique from Iraq’s civil resistance.