Wednesday, 29 August 2007


27 August 2007

For Immediate Use

Bill Wilson, MSP for the West of Scotland region, today lodged a Parliamentary Motion condemning the recent banning of oil trade unions in Iraq.

Speaking after lodging it, Dr Wilson said that he had been following developments in Iraq with great concern for some time. “An apparently logical explanation for what has happened and is happening in Iraq would be that the UK and US governments’ main preoccupation is the profits of multinational companies. With Iraq full of foreign troops the Iraqi government’s policies are almost certainly approved by — if not directly dictated by — Washington and Westminster, so the recent directive, banning oil companies from dealing with trade unions, is likely to be their policy. This appears aimed at silencing legitimate opposition to the proposed oil law, a law which would effectively sign away the control of Iraq’s oil industry to foreign interests for the next 30 years.

“The UK government claims to believe in the rule of law but the directive violates Iraq’s own constitution and ILO Convention 98 (on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining), which Iraq has ratified. To avoid accusations of hypocrisy and complicity our government should, at the very least, express strong disapproval of the Iraqi oil minister’s actions. Iraqis not only have the right to control their country’s resources but they also need a decent share of the oil revenue in order to reconstruct their shattered country. Iraq oil-workers must be allowed to say as much through their legitimate representative bodies, the oil trade unions.”

Dr Wilson concluded his remarks by saying, “If anyone doubts the anti-democratic regressive nature of recent developments in the Iraq I would point out that the most recent directive banning oil companies from dealing with trade unions is a repeat of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s Decree 8750, issued by the occupational forces in 2003 to prevent public-sector oil workers from forming trade unions. This, in turn, can be genealogically traced to Saddam’s Decree 150, which banned all public-sector unions. The Iraqi government, with the apparent tacit support of the UK and the USA, is effectively employing the tools of suppression used by Saddam Hussein.”


1. Full text of current motion

Date of Lodging: 27 August 2007
Short Title: Iraq: Banning of Oil Unions
S3M-00388 Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): That the Parliament notes with alarm the recent directive issued by the Iraqi oil minister, Hussein Shahrastani, banning oil companies in that country from dealing with trade unions and ordering them to exclude trade unionists from work committees; notes that, under a democratic system of government, workers have the inalienable right to organise; further notes that the affected trade unions were objecting to the oil law currently being proposed which would effectively transfer control of Iraq’s oil reserves to multinational companies for the next 30 years, and further notes that the citizens of democratic nations have the right to protest against the usurpation of vital national resources regardless of inconvenience to the plans of governments or multinational companies.

2. ITUC Letter to Iraqi Prime Minister on Violation of Oil Workers Union Labor Rights
by Guy Rider, General Secretary, International Trade Union Congress

3. Previous Iraq-related motions lodged by Bill Wilson

Date of Lodging: 2 July 2007
Short Title: Hassan Jumaa: Visa Application
Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): That the Parliament notes with grave concern the UK's government's rejection of a visa application by the President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi; notes that this is happening at a time when that country and its oil sector workers are under pressure to accede to the private development agendas of multinational companies through exclusive contracts lasting up to 30 years; notes that these corporate interests have been represented by the governments of the UK and the USA and through the current Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law which they have been party to since July 2006; notes specifically in this regard that Admiral William Fallon (Commander of US Central Command) insisted to Prime Minister Maliki that a new Oil Law be signed by the end of July; further notes that this proposed Oil Law effectively cedes the state's sovereignty and control over the development of the majority of Iraq's oil reserves to multinational companies and so contends that denying Hassan Jumaa's visa application at this time amounts to denying the people of Iraq a fair opportunity to present their objections to an international audience and to denying the UK electorate balanced information on developments in Iraq.

Date of Lodging: 18 June 2007
Short Title: Iraq: Right to Strike
S3M-00194 Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): That the Parliament notes with grave concern the death threats against members of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) who were recently protesting against the proposed oil law which would effectively cede control of Iraq’s oilfields to multinational companies; further notes that the right to strike is protected by the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation, to which the Iraq Government is a signatory, and accordingly expresses its support for calls for the threat of violence against the oil workers to be withdrawn and for their legitimate right to strike to be recognised should they choose to exercise it.

