After weeks of industrial action in the southern oil fields in Iraq, management are trying to prevent the Refinery Workers Union from operating by sending four of its leaders to other workplaces. This is a standard management tactic in Iraq, and in the past has often meant sending union leaders to more hostile, violent areas of the country. But pressure from Iraqi trade unionists and trade unionists around the world has stopped this before, and we can do it again.
Refinery workers held rolling sit-ins on 25-26 February, 2 and 18 March, followed by a large demonstration on 28 March calling for wage increases, fair payment of allowances owed to workers, permanent jobs for temporary workers, monitoring of corruption and better local management to improve production.
The union leaders who received the transfer orders on 1 April were Ibrahim Radhi, President of the Refinery Workers Union and Vice President of the umbrella Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (an ICEM affiliate); Ala’ Sabah Miri’e, Refinery Workers Union Vice President and President of the Central Council of the IFOU; Faraj Rbat Mizba, Refinery Workers Union media officer and IFOU Central Council member; and Khez’al Kadhim: refinery union member and activist.
LabourStart are organising solidarity: “We want trade unionists from around the world to protest about this harassment, demand that the transfer orders are rescinded, and support the call for an ILO-compliant labour law in Iraq.”