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|Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51|
Panzer gegen Streikende
Eine kurze Zusammenfassung von hrw des unten wiedergegebenen englischen Protokolls.
Einleitend unterstreicht Hassan Juma'a (HJ) dass die Arbeit seiner Gewerkschaft durchaus positive Ergebnisse hat, wie beispielsweise die Streichung der beiden untersten von zuvor elf Lohngruppen. Aber die Regierung Alawi bereite die Privatisierung der Ölwirtschaft vor - schon jetzt betreibe die KPR des US-Vizepräsidenten Cheney die meisten Fördertürme im Lande. Sie und ihre Partnerunternehmen hätten auch, trotz der hohen Arbeitslosigkeit, 1.200 Arbeiter aus Asien eingeflogen, wogegen die Gewerkschaft erfolgreich gekämpft habe, so dass 1.000 wieder gehen mussten (eine Position, die im späteren Frage und Antwort-Teil zumindest einmal kritisch hinterfragt wird - hrw).
HJ unterstreicht am Ende seines einleitenden Beitrags nochmals, dass seine Gewerkschaft gegen die Privatisierung der Ölwirtschaft sei, auch weil die hohen Funktionäre des Saddam-Regimes genügend Geld beiseite geschafft hätten um ebenfalls als Käufer aufzutreten.
Fragen und Antworten
Zu den zahlreichen Fragen seien hier einige Antworten knapp zusammengefasst: HJ unterstreicht seine Gewerkschaft sei weder für noch gegen eine Wahl, sondern erwarte, dass endlich die Saddam-Gesetze, insbesondere die reaktionären Gewerkschaftsgesetze abgeschafft würden. Ansonsten seien sie für den Kampf gegen die Besatzung mit allen Mitteln, ausser solcher wie Selbstmordattentäter, die mehr Iraker töteten als Besatzer.
Zur Frage der asiatischen Arbeiter sagte HJ, es habe keine Versuche gegeben, diese zu organisieren (so lautete die berechtigte Frage) weil das a) eine völlig neue Situation auch für die Gewerkschaft gewesen sei, da es unter dem Saddam-Regime nur hochrangige ausländische Experten in der Ölwirtschaft gegeben habe und b) weil diese Arbeiter militärisch abgeschirmt worden seien, faktisch in Camps gehalten.
Zur Frage der Organisationsstrategie sagte er, seine Gewerkschaft - die grösste des Ölsektors - habe jetzt auch Verbindungen zu gewerkschaftlichen Gruppierungen in Kirkuk aufgenommen, mit dem Ziel eine einheitliche irakische Ölarbeitergewerkschaft aufzubauen, die in seiner Sicht der Dinge von den drei bestehenden Verbänden unabhängig bleiben solle. Denn während der IFTU staatlich anerkannt sei und damit involviert und nicht unabhängig, sei der FCWTUI eine Gründung einer einzigen Partei und damit ebenfalls nicht unabhängig - und der religiöse Verband sei von den schiitischen Parteien gesteuert. Die Versuche einstiger baathistischer Gewerkschaftsfunktionäre, in die Gewerkschaftsbewegung einzudringen hält er nicht für wesentlich, denn diese seien völlig diskreditiert.
An verschiedenen Stellen weist HJ darauf hin, dass sowohl irakische Behörden als auch vor allem amerikanische Unternehmer wiederholt mit dem Einsatz von Besatzungspanzern gegen Streikende gedroht hätten und dass diese mindestens in einem Falle auch aufgefahren seien.
Abschliessend gab es noch Fragen nach britischen Truppen und der Rolle des Ölschmuggels.
Occupation Tanks Used Against Strikers
NOTE THAT: this is a transcript of a translated talk and therefore most nuances have been lost. This cannot be taken as a definitive account of what Hassan Juma'a or Iraq occupation Focus believe. NOTE WELL; WHEN THE MATERIAL BELOW REFERS TO "HJ SAYS" THIS OR THAT, IT IS REFERRING TO THE SPEAKER, Hassan Juma'a.
