Statement by the GFIW on the recent internal trade union violations.

Dear Colleagues

You are aware of the national political crisis our country is experiencing, which is considered to be deeper and more profound than recent past crises, as it is gravely endangering the post-2003 national political process.  

In order for the GFIW to do its share and work with rest of Iraqis to ward off this dangerous threat, our GFIW must be united and strong; led by competent, sincere and principled trade unionists with high integrity, grassroots credentials who are deeply imbedded in democratic trade union struggles for workers’ rights and justice and independence from the hegemony of post-2003 governments and political parties. 

However, a number of GFIW leaders who sit as executive members, and as leaders of the GFIW branches and national private sector unions, do not adhere to or abide by democratic trade union values such as openness, independence and transparency and workers’ unity, but instead they employ covert methods of forgery such as falsifying workers elections; bribery and intimidation including threats. These violations were evident at the GFIW National Council Meeting on 18 January 2012.

We had called repeatedly for convening this National Council Meeting with the aim of addressing internal democratic deficits so as to move forward united, but those calls fell on deaf ears. However, despite our suspicion of government interference in the planning and timing of the 18th January National Council Meeting, we agreed to join and take active part in it.  The stealth unwritten agenda of the meeting was cooked and prepared in advance by the then acting president of the GFIW with help of outside dominant political forces in government without prior knowledge of the whole leadership of the GFIW.

Your brothers and sisters whom you trusted to lead you over the last nine years pledge to carry on the struggle to clean up our trade union movement, the GFIW, from all impurities, and promise to defend unions’ democracy and independence, and above all stand firmly by workers’ interests. 

We affirm our commitment to conduct fair, genuine and transparent workers’ elections based on democratic rules and procedures.        

O Working People,

The GFIW is keen to keep you informed about grave trade union violations and wrong internal unions’ procedures conducted by some members of the GFIW leadership under the supervision of dominants elements within the government.  These flagrant trade unions violations were repeated at the GFIW National Council meeting on 18th January 2012. We detail the following violations:

1-    Deliberate exclusion of GFIW executive members and regional offices in the preparation and setting of the agenda of the national meeting. The meeting had no progress report. If such a report was presented which should have been done by normal standard, then it should have detailed last year GFIW work which includes grave trade union violations that the GFIW experienced April-May 2011 at the hands of some of its executives when they falsified workers’ elections under the direction and auspices of a dominant elements within the government.   

2-    Brother Uday Rashid, the president of the Textile and leather products union was prevented and denied the right to enter the meeting. Brother Ali Shamkhi, the President of the Mechanic Workers Union was also prevented from joining the meeting. Two unknown persons were brought in to take the seats of the above two union presidents. It is worth noting that the above-mentioned two have been very outspoken in expressing their views about government interference.  When the meeting was challenged about these grave violations, no explanation was provided. 

           None of the public sector unions were invited.  

3-    Brother Saad Jassim, vice president of the GFIW in Maysan Province, was prevented from entering the meeting hall and instead an unknown person with no previous trade unions credentials was brought in to take his place instead.

4–    Mr Jabar Denbos was invited to attend the National Council meeting without the approval or knowledge of the whole GFIW leadership. Mr Denbos had previously been dismissed from his executive post because he had physically attacked the president of the Construction and Wood Workers Union who openly opposed the falsification of workers’ elections by government stooges in the executive of the GFIW.


5-    The inappropriate behavior and bad practices of the Chairperson of the meeting who appointed himself to post; refused to allow the meeting to appoint delegates to organize names of speakers and issues of debates; decided who speaks and who does not, controlled who enters the meeting and who is not allowed to enter. In simple words, he followed and executed the scenario planned by his political official master.

6-    Five security (officials) were employed for the day who exercised total control over who is allowed to enter the meeting and who is not allowed, executing the chairperson’s desire and his political masters.

7-    Inaccuracies in the process of sorting and counting of election results meant that final results were wrong.




Sisters and Brothers,

At this difficult stage which our trade union movement is experiencing, we pledge to you [workers of Iraq] that we shall carry out our professional and moral duties in building a united and strong trade union movement capable of defending workers’ interests in Iraq.  A movement that leads the struggle from the front for democratic trade union values such as transparency, independence and above all serving the interests of workers.

Due to the violations conducted before and during 18th January 2012 meeting, we, members of the 18th January national meeting of the GFIW (members of the executive, delegates of the unions and GFIW regional centers) reject the results and deliberations of the 18th January National Council Meeting due to the suspicious planning and executing of the meeting.

We shall continue to expose trade unions violations and work to cleanse our movement from abusers and continue to expose, isolate and dismiss elements that were imposed forcibly to lead the movement. We emphasis on the importance of speeding up the preparations to hold democratic trade unions elections free from forgery. 

No to the falsification and distortion of the will of Iraqi workers. No to the tampering in Iraqi unions.

Long Live Workers’ Unity, the guarantee to secure legitimate workers rights.


Baghdad, 25 January 2012

Tahrir Sq. Al rasheed Street. Baghdad, Iraq,

Email: g­_f_i­


Fax: +1516704200

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