Friday, July 27, 2007

Iraqi Oil Minister: There are no legal unions in Iraq

So where are all the US unions screaming about the new democracy in Iraq where there are no legal unions. The US troops are fighting to secure a union-free Iraq! The main stream press will maintain a deafening silence on this you can be sure. But where are the big union organisations worldwide?

Shahrastani: No Legal Oil Unions in Iraq
Unions Object to Draft Hydrocarbons Law, Call for Shahrastani's Resignation
By BEN LANDO Posted 23 hr. 49 min. ago
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WASHINGTON, DC (UPI) -- Iraq's oil minister said Iraq's oil unions are not legitimate and have no more standing in the debate over the oil law than an ordinary citizen.

"There are no legal unions in Iraq," Hussein al-Shahristani said Wednesday in response to a question about various factions' positions on the controversial oil law. "Those people who call themselves representatives of the oil workers have not been elected to the position."

Shahristani spoke to UPI by phone from Baghdad.

The lone remaining law from the Saddam Hussein regime kept by U.S. occupying powers and the successive Iraqi government is the one that bans worker organizing in the public sector.

Despite that, workers have come together and leveraged their power. Since 2003 they've blocked numerous attempts to privatize management of both oil and other facilities and stopped work over disputes -- most recently early last month over the oil law and other unmet demands.

Earlier this month workers in the southern, oil-rich town of Basra marched in protest against the oil law and demanded Shahristani's resignation.

The law would govern exploration and development of Iraq's 115 billion barrels of proven reserves and unknown reserves to be found in under-explored areas. But the law is stuck over central government vs. regional/local control over certain oil fields. And the unions, along with other political elements, have led the charge that the law allows for contracts they see as too friendly to foreign oil companies

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