The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU): Outline History and Future Tasks

First I would like to offer a brief account of the state of the oil sector in Iraq. Then move on to provide a brief history of the Iraqi labour movement and of the emergence of the IFTU before I go on to discuss the current situation in Iraq and the challenges the IFTU faces.

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The importance of the Iraqi National Conference

1300 delegates representing people and organisations from Iraq’s 18 provinces defied the extremist wreckers and terrorists – both Islamist fundamentalists and Saddam suporters – by gathering in Baghdad’s Convention Centre on Sunday 15 August 2004 to elect an interim National Assembly and to engage in an open national dialogue on Iraq’s future.

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Iraq

Hadi Salih
since the formal end of the US/UK occupation with UN Resolution 1546 which laid the basis for the ending of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and lead to the subsequent formation of the Interim Government on the 28 June 2004. Three points emerge from which I would like to highlight

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Trade unionist urges end to occupation

Morning Star – 7 August 2004
Karl Stewart
IRAQI trade unionist Abdullah Mushen demanded an end to the occupation and a “sovereign and democratic Iraq” in central London on Thursday night. At a packed meeting organised by Camden branch of UNISON, Mr Mushen, who is London representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), described how, under Saddam Hussein, the Ba’athist dictatorship turned the state-run General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) into a “yellow union” and a “tool of oppression.”

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Keeping hope alive

“Morning Star” – 5 August 2004
INTERVIEW: Iraqi trade unionist Subhi Abdullah Mashadani talks to the Morning Star about the rebuilding of a labour movement.
IRAQI Subhi Abdullah Mashadani experienced the brutal repression of Saddam Hussein’s regime at first hand. But, after the dictatorship’s collapse, he was vocal in the campaign to establish a new free labour federation. His work was rewarded last year, when he was elected as the first general secretary of the democratic Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU).
An invitation from RMT to address its conference brought Mr Mashadani to Britain, where he also addressed the UNISON conference and was, in his words, “warmly received.”
Here, he speaks to the Star about the situation facing Iraq’s fledgling labour federation, the IFTU.

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IFTU-Transport & Communication Workers’ Union takes direct action to re-open its National Office

At the recent conference of the IFTU-affiliated Transport & Communication Workers’ Union delegates unanimously passed a motion instructing the newly elected union leadership to reclaim the union’s Baghdad office building closed since December 6 2003 by an act of illegal aggression by troops of the occupation authority.

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