Date of Lodging: 18 June 2007
Short Title: Iraq: Privatisation of Oil
S3M-00195 Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): That the Parliament notes with concern proposals to pass laws allowing the privatisation of Iraq’s oil industry; notes that both the Blair and Bush administrations stated that their declared major purpose for invading Iraq was to remove weapons of mass destruction and that the invasion was not motivated by that country’s oil reserves; notes that both administrations have stated their support for the introduction of democracy in Iraq, and accordingly is confident that the UK and US administrations will demonstrate their good intentions by encouraging the Iraq Government not to privatise that country’s oil but to maintain it as a source of income to help Iraq’s reconstruction and recovery.


Saturday, 25 August 2007

US Unionists Protest Iraq Union Ban


US Unionists Protest Iraq Union Ban

Press Associates Sunday 19 August 2007
Washington - Showing solidarity with unionists in Iraq, several dozen U.S. unionists marched on August 16 outside the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, protesting the Iraqi Oil Minister's ban on unions for oil workers.

The protesters, including Machinists, the Office and Professional Employees, the Teachers and the Air Line Pilots, demanded Iraq recognize and bargain with its oil workers' unions - who, like the AFL-CIO, oppose the Iraq War. They presented a letter from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to embassy officials, with the demands, addressed to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

The oil minister claimed the oil unions are illegal because they are not recognized as a legitimate union of government workers, as required by the Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi labor law. Neither the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority, when it ran Iraq for a year, nor the present shaky faction-ridden Iraqi government bothered to change that highly restrictive law, which covers 70 percent of Iraqi workers.

The Iraqi government has also denied the oil workers their internationally recognized rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, protesters said. But the Iraqi government is considering a U.S.-drafted oil law to yield control Iraq oilfields to multi-national corporations. That law was another target of the D.C. protest, organized by both the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center and U.S. Labor Against The War.

"The reality of the obstacles that oil workers face in Iraq is a major issue for us, just as the issue of ending the war is," said AFL-CIO International Affairs Director Barbara Shailor, the protest co-leader. Added Denice Lombard of USLAW: "It's no coincidence the Iraqi oil union has been fighting to keep the oil in Iraqi hands," while the law U.S. congressional "benchmarks" would force on Iraq would put the oil in corporate hands "for many years." A new Iraqi labor law should be our benchmark, she added.

Dear IUSS Supporters,

At our last meeting we learned from our Iraqi comrades that the oil union the IFOU has been banned by the Iraqi oil minister (heavily pressurised by the USA) as it is "political". We know this is becuase the oil unions are a threat to the hated oil law which the US is trying to get railroaded through the Iraqi parliament, and which would cream off oil profits to private oil companies outside of Iraq.

This needs to be publiced and opposed as widely as possible. In Scotland please get your MSPs to support Bill Wilsons members motions below, in particular SM3-194 and SM3-195 which are due to be heard in the next parliament. In England Dave Anderson MP has proposed and Early Day motion on the oil law. One way to conact your MSP, MP or MEP is via the website so please do this.

Please will you get this matter discussed at your anti war or pro union group. Please get back to me about your discussions especially if you would support a demonstration against the banning of the IFOU.

Pauline Bradley
Convenor IUSS

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

TUC Iraq Bulletin

Teachers' union delegation

As reported in the fifth bulletin, a delegation of Iraqi teachers from the teachers' union in Baghdad visited the UK in February. The visit, organised by TUC Iraq Solidarity Committee Chair and NASUWT Treasurer Sue Rogers, allowed eleven Iraqi trade unionists a fortnight's respite, the chance to meet British teacher trade unionists, and some training.

The delegation spent some time with the ATL and NUT, but most of their time was at the NASUWT residential training centre in Birmingham. They received a training course developed by NASUWT on the basis of existing Unison materials, and prepared a pamphlet aimed at potential members, explaining what their union does for teachers.

The group also got to see the one night of Shakespeare's Richard III that was spoken in Arabic at Stratford, and saw a Kidderminster Harriers home game - especially interesting for the delegation member who was a former Iraqi international!
Friendships were forged, fun was had, but the serious purpose of the visit was clear to all involved - building the Iraqi teacher union.

