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Message of Solidarity from the NASUWT National Executive

The National Executive of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK,  wishes to affirm the NASUWT’s continuing solidarity with and support for the ITU as it struggles for democracy and  workers’ rights, including those of teachers.

The NASUWT National Executive  was horrified and shocked to hear of the murder of another ITU colleague,  ITU vice president in Mosul colleague Hussein Darwish,  who was gunned down on 5 June while going to work. This is not only tragedy for us all, it is crime against humanity. The coldblooded murder of a peaceful human being who loved his family, his country Iraq and his union, the Iraqi teachers’ union and who campaigned for the establishment of democracy and rule of law,  is abhorrent  and the NASUWT National Executive deplores and condemns this in the strongest possible terms.

At this very difficult time for the ITU and Iraq, the NASUWT Executive, while expressing its deepest condolences and sorrow to Hussein’s family and friends , believes that the principles for which our brother Hussein fought and died  will eventually triumph and the forces of tyranny shall not prevail.

The NASUWT National Executive is horrified by the situation  your country Iraq is facing at the hands of murderous terrorists.  The NASUWT Executive is deeply concerned for the safety of all our sisters and brothers in the ITU and their families.

The NASUWT stands with the ITU as it endeavors, with Iraqi progressive patriotic forces, to maintain Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and the fragile post 2003 democratic national political process and is ready to offer what ever assistance it can.

30/06/2014 by admin

The ITUC has expressed grave fears for migrant workers trapped in the fighting in Iraq, with reports emerging that extremist group ISIS plans to use 39 kidnapped Indian workers as human shields. ISIS has shown no willingness to discuss release of the 39, whom it seized in Mosul. 46 Indian nurses are also said to be stranded in a Tikrit hospital.

30/06/2014 by admin

Solidarity with Iraq’s trade unions

29 Jun 2014, By

The TUC sends a message of solidarity to the brave independent trade unionists of Iraq facing the new threat presented by ISIS, on top of decades of repression by both Saddam Hussein and his successors. As one of the few non-sectarian institutions in Iraq, the trade union movement has much to lose from an upsurge in divisions between Sunni and Shi’ite Iraqis.

The ITUC has warned of the threat to migrant workers from India, Nepal and other countries, and the ‘toxic combination’ of an authoritarian government and religious extremism, Education International has expressed concern about:

“the rapidly deteriorating security situation and mounting sectarian violence, within Iraq and beyond its borders. The violence has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and has been marked by numerous human rights violations also affecting schools, children and teachers, particularly in the regions of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit.”

TUC affiliate the NASUWT, which hosted Ahmed Jassam Salih, National President of the technical sector of the Iraqi Teachers’ Union (ITU) at its annual conference in April, has expressed fears about the impact of the spread of ISIS, which seems to see any autonomous organisation by workers as a threat.

But ISIS is not alone in that. The Iraqi government has for years refused to give up Saddam Hussein’s anti-trade union legislation, and several Iraqi political parties have tried to infiltrate unions or destabilise them for party political interests. Just days before ISIS entered Mosul in Northern Iraq, the ITU Vice-President in Mosul, Hussein Darwish, was assassinated on his way to work. He leaves behind six children. Family members of the previous ITU President, Ahmed Jassam Salih, were also assassinated recently.

Now, with ISIS threatening to return the areas it controls to the Middle Ages, we hear reports that the Iraqi government is withholding salaries from public servants, and conscripting them into militias to fight ISIS.

What the international trade union movement and the TUC demand is that disputes in Iraq should be settled by inclusive political dialogue rather than violence, that all sides should respect the independence and freedom of workers to form and work through the trade unions of their choice, and for the UN and the international community to work to restore peace and security for all, with special assistance to those displaced by the latest wave of violence.

