The Guardian 7 September, 2005

Appeal from Iraqi Unions

On August 7, the Iraqi Council of Ministers stated that the government would be "taking control of all monies belonging to the trade unions to prevent them from dispensing any such monies". The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) is asking unions and individuals to send a protest message to the Iraqi Ambassador in Australia demanding that this decree be revoked and that the Iraqi government respect the democratic right of workers to control their own unions without interference from governments and corporations.

The decree revokes decisions taken on union rights by Iraq’s provisional government and permits the control and confiscation of trade union monies by the current authorities. It also states that the right to carry out union activities is to be reviewed.

Since the fall of the Sadam Hussein regime, an active union movement of over 700,000 strong has been built in Iraq. "This attack on Iraqi unions is an attempt to stop their activities for justice, democracy and their challenge to foreign ownership of Iraqi oil and privatisation", said the IFTU in an appeal sent to trade unions around the world. "We are seeking your union’s urgent help to stop a vicious attack on the rights of Iraqi unions."

"A message by your union condemning this anti-union decree issued by the Iraqi government would be of enormous assistance."

The ACTU has responded by sending a letter to the Iraqi Ambassador. In that letter it states: "Our concern is that by taking control of the finances of existing unions, the Iraqi government is effectively closing down their operations and therefore removing the right to freedom of association with no indication of how long this suspension will last. This is a prima facie breach of the ILO core convention on Freedom of Association and a deeply worrying attack on human rights in Iraq.

"If the intention of the Gov­ernment of Iraq is to revise the arrangements under which trade unions operate, that should be done by discussion that with the trade unions themselves, rather than closing them down."

Support the campaign by writing to the Iraqi Ambassador.

His Excellency Mr Ghanim T Al-Shibli Ambassador Republic of Iraq
48 Culgoa Circuit O’Malley ACT 2606
Ph: 02 6286 9952Fax: 02 6286 9952

It would be appreciated if copies of emails to the Iraqi Ambassador
were sent to the IFTU international representative Mr Abdullah Muhsin

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