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September 03, 2005

Back in Iraq: Unions About to Be Destroyed

The Bush administration has been actively hostile to the trade unions in Iraq-- even keeping old Saddam Hussein laws in place to restrict union rights -- but a new decree 875 by the new government promises an even worse crackdown or even elimination of labor union independence in that nation.  

See this post from Iraqi Federation of Workers' Trade Unions (IFTU), which details a letter from the government accompanying the decree which reads:

"The Decree No. 3 issued by the Governing Council in 2004 led to the  ormation of a government Committee responsible for Labour and Social Rights headed by Naseer al-Charderdi. This Committee is no longer have the responsibility and. In its place a new Committee is established comprising the Ministers of Justice, the Interior, Finance, the Minister of State responsible for the Transitional Assembly, the Minister for Civil Society, and the Minister of National Security.

"This Committee must review all the decisions taken to oversee the implementation of Decree no. 3 since its publication in 2004 and must take control of all monies belonging to the trade unions and prevent them from dispensing any such monies.

"In addition I am proposing a new paper on how trade unions should function, operate and organise."

Signed Dr Fahdal Abass (Cabinet General Secretary)

Emphasize the bolded text.  What this means is the nationalization of the trade unions -- all to common in the region -- where the government controls the money and makes the unions responsible to the government, not to workers.

The International Transport Workers' Federation is one of the first global union bodies to condemn this decree:

"We are concerned that control of Iraqi trade unions' monies might lead to the weakening of the Iraqi unions' capabilities," and added: "This is considered a clear breach of the International Labour Organization (ILO) core labour standards on freedom of association and a direct attack on human rights in Iraq."
The new Constitution is moving to destroy women's rights and now that government is looking to destroy independent unions as an alternative to religious dominance of civic society in Iraq.  

Global unions are already up in arms over this issue; I hope that other progressives concerned about human rights in the new Iraq will also take up the cause.

Posted by Nathan at September 3, 2005 04:20 PM