The General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW) – Greets Iraqi working class on May 1 Day

The working class in various parts of the world, along with our Iraqi working class, is celebrating the 1st of May, International Workers’ Day, as a day of solidarity and a symbol of struggle against exploitation and social and class oppression, and for their legitimate objectives, for democracy, human rights and social justice.

The Iraqi working class has grown and become an important patriotic force, and has been enriched with experiences based on more than eight decades of national and class struggle against colonialism and authoritarian rulers, and against exploitation and social injustice. It demonstrated its strength soon after its emergence, as manifested by strikes of workers in electricity, railways, ports, oil, textiles, cigarettes, industrial enterprises, etc. The struggle of the Iraqi working class made an effective contribution to the success of the 14th July 1958 Revolution. The working class also defended its trade unions, their freedom to organize, consolidating trade union democracy and progressive legislations. It confronted the concepts of hegemony and coercive methods, as well as attempts to transform trade unions and labor organizations into a tool in the hands of the ruling authorities.

The struggle of the working class at present has acquired a national and class importance despite the harsh conditions, the widespread unemployment in their ranks, the stagnation of the economic cycle and production, the attempts to impose privatization on our national productive institutions, and the failure to provide public services. Tens of thousands of workers are employed with contracts that do not provide any guarantees for their lives and future. A new Labor Law has not been enacted. The right to trade union organization in the public sector has been prevented by insisting on keeping the unjust decree No. 150 (1987) and the law of trade union organization No. 52 (1987). There has been blatant interference in the affairs of our trade union organization by conducting sham elections and trying to impose hegemony and domination over it through the decisions of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the ministerial committee overseeing the implementation of the Governing Council decree No. 3 (2004), and by not acknowledging the legitimate right of workers to establish their own independent, free and democratic organization.

The Iraqi working is aware through its rich experience that building a democratic and prosperous Iraq can only be achieved by the concerted efforts of workers and toilers of our people in consolidating the foundations of democracy, by building an independent democratic trade union movement that expresses the professional, economic and social interests of workers, and defends their democratic and trade union rights and freedoms. This movement would build trade union organization in the public sector, protect the national industry in the public, private, mixed and cooperative sectors, and reject the privatization of the public sector and public services. It calls for direct national exploitation of our oil wealth, for defending the rights and gains of working women in equality in all fields of work: political, social, economic and trade unionist. This independent democratic trade union movement will demand a radical solution to the problem of unemployment without further delay, and call for a speedy enactment of both the Labour Law and the Social Security Law in accordance with international labour standards. It will combat financial and administrative corruption, and demand the inclusion of the unemployed under the social security network, granting retired workers their rights, to ensure their future, and to end child labour and provide them with social protection. The movement will also tackle other economic, social and security issues which workers and the Iraqi people as a whole are suffering.

The General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW), while greeting the Iraqi working class and the toilers of our people on this historic occasion, calls upon them, of all political, ethnic and religious affiliations, to unite their energies and efforts to build a democratic Iraq free of violence and oppression, and to consolidate the values of tolerance, dialogue and democracy. They are called upon to intensify their struggle for the freedom of association and trade union work, especially in the public sector, and to abolish the unjust decisions and decrees that are hostile to workers. Tutelage from any quarter, whether domestic or foreign, is rejected. Our working class must be able to participate in formulating the social, political and economic policies, to play an active role in the development of our country, and to struggle to resolve the problem of unemployment as soon as possible, to improve the working conditions and accelerate the economic cycle. In addition, acts of terror that are targeting our people must be condemned.

On May Day, we declare our full solidarity with the workers and people of Palestine in their just struggle to achieve their legitimate demands to establish their own independent national state. We condemn the continuation of the Zionist aggression on the Palestinian people and the continued Israeli occupation of Arab territories in Syria and Lebanon, and we call for putting an end to it on the basis of international legitimacy. On this occasion which is dear to our hearts, we extend our warmest congratulations to all the Arab and international working class, and salute the struggle of workers and their growing trade union movement in various parts of the world, to expand public and trade union freedoms, achieve social justice and strengthen international solidarity.

The Iraqi working class, with its glorious record of struggle, will remain at the forefront of the forces of our people struggling for a bright future. May Day is seen as an incentive for further work and struggle to achieve their legitimate objectives in a free and dignified life.

Glory to the 1st of May, the International Day of Solidarity for workers

Long live the Iraqi working class

Glory to the martyrs of the Iraqi working class and people

Executive Office -The General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW) – 25 April 2013