Chair: Ewa Jasiewicz, Translator: Samir Ramadani
HJ: Due to struggle by the Southern Oil Company Union (SOCU) the Iraqi Ministry of Finance has cancelled the two lowest grades of the 11 wage scales. HJ met UK MPs today (08/02/05), they said they had informed Tony Blair of the SOCU strike on the 10th of August, 2004. I am pleased that there are people in the UK who are informed about our situation.
Dick Cheney is involved in the KPR company. They are involved in running the SOC pumping stations. This is part of the US strategy of economic occupation and privitisation. UK experts agree that this is so, and HJ has also read documents about Alawi's preparations for privatisation. The ministry of Oil has attempted to keep these plans secret from the appointed National Assembly. KPR run most pumping stations, including the biggest, but not all.
Al-Khurafi (Kuwaiti) and Meer (Indian) are two companies brought in by KPR, who then brought in 1,200 Asian workers, who were then protected by US forces. After SOC union negotiation with Khurafi 1,000 Iraqi workers were brought in to work and 1,000 Asians were sent home. Pressure on KPR forced them to give work to Iraqis, but within a few days KPR made needed items (like eye-glasses) very hard to get hold of.
The US plan was for no oil to be exported until four years after the (beginning of the?) occupation, but Iraqi workers have managed to bring the stations on-line within four months to raise money for humanitarian ends; 900,000 barrels sent on a Swedish tanker. The US has therefore revised its policy towards oil. HJ has had four meetings with the SOC head, but they showed no desire to help Iraqis and wanted to obstruct reconstruction.
Employees' rights continue to be violated. The US, via Paul Bremmer, etc obstructs the work of the Iraqi national oil companies. The Oil Ministry's role is to aid the two companies involved in oil prospecting and transportation, since the South region is intended to be a flagship for beginning oil exports. However these companies' activities have been frozen and hence sabotaged by the USA.
Let me make it very clear: the SOCU is opposed to privatisation. The reasons are clear. The servants of the former regime took much money with them. If the oil institutions are sold, these people will be the buyers. To conclude: we know you have stood by us and we stand by you.
Question and Answer Session
Q: In the recent Iraqi elections, did any political party stand on an anti-privatisation platform?
A: None have; all should. Oil is the only remaining national resource; all infrastructure has been destroyed (agriculture, etc).
Q: How do you see the future of Iraq after two years of violence? Will the situation continue?
A: Firstly let me make it clear that I am neither for or against the elections. From the start of the occupation to today we still have the same laws as the old regime. Hopefully a new government, though not fully legitimate, will take us from one condition to another. The new government does not have a magic wand to stop the violence. However, there will be some change and we hope the new government will provide protection for the citizens. There is a confusion between the resistance and those whose actions, such as suicide bombings, hurt Iraqis more than the hurt the Americans. We know of the recent broadcast in which Bin Laden appointed Zarkawi the 'Prince of Iraq'; these people and their agents do not want to see a stable Iraq.
Q: Even if the oil industry is not privatised, the profits can still be used to service Iraq' debt. Is the Trade union movement strong enough to resist privatisation?
A: There are various meanings of 'privatisation'. What is under the ground cannot be privatised, but the US does not recognise this -- they may give concessions to extract oil to US companies. HJ met with representatives of political parties before the election; they all stated their opposition to privatisation -- only god knows what they will do when they get into power! As trade unionists live in the situation themselves we shall -- with god willing -- stop privatisation, even if we must give blood in the process.
Q: You said that workers were brought in from outside. Was there any attempt to organise with these Asian workers, in order to resist the bosses at an international level?
A: When Khurafi came to Iraq they renamed themselves 'Iraq National Company', but they were never an Iraqi company (not registered with the Ministry of Planning). In Basra and the surrounding area unemployment is very high. The Asian workers were in a special situation, under strict control and unable to organise. Maybe the mechanical workers could affect their situation, but in general not. This is a new situation, previous laws have not allowed workers to be brought in except high-level experts. The Khurafi employees also left for security reasons -- a manager and (doctor?) were assassinated.
