Monday, 28 May 2007

Tell Gordon Brown to get the Troops out of Iraq

Tell Gordon Brown to get the Troops out of Iraq

The illegal invasion of Iraq on March 19 2003 was one of the worst catastrophes in military and political history. The war introduced new horrors and oppressions on the Iraqi people.
In a study sponsored by M.I.T. and carried out by leading specialists in Iraq it is estimated that about 650,000 have died violent deaths soon to be pushing a million. Several million people have fled across the border to live in refugee camps.

The occupation has made life worse for the Iraqis. The reconstruction plan to build the country has provided opportunities for western corporations to steal over $20 billion dollars of Iraqi money, whilst a large percentage of Iraqis don't have safe water, a proper sewage system, and access to electricity. Roads and homes are damaged, and vast areas are polluted with no hope of clean-up. Hospitals lack basic medicines and equipment, and child mortality rates have increased that of sub-Sahara Africa.

Western companies are pushing to enter into Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) with the Iraqi government, where big US and UK oil companies take a huge slice of the Iraqi oil profits.

The illegal invasion supported by Tony Blair and funded by Gordon Brown is a clear-cut case of aggression and violation of the U.N. Charter, a supreme international crime.

Contact your member of parliament at Westminster, express you view that British must be withdrawn from Iraq now! and ask your member of parliament to pass your opinion to the New Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
You can contact your member of parliament at;
Quick guide to political activism

More info on wars and oppression across the world.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Iraqi Rail Strike

Iraqi railway workers have begun an indefinite strike to win a pay rise and basic rights.The strike action, backed by the vast majority of rail workers, has paralysed the country's main North/South rail corridor. It has been taken in order to achieve improvements in salaries and conditions, as well as improved safety, protection from attack and fundamental workers' rights.

Mac Urata, Secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federations's Inland Transport Section, has commented: "It beggars belief that the dictatorial anti-union laws of the Saddam Hussein era are still in place. Legislation denying rail and other public services workers the right to strike and belong to a union must be removed immediately. The ITF fully supports this legitimate action."

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Iraqi Oil Unions

Please send emails to Maliki and Sharastani, model letter at end of this email:

Maliki to Negotiate with Oil Union - Northern and Central Unions will Strike in Solidarity

For Immediate Release:Monday May 14thOil Strike Postponed for Negotiations with Prime Minister.The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions has postponed its’ strike for thisweek.A 7-member delegation from the IFOU will meet with Prime MinisterNourial Maliki in Baghdad tomorrow to continue negotiations.The delegation is set to return on Thursday when, if negotiations havefailed to bear fruit, a new strike date will be set.Union President Hassan Jumaa said that unions in the Northern OilCompanyin Kirkuk, and the Mechanics and Engineers Union and Dora Refinery Union in Baghdad are ready to take solidarity strike action with the IFOU.

‘Members were balloted and have decided to take action with us if westrike’.The Union, representing 26,000 workers, has held three previous strikes since 2003, each time stopping exports, for up to two days at a time.TheIraqi government has declared strike action by the Union as illegal.Speaking from Basra today, union President Hassan Jumaa Awad said,

‘We are working within the law. We are not afraid of arrest and imprisonmentbecause we know we have both the legal and the moral right inthisdispute. We are asking all unions and organisations which believeinhuman rights to stand with us and support us in our legitimatedemands’.

The Union’s demands range from a restoration of a bonus scheme, landforhomes, approval of outstanding holidays and full time statusfortemporary workers, to a long-held and reiterated demand for inclusioninconsultation over the country’s oil law.

