TUC condemns anti-union terrorism in Iraq

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TUC letter to the Iraqi GFIW

3 February 2007

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has condemned three examples of barbarous terrorism against the trade union movement in Iraq.

Writing personally to the General Secretary of the Iraqi GFIW, Rasem Al-Awady, he said:

'Trade unionism is founded on the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all, and I have no doubt that, contrary to their intentions, the actions of these terrorists will only redouble the commitment of Iraqi trade unionists, and the solidarity of trade unionists around the world for your struggles.'

The TUC, which is part of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and is running a TUC Aid for Iraq Appeal to deliver assistance to the Iraqi trade union movement, spoke out in response to three terrorist attacks on the trade union movement on Wednesday 31 January.

  • Brother Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mashhadani, Vice-President of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW) as well as General Secretary of the Arab Federation of Building and Wood Workers, was injured in a bomb attack. He has been hospitalised and is said to be stable.
  • Dr. Adnan Al-Abed , legal counsellor to the GFIW and Professor of Law at Al-Nahrain University was found murdered together with two of his colleagues, three days after the three professors were kidnapped by armed militants in front of the faculty of law. Doctor Al-Abed was known as one of the most prominent experts on labour matters in Iraq, and a principal supporter of the Iraqi labour movement. His last work was a revision of the ILO-sponsored draft labour law for Iraq.
  • A car bomb targeted the building of the GFIW's branch in the Nineveh governorate on the same morning, resulting in the injury of many workers and trade unionists.

The GFIW's Executive Bureau issued a declaration which concluded with the following resilient statement (translated into English by the ITUC Amman Office from the Arabic):

'The terrorist acts, the annihilation of trade unionists, the destruction and occupation of trade union offices, the freezing of the trade union movement's assets and the putting of obstacles in our way will only increase our resolve to build an independent, democratic trade union movement that is free of government and party hegemony.'

The TUC is concerned that terrorists in Iraq are increasingly targeting trade unionists, both officials and ordinary members, in their attempt to crush a secular, non-sectarian and democratic force in Iraq.

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