30/06/2014 by admin

Press release: by the Iraqi Labor Unions regarding the Interventions and Violations Carried out by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
Violations to the freedoms of organization of unions is continuing and have been repeated in many procedures and practices of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which inhibits the right of freedom of organization to unions and its diversity.
The correspondence of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, which stipulates the prevention to deal with labor unions and syndicates, and coerces to deal exclusively with a government union founded by the government itself, is a flagrant violation of freedom of association and protection of the right to organize.
For that purpose, the below-noted representatives of Iraqi unions met on Saturday, July 13, 2013 in Baghdad. The following statement has been released to confirm the following points:

Rejection of the methods of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in its refusal to deal with the Iraqi labor unions and syndicates, and its dependence on one union which it had contributed to found directly and prejudicially during the presidency of the Minister of Labor to the Ministerial Supreme Committee supervising the implementation of the Governing Council decision No. 3 of 2004 and its preparation committee, in violation of the trade union principles, and its direct intervention in the internal affairs, works, and activities of the Iraqi trade union movement and in violation of the Freedom of Association and the Protection of the Right to Organize No. 87 of 1948, and the Arabic treaty No. 8 of 1977.

Rejection of the conduct and practices of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in issuing decisions, instructions, and directions which impose that no one must deal with any union other than the union of “the ministry”. Since such measures also violate article (22, Third) of the Constitution of Iraq.
The Iraqi labor unions while reaffirming their position in the belief that such actions and interventions are incompatible with the Arab and international labor standards and with the era of change in the new Iraq, call for the abolition of these measures and the recognition of the right to freedom of association and protection of trade union organizations without any interference from the government or any other party whatsoever.


Ali Rahim Ali
General Federation of Trade Unions in Iraq


Falah Alwan

Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq

 Saeed Nemaa

General Federation of Workers’ Unions in Iraq

 Hassan Jumaa Awad
Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq


July 14, 2013

18/07/2013 by admin

All charges are dropped against leader of Oil union

Basra, on July 1, court hearing decided to clear Hassan Juma Awad of charges labeled against him.
Hassan has sent an email to thank all colleagues’ trade unionists and international organizations that stood with him while contesting unjust charges. He is free. International solidarity works.

02/07/2013 by admin

Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions deplores provocative actions carried out by the Oil Ministry against oil workers. Oil workers demonstrated peacefully and in line with Iraq’s democratic constitution, to demand their legitimate rights.  

Instead of responding to workers demands positively, the ministry has vowed to punish leaders and activists (please see names below) who have demonstrated to demand their rights.

1-      Nizar Shakir Abdul-Hassan 2- Abdul Karim Abdul Sada 3- Mansi Abdul Nabi 4- Abdullah Kazim 5- Mohammed Khalil Jaber and 7 -Alaa Abdel-Rahman 8 -Aqeel Salim Kazim

2-      The IFOU deplores and condemns this act; calls upon international trade unions movement to stand in our support.


Please see the full IFOU Arabic statement on the GFIW Arabic page

07/03/2013 by admin

Appeal for Urgent Action

To Release Iraqi intellectual and thinker, Mr. Ahmed

Al-Qubbanji, arrested by Iranian authorities



We are very concerned for the fate of the Iraqi intellectual and thinker, Mr. Ahmed al-Qubbanji, who was arrested by the Iranian authorities in the city of Qom on 17th February 2013. The reasons for his arrest are unknown. Our concern about his fate is mounting because of the circumstances of his arrest and their ambiguity. We are extremely worried that he could be exposed to ill-treatment and that his life is threatened, especially because the Iranian authorities have until now neither revealed his whereabouts nor stated the charges against him.

We look forward to your solidarity and urgent action, based on your humanitarian responsibilities and moral obligations, as dictated by human conscience and your commitment to international law and international conventions and norms, which stipulate respect for human rights and ensuring freedom and human dignity. We call for immediate action to ensure the safe return of Mr. Ahmed Al-Qubbanji to his country, Iraq. We also appeal to you to act speedily to find out about his needs and to ensure that his full rights are protected.

Please accept our respect and appreciation for your efforts and human conscience.


The undersigned: 

  1. National Union of Iraqi Journalists
  2. Press Freedoms Monitor
  3. National Association for Defending Human Rights
  4. Masarat for Cultural and Media Development
  5. Iraqi Women’s Network
  6. Iraqi Amal Society
  7. Tammuz Organization for Social Development
  8. Information Centre for research and Development
  9. Masalla Organization for Human Resources

10. Popular Action Organization (PAO)

11. Time Centre for Youth Development

12. Iraqi Society for Sport Development 

13. Workers Cultural Centre

14. Iraqi Society for Pensioners

15. Iraqi Women’s League

16. The General Union of Students

The League of Iraqi Students

04/03/2013 by admin