Further demands includegovernment action against price rises because of their detrimentalimpact on all citizens (not just oil workers) and medical treatment foroil workers especially in areas affected by depleteduranium) for more details.The current draft of the Oil law proposes giving multinational companiesthe primary role in developing Iraq's huge untapped oilfields, undercontracts lasting up to 30 years. Oil production in Iraq, like in most of the Middle East, has been in the public sector since the 1970s.The Union recently addressed the US Congress and European Parliaments ina letter asking them not to link withdrawal with the passing of the oillaw. In it Hassan Jumaa Awad said: ‘We ask our friends not to linkwithdrawal with the oil law, especially since the USA claimed that itcame to Iraq as a liberator and not in order to control Iraq’sresources.The general public in Iraq is totally convinced that Bush wants to rushthe promulgation of the oil law so as to be leaving Iraq with avictoryof sorts, because his project is failing every day and theoccupation is collapsing in all parts of Iraq.’ See for a full translation.The proposed strike is the culmination of 4 years of campaigning onmembers’ issues involving protests, strikes and worker-lead lock-outs.In a communiqué announcing the strike, the Union declared:

‘Our demands for entitlements were ignored despite four years of continued promisesby ministry and government officials…throughout this period we worked todiffuse anger and resentment and address criticism levelled by ourmembers who mistakenly thought of us as the ones failing to put forththeir legitimate demands…enough is enough’.The number of death threats against union leaders has escalated sincethe strike was first declared, said Hasan Jumaa Awad.

"As soon as thefederation called for the strike, many of our members and officials werephysically threatened by parties active in the political process,withthe aim of thwarting the strike and undermining the message of thestrike organisers." The Union is taking these threats seriously.Ewa Jasiewicz of the IFOU support committee ‘Naftana’ said: ‘This is adefining moment in the union’s history and in Iraq’s history. The unionis likely to encounter repression over its’ decision to strike –particularly over its position on the oil law. The world needs to bewatching this dispute’.

ContactsHassan Jumaa Awad Al Assadi, President of the Iraqi Federationof OilUnions 00964 7801 001 196 or 00964 7804 114 619www.basraoilunion.orgSami Ramadani, lecturer and writer and member of Naftana - UKSupportCommittee for the IFOU 0044 7863 138 Jasiewicz, Naftana UK Support Group for the IFOU

Hands OffIraqiOil Campaign 0044 7749 421 576 freelance@mailworks.orgwww.handsoffiraqioil.orgNotesThe Hands Off Iraqi Oil Campaign is holding a protest in solidarity withthe IFOU and over Shell’s involvement in the Oil Law tomorrow at Shell’sAGM. 8.30am-12pm at the Hammersmith Novotel, 1 Shortlands, London W6The IFOU is an independent trade union representing workers across4southern provinces in Iraq: Misan, Dhi Qar, Basra and Mauthanna innineoil and gas related companies.The Union has been organizing since April 2003 and has stopped oilexports and production over wages and workers rights in the past. It has also held protests against oil smuggling, former regime bosses andwhatthe union sees as the deliberate neglect and degradation of theindustry in order to justify private investment.Union members have carried out reconstruction work on drilling rigs,portequipment, pipelines and refineries since the invasion with minimal,mostly local resources.The Union is not linked to any political party inIraq but has memberswhich belong to various parties.The Union enjoys the support of trade unions and civil societyorganizations around the world including the International Confederationof Energy, Mining and General Workers Union (ICEM), the AFL-CIO in theUS, and the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) in the UK including the NUJ andTGWU. The union is partnered with UK development charity War on Want,the3 milllion strong US Labor Against War in the USA, and Italian NGO UnPonte Per.

**********************************************************************************************************************Model Letter:Dear Mr MalikiDear Dr Hussein al Sharastani

I am writing to express support for the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions in their right to take industrial action over issues relating to theirmembers' economic and social welfare.I am also concerned that the union has recieved death threats fordeciding to take strike action and that the authorities have alsothreatened legal action. I trust that the Union will not be penalised for taking action which is legal according to the Iraqi constiution anda fundamental trade union freedom recognised all over the world.

The Union has repeatedly asked for involvement in the drafting of theHydrocarbon Law but has been ignored. Iraqi civil society should beinvolved in the decision making process over the future of the Iraqieconomy - this includes trade unions.I will be monitoring the forthcoming news from the union and would likeassurance that union members will not be harmed or punished for theiractions.

Yours Sincerely,.....

