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Iraq Federation of Oil Workers strike demands


No./ 227

Date/ May 5, 2007

To/ His Excellency Prime Minister of Iraq

May peace and God's mercy and blessing be upon you

Subject: Strike

Further to our statement issued number 180, dated April 27, 2007, copy attached.

Our wounded Iraq, weakened by the bayonets of occupation and almost declared sectarian warfare, endures difficult circumstances.    Unemployment has reached unacceptable levels; the economy is in desperate condition resulting in inflation of the cost of living of the Iraqi citizen — due in part to the increase in fuel prices in accordance with the notorious agreement with the International Monetary Fund.  The IMF has been piling pressure on the government to push for the implementation of its policy in Iraq, and despite the best attempts of some Iraqi decision makers to reform wherever possible and to alleviate the resultant suffering, others have sought to derail serious solutions, by avoid dealing with urgent problems that directly impinge on the life of the citizen.

We at the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions—responding to our sense of patriotism and our legal and professional duty—have contacted government officials in the Ministry of Oil, the Parliament and even the Cabinet of Ministers and communicated the concerns of our members.   All of these concerns can be satisfied by implementing the relevant laws and following courses of action that worked in the past without any complications.  That being the case, twice in the last six months we have contacted the Ministry of Oil and communicated with the minister, Dr. al-Shahristani, in addition to meeting with numerous other high ranking ministry officials, and each time we have only gained promises that were never fulfilled.

We feel that the active contribution of our member workers in the productive process of the oil sector in the South is being ignored and their role marginalized.  How else to explain the granting of bonuses on the basis of profits to the oil refineries in the North (al-Bayji) and the Northern Oil Company despite their low production level, as publicly stated by the oil minister?  And what should we call the inconsistencies in decisions: for example the change in granting bonuses on the basis of profits between this and the previous year?   Furthermore, as branches of public companies headquartered in Baghdad we are subject to double standards, such that the implementation of any one directive is interpreted one way in the South and another in Baghdad.

As such, we find ourselves compelled to take the decision to strike, despite our awareness of some of the negative effects this action might cause.   We resort to this action as a means to press the Ministry officials to apply a single and fair set of standards to all, and correct the problems referred to in our previous statement.  Even as we take this action, no one else will be more mindful of guarantying the production potential and the well-maintenance of the machinery.  Moreover, the realization of our just demands will reflect positively on the overall economy of Iraq, and lower the rate of unemployment.

We hereby vow to our members and to our dignified and long-suffering people to persevere until their demands for equality, justice and freedom from oppression are satisfied.  The following is the list of our demands.

1- Resolve the issue of the parcels of land property in sector 52 in al-Shu’ayba belonging to the oil companies  and the land property in the Tannuma area belonging to the Southern Oil Company.

2- Make a  decision concerning the bonuses on the basis of profits of the oil companies according to the amendments already agreed whereby the rate of profit calculated is certified by the financial accountants of the Southern region and not according to the formula adopted by the Minister which is clearly unfair to our membership.

3- Approval of unused ordinary vacations and accumulated vacations exceeding 180 days. There is no justification for withholding any of these vacations. We also believe that the resolution issued by the State Advisory Council is not binding, for lack of legal foundation. We insist that there be no salary deductions for vacation days granted in the previous years, given that these vacations were granted with the approval and direction of Dr. Chalabi at the time.

4- Granting full time status to temporary workers, notwithstanding the length of service.  This subject should be approached with humanity.  At any rate, these workers are Iraqi nationals who have the right to live and work in this country.

5- Hiring the graduates of the last two graduating classes of the Oil Institute.  

6- Reconsideration of the new unified payment schedule on the grounds that it is detrimental to the interests of the workers in the oil sector.

7- Appointment of holders of intermediate school certificates at the second rank on a par with the graduates of basic training from the oil institutes and of colleagues dismissed for political reasons, and dealing with the frozen work rankings, which should be raised to the third rank.  

8- Rescind the 20% deduction paid to the Ministry of Defense and return the previous years' deductions to our membership.

9- We demand the actualization of the decision to transfer ownership of public housing units occupied by our members to the tenants, on a par with the employees of other state-owned agencies. We deem the stalling policy inappropriate and applying a double standard to the oil sector in the South.

10- Solve the pay and certificate problems at the Iraqi Oil Transport Company  and drop the charges pending against them in the Anti-Corruption Office.  

11- Reinstate in all respects the special allocations granted in oil companies  which were done away with in 2005.

12- Concede administrative and financial autonomy to the branches of companies headquartered in Baghdad.

13- Scrutinize the performance of the Ministry of Oil officials from top to bottom.

14- Submit the draft of the new oil law for our union to study; we have reservations and questions concerning it.

15- Repeal the increases in fuel prices  in view of their generally negative effect on citizens.

16- Medical examination and treatment for oil sector employees [some missing words], especially those inhabiting areas targeted with depleted uranium ordnance during the latest bouts of war and those afflicted by chronic  cancerous diseases, and paying for the treatment whether in this country or abroad.

And may peace and God's mercy and blessing be upon you

Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions