The Iraqi Federation of Workers Trade Unions (IFTU) was invited to attend a meeting organized by both the ICFTU and the ILO in Jordan 17-18 December 2003 to discuss ways and means to help and support Iraqi trade unionists to build new, transparent and democratic unions in post Saddam?s dictatorship era . Mr Rasem Hussien Abdullah the president of the IFTU, its first vice president Mr Hadi Ali laftah and Sobhi Abdullah Hussien the general secretary represented the IFTU for the Jordan meeting. The presidents of both the Iraqi Teacher and Journalist Unions were also present at the meeting. Mr Jutiyar Norri Abdulla from the Syndicate Union of Kurdistan Workers was also represented at the meeting.
Mr Guy Ryder the general secretary of the ICFTU chaired the meeting and Mr. Walid Hamdan of the ILO supervised it. The Meeting was also attended by 23 international and Arab trade union organizations including the ICATU.
The ICFTU general secretary Mr Guy Ryder stressed, that this meeting is an opportunity for us to become better acquainted with different groups seeking to build genuine unions and to learn together about the problems and difficulties facing Iraqi workers and the people of Iraq in general.
Mr Guy Ryder added that the capture of Saddam Hussein is a welcome development, and a major blow to those who are trying to stop Iraq becoming a democracy.
At the end of discussion the ICFTU emphasised its readiness to have a closer relationship with IFTU and saw its role (ICFTU) as a priority to help the IFTU to build a free and democratic trade union movement but on sector basis.
Mr Guy Ryder also stated the ICFTU position in regard to the issue of unity and reconciliation being put forward by the ICATU between the various Iraq trade union groupings, and that is the ICFTU would not wish to impose any model or formula upon the IFTU to follow, but is a matter for the IFTU to decide.
The IFTU held several side meetings with a number of trade unions present at the Jordan meeting. A meeting was held with CGIL of Italy and the CCOO of Spain. Both meetings were productive and business like. Both the CGIL and CCOO issued invitation to the IFTU to visit their respective countries.
The ICFTU was deeply concerned at the attack on the IFTU headquarters on 6th. December 2003 and has requested its US and UK affiliates to raise the matter with their respective governments so as to find the truth behind the unprovoked attack by US soldiers.
The Executive Bureau
19 December 2003/.