FBU delegation to Iraq

Six people, two fire appliances, three thousand miles in ten days. That's the start of a fantastic report of the latest Fire Brigades Union (FBU) visit to Iraqi Kurdistan.
Building on previous FBU visits, which delivered fire fighting equipment and protective clothing, Brian Joyce and his colleagues this time took two red fire engines across Europe and through a virtual civil war in Turkey to help their colleagues fight fires safely.

'The Road 2 Iraq', the report of their incredible journey, told by Duncan Milligan, is on the FBU website at and it is well worth reading.

Oil unions and the oil law

The TUC helped organise an international solidarity campaign for the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) in June, when they too k strike action, and in July when they were joined by the GFIW to protest against the Iraqi oil law in demonstrations across southern Iraq.

Sue Rogers and TUC International Secretary Owen Tudor travelled to Amman in May to meet IFOU leader Hassan Juma'a, along with Jim Catterson from the global union federation covering oil workers, ICEM. The discussions led to much closer relations between ICEM and the IFOU, and the TUC Iraq Solidarity Committee has agreed that the IFOU is a bona fide sectoral union.
The solidarity campaign in June with the IFOU strike saw the TUC condemning Iraqi government military intervention, and support for the demands of the IFOU, which ranged from calls for a restoration of bonus payments to oil workers and the granting of permanent employment to temporary workers through to demands for consultation over the Iraqi oil law.

Further attacks on trade unions

In March, the TUC condemned the abduction, torture and murder of Iraqi trade unionist Najim Abd-Jasem, General Secretary of the Mechanic Workers' Union.
Sue Rogers had met Najim, and said: 'Najim was one of the most positive influences in the Iraqi trade union movement. He was very progressive, and very clear about where the movement needed to go'

The Iraqi trade union movement, the GFIW, has issued the following statement: 'Najim A Jasem was kidnapped by militias on 27 March. His body was found on 30 March 2007. His body bears huge signs of torture. He was member of the underground Workers' Trade Union Movement (WDTUM) and fought against the regime of Saddam. He was dismissed from his job because of his trade union activities. He was reinstated after the fall of Saddam. He was one of the key founder of the new democratic IFTU, now the GFIW, and was elected the General Secretary of the Mechanics Workers' Union.'

Then in April, the TUC expressed its sympathy and solidarity with the family and colleagues of Moaaid Hamid, Vice President of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers in the province of Nineveh, and his wife, both murdered on 9 April 2007, following clashes between forces of the Iraqi army and terrorist elements in the province.

The deceased was one of the first trade union leaders who contributed to the creation of the IFTU after the fall of the former dictator in 2003 and has played an active role in building a genuine democratic trade union movement despite all the difficult circumstances.

Transport workers are coming

Later this year, in November, a delegation of four Iraqi and two Kurdish transport union representatives will be visiting the UK to tell us about transport trade unionism in the ports, railways, haulage and aviation industries; to build links with similar unions in Britain; and to learn about how transport trade unionism works in our country.

Organised by the TUC and the GFIW's international representative Abdullah Muhsin, the visit will involve the International Transport Workers' Federation, ASLEF, RMT, the T&G section of Unite the Union and the TSSA. We hope to arrange visits to airports, railway depots and bus garages, and hold meetings for trade unionists in Yorkshire and the Humber and in the North West.

The visit will be funded by the TUC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with unions providing incidental assistance.

TUC Aid for Iraq Appeal

The TUC Iraq Solidarity Committee, chaired by Sue Rogers from the General Council, works in solidarity with the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW), the trade union movement in Iraqi Kurdistan and other sectoral trade union organisations in Iraq. Members are drawn from seventeen TUC affiliated unions. The TUC continues to raise money for Iraqi trade unionists. This has been used for bringing Iraqi trade unionists to Britain and to the ITUC World Congress, supporting global union training projects and more.

Click to give money online or find out more.
Solidarity leaflet
A striking leaflet is available for bulk purchase by unions for inclusion in journals, bulletins and mailings to members - see it at
Contact Owen at for copies.
Briefing document (1,000 words) issued 29 Jul 2007

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Next Meeting Monday 20th Aug

Dear IUSS Supporters,

Our next meeting will be on Monday August 20th at 7pm at 80 Oakfield Avenue, off University Avenue, Glasgow. I hope you can come along.

