In a letter to the Prime Minister from ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda, the global union federation of oil, gas, and energy unions throughout the world, stated, “On Tuesday evening, we learnt from the union that the Iraqi army had surrounded the strikers yesterday (5 June). The situation was, we understand, extremely tense. Urgent negotiations with your representatives have led to a temporary return to work to allow further negotiations, but the army remains in position and the situation remains very tense.”
Pipeline workers of the 26,000-member IFOU, first struck pipe number 42 in the early hours of Monday, 4 June, following a company communication that a normal payment made to workers would not be forthcoming. Prior to the strike there had been weeks of negotiation, over a range of demands including terms and conditions of work, health and safety, and the future of the oil industry in Iraq. The following morning, 5 June, the strike strengthened when oil workers cut off the flow of oil from another pipeline. That was followed by Iraqi military troops surrounding the strikers.
“I assure you that military intervention in the dispute is not the way to resolve matters,” stated the ICEM letter to Prime Minister al-Maliki. “In particular, we urge you to ensure that there are no arrests or detentions of any strikers or strike leaders, and no one involved is physically harmed. Genuine negotiations over the workers’ legitimate grievances must take place.”
The ICEM is calling on all its 384 affiliated trade unions in 124 countries to send messages of support to IFOU. The ICEM is coordinating efforts to assist the IFOU together with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the US Solidarity Center, and the UK’s Trades Union Congress.
For background on this week’s strike, visit http://www.icem.org/en/77-All-ICEM-News-Releases/ 2284-ICEM-Supports-IFOU-in-Today’s-Oil-Indus try-Strike-in-Basra.
For further information, contact Jim Catterson, Intl. Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine & General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) Energy Officer:
+32 2 626 2045
IRAQI ARMY SURROUNDS OIL WORKERS ON STRIKE
Hands off Iraqi oil