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August 10, 2005

Union Struggles in Iraq

-- by Thomas Leavitt

Iraqi Unions Defy Assassinations and Occupation - David Bacon - truthout | perspective

There are a lot of reasons why workers and unions might hate the occupation. Iraqi unemployment, according to the economics faculty of Baghdad University, has been at 70 percent since the occupation started. Among US occupation czar Paul Bremer's neoliberal orders was number 30, issued in September of 2003 and still in force. It lowered the base wage in public enterprises, where most Iraqis work, to $35/month, and ended subsidies for food and housing. Most of all, workers hate Law 150, issued by Saddam Hussein in 1987, which prohibited unions and collective bargaining in the public sector. Bremer chose to continue enforcing this measure, and bound the transitional government of Allawi to do the same. Bremer backed it up by issuing Public Order 1, banning even advocacy leading to civil disorder, and arrested IFTU leaders, expelling them from their Baghdad offices.

... a full blown overview of the state of the labor movement in Iraq. Lots of interesting stuff, including this tidbit: "a higher percentage of factories in Iraq have worker-based organizing committees and fledgling unions than do factories in the US".

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at August 10, 2005 8:04 PM

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