After decades of vicious rule under Saddam, which included the repression of thousands of communist party members, trade unionists and worker-activists, and crippling UN sanctions and imperialist invasion, the Iraqi working class is beginning to re-organise itself. Workers are fighting against occupation, poverty, joblessness, and for democratic rights and a decent standard of living.
As a new feature, socialistworld.net will report on workers’ struggles, and community, youth and social campaigns in Iraq. We will provide links to sites that specialise on these issues. The following report indicates the developing protests against imperialist occupation and for basic trade union and democratic rights.
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Protest against occupation and for workers’ rights
An update on workers’ struggles
Iraqis stage anti-US demonstration (19/3/04)
3000 Sunni and Shia Iraqis marched in Baghdad opposing the occupation, calling for elections, and for unity between Shia and Sunnis to fight the occupation for democracy.
This report indicates the possibility for unity across the sectarian divide. Some of the same demands came up after bombings during Shia religious festivals in March, with Sunnis rushing to help Shia wounded and vice versa.
This indicates that a mood of unity against occupation does exist, as well as the real potential for sectarian strife.
International campaign against the occupation and for labour rights in Iraq – Report from a delegation to the ILO office in Geneva (March 15, 2004)
A press release from Arab unions, UUI, US Labour against War, etc
This report concerns a lobby of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) demanding workers’ rights, consultation, and democracy.
Draft of Labour Law proposed by the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq
A comprehensive set of demands for workers’ rights.
Teachers in Mosul demand unpaid wages and threaten authorities with strike (15/3/04)
An ongoing dispute over 6 months’ unpaid wages. Previously, a dispute threatening a strike forced the Education Directorate to pay 60 dollars emergency pay. But back pay is still due, and therefore the threat of strike has resumed.
Labor Groups Aim to Build Unions in Iraq (12/3/04)
An AP report that claims an attempt by AFL-CIO and Bush regime to gain control of Iraqi unions by pouring money into forming union and employers groups, i.e. ‘partnership agreements’.
This clearly shows the fear of the occupying forces of a resurgent labour movement, and the fear of the US union bureaucracy that this will be genuinely independent.
This follows the recognition of the IFTU (the world TUC) by the occupation forces as the official union federation they will negotiate with.
US unloading WMD in Iraq (12/3/04)
From the ‘Tehran Times’. The paper claims that the US is unloading missiles and WMD in southern Iraqi ports under great secrecy. The Article says: "a reliable source from the IGC" confirmed this.”
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