Prime Minister Nouri Al MalikiMinister of Oil, Dr Hussein al SharastaniC/OEmbassy of the Republic of Iraq 169 Knightsbridge London SW7 1DWPhone: (020) 7581 2264Fax: (020) 7589 Telephone: +44 207 602 8456 Fax: +44 207 3711652

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Iraqi Oil Workers to Strike Over Privatisation Law

Iraqi Oil Workers to Strike Over Privatisation Law

Tuesday May 8th 2007

Iraq's largest oil workers' trade union will strike this Thursday, in protest at the controversial oil law currently being considered by the Iraqi parliament. The move threatens to stop all exports from the oil-rich country.

The oil law proposes giving multinational companies the primary role in developing Iraq's huge untapped oilfields, under contracts lasting up to 30 years. Oil production in Iraq, like in most of the Middle East, has been in the public sector since the 1970s.

The Union, representing 26,000 oil workers, has held three previous strikes since 2003, each time stopping exports, for up to two days at a time. The announcement of the strike has spurred negotiations with the Ministry of Oil, which are ongoing.

Imad Abdul-Hussain, Federation Deputy Chair of the IFOU said: "The central government must be in total ownership and complete control of production and the export of oil". He warned against the controversial Production Sharing Agreements favoured by foreign companies, saying other forms of co-operation with foreign companies would be acceptable but not at the level of control and profiteering indicated in the current Oil Law.

Federation President Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi said: 'The oil law does not represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people. It will let the foreign oil companies into the oil sector and enact privatisation under so called production sharing agreements. The federation calls for not passing the oil law, because it does not serve the interests of the Iraqi people."

The Union is not alone in its' condemnation of the current oil law. Opponents of the law also include all of Iraq's other trade unions, a number of political parties, and a group of over 60 senior Iraqi oil experts.

Hassan Jumaa went on to say: "The federation calls on all unions in the world to support our demands and to put pressure on governments and the oil companies not to enter the Iraqi oil fields."

Union members are also demanding an improved salary structure and a distribution of land for building homes.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq – Support Iraqi Asylum Seekers

Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq – Support Iraqi Asylum Seekers

We don’t want to be deported

On this 1st May please show International Solidarity with Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers. The UK Government has deported 87 Iraqi Kurds over the last 2 years. The UK has commissioned 3 flights from Brize Norton Airbase in Oxford. The nature of the Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers deportation was humiliating and the coalition believes breaks with the Geneva Convention in treatment of refugees. They were woken up early in the morning given no opportunity to collect their belongings. They were pushed out of the detention centres by armed guards, handcuffed and put into a coach and transferred to an airbase in Brize Norton, Oxford. Once on the flight they were given flak jackets prior to being pushed out onto the runway at Erbil left to be picked up by the KDP (hardly appropriate clothing for a so called safe country).

The UK government has pressured Iraqi and Kurdish asylum seekers in the last few years cutting off support and refusing to let them work, making them destitute, and arresting them. The Home Office has put pressure on Kurdish asylum seekers and forced many to leave the country. Many Kurdish asylum seekers have been sacked from their jobs under the excuse of not having the right to stay in the UK. As a result of this harassment many Kurdish asylum seekers are suffering from depression. Many of them have been forced to sleep rough.

The UK Government insists Iraqi Kurdistan is safe and a suitable place to return failed asylum seekers to. However, four million Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan have been living in uncertainty for the last sixteen years. The future of the Kurds is unknown.
The two ruling parties in Kurdistan the PUK and KDP are not democratic parties and continue to persecute all those who speak against them. They violate human rights on a daily basis. There was an incident last year at Tusluja cement factory were the PUK shot at striking workers, hardly the actions of a democratic Government.

Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries to live 100’s of people are killed daily. So far four Million refugees have left Iraq and the flow of refugees continues it is reported that one thousand people leave Iraq every day. The solution is not to forcibly return people to such an unsafe country.

Please support us:

Get your Trade Union Branch or Trades Council or even write a letter in a personal capacity to the:
to the Home Office to stop the police of deportation
Your MP
The Prime Minister

Donate money either personally or ask your Trade Union Branch or Trades Council to Affiliate to CSD Iraq. Please write your cheques to coalition to stop deportations Iraq to PO Box 1575 Ilford IG1 3BZ London UK