Posts Tagged ‘Labour Friends of Iraq’

Free trade unions are vital to Iraqi democracy and we should support them, argues Gary Kent

20/07/2010, 09:51:33 AM

Iraqi trade union leaders who leave the country to attend international events could be arrested when they return if a new Diktat from part of the Iraqi government is enforced. It’s not in the same league as the murderous crimes of Saddam Hussein, but it’s still a monstrous attack on free trade unionism.

The Iraqi labour movement used to be the biggest between Europe and Australia and mobilised maybe half a million people at the May Day march in Baghdad in 1959. The population of Iraq was then about ten million which illustrates the tremendous social and political weight of the movement and its contemporary potential.

Saddam crushed the unions and civil society as a whole. In 1987 public sector unions were banned in a country dominated by the state. Only a few hundred exiled and clandestine activists were left when he was overthrown in 2003.


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