Monday, 26 July 2010

Iraqi Ministry of Electricity prohibits and shuts down trade union activities

The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity has issued an edict to "prohibit all trade union activities at the ministry and its departments and sites; and to stop all forms of official [ministry and its departments and sites] interaction and communication with the trade unions that operate within the Ministry and its departments and sites."

According to the Iraqi Trade Unions website;
The ministerial order granted the police authority, under the terrorism act of 2005 to arrest any trade union activist who may try to protest against this unjust action, masking this undemocratic action as a pretext to protect public properties from damage may result of any protest. This is clear state intimidation of free independent and democratic trade unions organizations.
However, thankfully, "unions in Iraq are not taking this order passively." They are "are organizing meetings, contacting media and politicians to protest this order." There has been an encouraging willingness to fight, and to work across the boundaries of different union federations.

They are also asking for broader solidarity. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to William Hague, asking him to "call on the Iraqi Government, as a matter of urgency, to withdraw the order, and allow unions to operate freely, underpinned by a fair, just and ILO-compliant labour law."

The electricity workers union also ask that people write to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nori Al Maliki to express their opposition, and sign the Iraqi labor campaign’s appeal for a fair and just labour law.

As workers, the greatest weapon we have against the state and the bosses is solidarity. It is vital that we offer it to those in Iraq facing persecution by their government, especially if and when more militant resistance to these measures become neccesary.

It is also important that we spread the word. This turn of events has received no coverage by the mainstream media, or beyond the websites of trade unions and left-wing groups. We need to spread the word not only that the government of Iraq is oppressing the freedoms of its working class, but also that it will not be tolerated.

Whether on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or even by word of mouth, please publicise this news wherever you can.