Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Iraqi union leader arriving here

Iraqi oil union leader Hassan Juma'a IS coming to Britain after all! He is due to arrive today and will speak at a meeting in London's Friends House next Wednesday.
I've just had the following press release from the oil union's supporters in the UK:

Tuesday July 10th 2007

Iraqi Oil Union Leader Visits UK

The leader of Iraq’s powerful oil workers union will be in the UK from Tuesday July 10th until Thursday July 19th.

Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi is President of the 26,000 strong Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) The independent Federation represents workers in 10 state oil and gas companies across four governorates in the south of Iraq. Despite having brought Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to the negotiating table over workers rights and conditions, the IFOU is still an illegal union.

In June 2007 Iraqi troops were sent into the oil sector and arrest warrants issued against IFOU leaders after a decision to strike over unfulfilled agreements. International pressure succeeded in obtaining the withdrawal of troops and a return to negotiations. The Union has shut down exports twice in the past three years over workers terms and conditions.The IFOU opposes the current Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law, which it says surrenders Iraq’s economic sovereignty to multinational oil companies.IFOU leaders have said their members are prepared to strike in defence of a nationalised oil industry.

Iraq’s oil has been in the public sector for the past four decades. Hassan said: ‘The British people need to hear about the occupation’s planned theft of Iraqi oil disguised as ‘The Hydrocarbon Law’.

Hassan will meet with British MPs, trade union leaders, journalists and anti-war movement leaders. He will speak about the current Oil Law, popular opposition to it, and everyday life in occupied Iraq, including conditions in British-occupied Basra.The IFOU has a policy of advocating national unity, no privatisation of Iraqi oil and has consistently called for immediate withdrawal of the occupation forces since 2004.

Hassan will speak at a public meeting on Wednesday July 18th at Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road London NW1 7pm The meeting is organised by Naftana and supported by the Stop the War Coalition and Hands Off Iraqi Oil



Naftana (‘Our Oil’ in Arabic) is an independent UK-based committee supporting democratic trade unionism in Iraq. It works in solidarity with the IFOU. It strives to publicise the union’s struggle for Iraqi social and economic rights and its stand against the privatisation of Iraqi oil demanded by the occupying powers.The IFOU is supported by development and human rights organizations War on Want and Platform in the UK, Un Ponte Per (Italy) and US Labor Against War (USA).For more information see the IFOU’s website: www.basraoilunion.org

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