Iraqi Government Freezes Oil Union's Bank Accounts

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Jun 20 2006 21:27
Iraqi Government Freezes Oil Union's Bank Accounts

PRESS RELEASE from Naftana - UK Support Committee for the General Union

of Oil Employees

Tuesday July 20th 2006

OIL UNION BANK ACCOUNT FROZEN

IRAQI GOVERNMENT ATTACKS OPPONENTS OF OIL PRIVATISATION

We have just confirmed reports that the Iraqi regime has frozen all

the bank accounts of the Iraqi oil workers' union, both abroad and

within Iraq.

Wave of anti-union activity by government The Iraqi regime's

decision comes in the wake of a series of anti-union measures,

including the disbanding of the council of the lawyers' union,

freezing the writers' union accounts and the September 2005 decree

making all trade union activity illegal. For that anti-union act the

regime used the pretext of promising the promulgation of a future law

to 'regulate' trade union organisations and their activities.

This action follows in the footsteps of US administrator Paul Bremer

In 2004 Paul Bremer, the occupation's then pro-consul in Iraq,

declared trade union activity in the state sector illegal. That

decision re-enacted Saddam Hussain's 1987 decree banning workers'

unions in the state sector by declaring them to be 'civil servants'

rather than 'workers'.

Hamstringing opponents of oil rip-off

Iraq's enormous oil wealth is being groomed for Production Sharing

Agreements, which would transfer effective control over all aspects

of oil policy, production and marketing to multination oil

companies. The oil workers' union is one of the most effective

opponents of this policy, organising an anti-privatisation conference

last year and another one to come this year.

Naftana member Ewa Jasiewicz is prepared to deal with enquiries. You

can call her on 07749 421576.

Notes for journalists

The GUOE organises over 23,000 oil and gas industry workers Naftana

(Arabic: 'our oil') was set up by UK activists after contact with the

GUOE. We are in regular contact with the leadership of the union.

In August 2003 the union halted oil exports for two days as a protest

over low wages

The GUOE is independent of any political party or union federation.

GUOE executive committee members, including its President, were part

of the opposition against Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, and many

were imprisoned by the regime.The GUOE is opposed to the military

occupation of Iraq and to the privatisation of the oil and industrial

sectors of Iraq.

The GUOE is a successor to the Southern Oil Company Union (SOCU), set

up immediately after the fall of the Saddam regime.

In October 2003 union activists kicked US company KBR out of oil

industry workplaces.

See the union's website www.basraoilunion.org for more details in both

Arabic and English

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