If you are in Unison or know people in Unison, the International seminar on September 1st entiltled "Trade Unionists Under Threat Throughout The World" will have an Iraqi trade unionist speaking, so it is of interest to IUSS supporters and is open to all Unison members. Please email me for more information.

Please see attachements which we have received about the grave situation for trade unionists in Iran. Please follow the links and addresses to give these comrades as much support as you can.

Pauline Bradley
Convenor IUSS

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Banned Broadcast from Iraq and Report

Dear IUS Scotland Supporters,

Please see the two attachments which have been sent from our Iraqi comrades in different Iraqi trade union federations. One is an MTV broadcast which was banned in the USA, the other is from the Iraqi Federation of Refugees for their forthcoming conference.

The sixth TUC Iraq Bulletin includes a report of the Iraqi teacher delegation earlier this year, the FBU's delegation to Iraq, and a future Iraqi transport workers' delegation to the UK, as well as developments in the oil sector, and further attacks on Iraqi trade unionists.


Tuesday, 7 August 2007



A Classical Hollywood narrative of hope and redemption
Pentagon Disneyland for free market experimentation
falsely benign Fox misrepresentation

The birthplace of civilisation run by Haliburton and Bechtel
and their creative accounting fraudster friends

Criminals as Kings , theft, gang rape, kidnapping ,honour killings
all carried out in the name of Freedom

The Geometry of bad water, no power, mounting waste
correlates neatly with rising violence , despair and irredentist fundamentalism

Stereotypical Rae burn wearing GI’s with
their guns and pills and pop culture
seek “ Bad Guys” in an apocalyptic Pentagon theme park

as misogynist misery gangs resist the Occupodians
creating chaos to win

Disgruntled cynical working-class grunts and
Mercenary security firms guard
the boys in the bubble in the Green Zone
with their post-modern colonial Gap Gear wraparound shades and Heckler and Kock MP 5 s

While crazy people roam amongst trash fires and diseased feral dogs
In Sadr City
Vietnam Street ,
Death to Spies and Collaborator conclusions on walls
Sedans full of men and eyes on each corner

Military technology again substitutes poorly for an absence of hearts and minds
In an awkwardly urban apocalyptic clash of cultures

Self-confident Ivy league Green Zone post-colonialists construct fantasies
in an air-conditioned oasis of beautiful palm trees and manicured lawns
as carpet bagging “reconstruction” fraudsters drain Iraq of its life blood natural resource .

Joes and Hagis
Saws and MRES
A Two Tier army

Tag teaming, $ 15 ficky fick, digital photo trades
Juicing on steroids, sleeping on valium, eating coffee granules
in a floating , escapist diazepam hazed rabbit hole

High noon patrols prowl the streets
in a Heart of Darkness wild west called Fallujah
as Apache Helicopter gunships circle and strafe
in this Iraqi Alabama at the end of the river
creating chaotic visual loops of orange

Parachuted incandescent flares descend
on night time blockades , house raids ,Bound and hooded Iraqis ,
a dead child "mistake "

Panther Penis victims
Cancerous depleted Uranium victims
Lack of Medical supply victims
Sharia Lawlessness victims
Pray and spray shooting victims

Pre-Medieval self-referential autonomous cells of women-hating men
Parasitic voyeurs
War Tourists
Cynical Grunts
Careerist freelancers
Nut jobs
Neo-con fantasists and
In Denial Zealots

Neither Political Islam nor US Imperialism
cries the Left while young men rapped in Green and Black flags
fire AK-47s in the air drawn to the lure of violence

While 13,000 souls anguish in a ritualised nightshift humiliation
inside an Iraqi Andersonville with its towers and razor wire
Incessant sobbing, child shrieks and swaggering GI’S

NGO Groupies
Useless CMOCS
SUV Flames
Dawn to Dusk Curfews

All paths in the neo- con bloody circus leading nowhere
signifying the end of Planet America.

Peter Burton August 2007

Monday, 6 August 2007

Free Mansour Ossanlou !

Demonstrate to free Mansour Ossanlou, Mahmoud Salehi and all class-war prisoners in Iran!

As part of the week of action in support of Iranian workers supported by international unions including the International Transport Workers' Federation, activists in Britain will be demonstrating outside the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Thursday 9 August.
Location:Outside Iranian Embassy, 16 Prince's Gate, London SW7 (nearest Tube: High St Kensington)