Global Policy Forum

Iraqi Industrial Workers Strike and Sit-in over Pay Cuts


Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq
August 25, 2008

In the early morning, before working hours in the industrial sector factories in Baghdad, the workers started their sit-ins and protest against the Ministry of Finance' resolution of reducing the salaries of the employees of this sector. Two weeks ago, the Minister of Finance, Jabur Soulagh announced the decrease of salaries of the employees of the Ministry of Industry. This announcement brought about a wave of dismay and outrage among the workers of this sector. The FWCUI called for a general strike and sit-ins around the country, for which thousands of flyers were distributed in Baghdad and many other cities. Many demonstrations are currently planned in order to prevent passing this resolution of salary decrease. As the Ministry made it public that the amount of reduction is 30% of the employees salaries, many protests broke out from enterprises and factories. Sit-ins were declared in the textile, leather, vegetarian oils, and tobacco factories in Baghdad by thousands of workers. Series of gatherings of the industrial sector employees is being organized for tomorrow Monday in Baghdad, Nasiriah, Kut, and Basra. The workers publicized that it will be an open strike and sit-in until the Ministry cancels the resolution. The workers raised the demand of getting paid for the delayed salary differences. They also demanded that the officials stop intimidating the workers and playing a manipulative role regarding the benefits. Moreover, they repeated slogans against the authorities' imposing the policies of the Monitory Fund. The Ministry announced simultaneously that it plans to pay the salaries in full, going against their previously announced resolution. This was a sign of retreat resulting from the pressure of the workers protests. Thousands of workers are expected to participate in protests on Monday. They also plan to raise the demands against privatization, and self financing. There is also outrage among the workers who plan to demand the expulsion of the Ministry of Finance. It is also expected that the Ministry will attempt to calm the situation through some measures lest they run out of control.

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