Q: What kind of links do you have with other Iraqi workers?
A: The aim is for one oil union. We are currently the biggest, in terms of numbers and in terms of production. We have links with workers in Nasarea, Kirkuk (and many other areas I did not get).
Q: How much agreement is there between the Iraqi unions on, for example, the question of independence from the state.
A: Let me be frank. There are three trade union federations in Iraq. The first is officially recognised by the state and therefore illegitimate by international rules (ILO regulations?). This is the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). It is formed by the principle of coalition -- 5 representatives from Alawi's party, 5 from the Communist Party, 5 from the Arab Socialist Movement. Rasim Alawadi is the president -- he is a deputy for Alawi's party. The second claims to be independent and has representatives from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution and the Dawa party (both major Shi'a religious parties). The third is led by Falah Awan and the Worker-Communist Party owns it. Therefore the SOC union wants to remain independent and get to the beach of safety. For 35 years we have lived under one-party rule and these were the political groups that organised. Old labels should be left outside the union, we should serve the union independent of party politics. Unfortunately this approach is not followed. HJ knows and deals with individuals from all parties.
Q: Ba'athist trade unions were part of the state. Are their old leadership still around/are they organising?
A: At the last Arab Labour meeting in Aman with representatives from the three federations, HJ did not go himself but sent the General Secretary of the SOC union. He reported that three men and a woman came to the meeting, people who had been part of the Saddam Hussein regime, and they claimed that they also were 'representing workers'. The Arab Labour League leader is an Algerian, and the Arab Labour league's headquarters is in Damascus. He tried to expel the Ba'athists from the meeting, asking them 'Do you want to have your cake and eat it?' These people change their colour according to circumstances. If the water is blue, they go blue. If the water is green, they go green.
Q: If the trade unions are independent from politics, do they still have an impact on the process. For example I have heard about a strike that was organised during the US attack on Najaf.
A: Our work ranges from Shipping in Basra to operations north of Baghdad, and it was the workers at the BS3 plant within the Najaf area who stopped work. Trade unions are also represented on the Oil Council within the Ministry of Oil. This council has sole responsibility for increasing and decreasing oil production within the Cabinet. As a union, we have the power and the muscle to make the government listen by halting work.
Q: Your region is occupied mainly by British forces. Have British forces intervened in favour of the private companies? And what actions are legitimate for trade unions in order to end the occupation?
A: (In fact the area of the SOC union is also occupied by US and Danish forces). There was a strike by Khurafi welders (traditionally highly paid) who had not got their wages. Neil, an American who is head of Khurafi, told them that if they did not go back to work US forces would be used to break the strike. During another Khurafi strike tanks came and put themselves between the company management and strikers. These incidents are not reported due to the Occupation's clamp-down. With regard to trade unions acting against the occupation, HJ says all forces that want and end to the occupation must unite. Trade unions are like any other who wants an end to the occupation -- by all available means. We back all Iraqis, because we want to be inside the arena of struggle, we do not want to be outside. We represent 50% of industrial workers; 23,000 in the Southern oil sector alone. Port workers, rail workers, engineers and health workers need to unite.
Q: Are there any Asian workers still in Iraq? And the oil exporting that is currently happening, how big a part does smuggling play in this?
A: The US forces and the terrorists work to keep foreigners out of Iraq to sabotage the economy. Therefore there are none in Iraq due to security. The oil that is smuggled --this is processed oil products; paraffin and petrol. The US cannot stop it because it has a clear outlet through the southern port.
Q: Who organises the smuggling?
A: There are more mafia in Iraq than in Italy! It is not a threat to the USA so they do not stop it. When suicide bombers tried to blow up the export area itself the US forces acted very fast to occupy it.
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