Friday, April 29, 2005

Iraqi Labor Leader Hassam Juma: We Will Defend Our Oil

An Iraqi oil workers union has challenged the largest subcontractor operating in Iraq.
Picture from In These Times

Iraqi labor unions have been gaining steady ground since the fall of Sadam Hussien. A blog maintained by Iraqi Union Solidarity can be found here. Much activity has focused on Basra, but militant union activity is taking place all over Iraq. New freedoms are a double edged sword - the direct authoritarian controls of the Bathists are gone, only to be replaced by the brutal chaos of capitalist imperialism at its worst. Nevertheless brave brothers and sisters are taking a stand to protect their interests against rampant corporate greed. An interview with Hassam Juma can be found here.

The following is from a recent Alternet article:
As U.S. and British forces entered Baghdad on April 9, 2003, and the Saddam Hussein regime crumbled, those who had been driven underground by Hussein's rule began to breathe again. From Syria, Britain, Scandinavia and elsewhere, exiled trade union radicals began to make the long journey home.

The first post-Saddam days saw a ferment of labor organizing. A general strike broke out in Basra, after the British troops tried to install a notorious ex-Baath Party leader as mayor. Within a month, the city already had a labor council bringing together many new unions.
A recent article on Iraqi trade unions written by Giuliana Sgrena can be found here

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