Iraq - Oil workers strike in Basra (2011)

In March workers at the South Refineries Company / Southern Oil Company in Basra went on strike after the failure of negotiations. They were calling for a change in company management and an increase in salaries. As a result of the actions, four key union leaders were transferred to other regions. In July the long-running negotiations between the unions and the authorities ended after a protest attended by more than 500 people was dispersed and two men briefly arrested.

The state-run company also brought charges against two prominent oil union leaders. Hassan Juma, president of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, and Faleh Abood Umara, the federation’s general secretary, were accused of «impeding the work» at oil developments in Basra and «urging workers to stand against senior management». According to officials, the union leaders had made threatening remarks directed at foreign oil companies, thereby harming the country’s economy. Oil unions are technically illegal in Iraq.

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