The independent GFIW deplores the cowardly attack on its regional headquarters

The independent GFIW deplored the cowardly attack on its regional headquarters in Basra and Diwaniyah 0n 25-26 September by thugs masquerading as trade unionists. These thugs sought to size and occupy the GFIW headquarters.

The independent GFIW, its regional headquarters and leaders are under constant attacks. This is because of the federation firm opposition to government drive to control and politicise the GFIW and its unions. The Iraqi Ministry of Labour in order to control unions had imposed and then ratified sham elections 24 June-2 July 2012 for the GFIW and its unions. These elections were conducted under the auspices of a government appointed preparatory committee and supervised by the Ministry of Labour. This committee applied state resources—security and financial- to influence and falsify elections results which ultimately lead to the appointment of individuals –with no trade union credential– as trade union leaders. These elections were first boycotted—Basra GFIW was one of the GFIW regional structures that boycotted these elections—and results of these elections were rejected by wide spread organized workers across Iraq for they were fraudulent, fixed and contradict democratic international trade union standards mainly those of the ILO fundamentals. The 24June-2 July 2012 government imposed GFIW elections were not about crating independent and democratic unions but rather creating client unions. This latest government imposed fraudulent elections lead unfortunately to the division of the GFIW and its unions into two structures May 2012. One is now under government control whilst the second is relatively democratic and independent and is facing extreme attacks by the Ministry of Labour such as the attack being reported in this briefing.

The independent GFIW calls on the Iraqi authorities to cease trying to politicize the movement on sectarian abhorrent values. This is a dangerous attempt that will further endanger the social tension Iraqi society is trying to overcome.

The independent GFIW, whilst putting these facts before Iraq and international public opinion, has called on the government of Iraq to address these violations; to support Iraqi workers rights to legitimate, independent and democratic trade unionism as enshrined by Iraq’s permanent constitution; and to further stop interfering in the internal affairs of the unions and instead provide legal (Labour law|) and political space for the Iraqi trade union movement to constitute its internal democracy independently and transparently.

The independent GFIW has, therefore, been engaged in conducting national trade union election for its regional structures and its national unions in the private sector. The GFIW asserts it’s determination to continue with this democratic and independent trade union practices as the only genuine practices to elect trade union leaders and adopt social and economic policies. The GFIW is determined to continue with this just struggle despite legal obstacles and difficulties manufactured by the state . The GFIW shall continue defending working people interests and rights to independent trade unionism and just, fair and safe working and living conditions.

AM