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The bus station raid followed the detention of two other trade union leaders on November 23 -- Qasim Hadi, general secretary of the Union of the Unemployed, and Adil Salih, another leader of the organization. Hadi had been arrested twice before by occupation troops, for leading demonstrations of unemployed workers demanding unemployment benefits and jobs. In the November raid, CPA troops said they found two guns in the union's office, which was only permitted to have one. Hadi explained at the time that the organization has been the subject of threats and fatwahs by Iraqi religious parties, and needed weapons for self-defense.
Hadi and Salih were released after being detained for a day.
The IFTU, as one of the most important organizations of civil society, that includes within its ranks sons of the working class, the builders of the new Iraq, the democratic future Iraq, strongly condemns this unjustified terrorizing act by the occupation forces which targeted trade unionist cadres and leaders who are well-known for their struggle against the hated dictatorship.
While calling for the release of our detained colleagues as soon as possible, and condemn any attempt to launch a new attack on trade union centres, or further arrests of trade union leaders, we stress that the Iraqi working class will not forgive this attack which constitutes a blatant violation of democracy and human rights.
We, therefore, call upon all the forces of goodwill of our people, as well Arab and international trade union organizations, to take a firm stand against this act, and to call for the immediate release of detainees, and compensation for the damages inflicted upon our colleagues and IFTU headquarters as a result of this aggression.
Iraqi workers fear privatization will bring massive layoffs. "I'll have to fire 1,500 (of the refinery's 3,000) workers," says Dathar Al-Kashab, manager of the Al Daura oil refinery. "In America, when a company lays people off, there's unemployment insurance and they won't die from hunger. If I dismiss employees now, I'm killing them and their families."
It is not the first time that the US administration in Iraq arrests trade
union leaders and activists of the working class movement. Through out
July and August this year, and during a 45-day-Sit-in protest in Baghdad
organized by the UUI, the US forces arrested Qasim Hadi with 54 of the
union members. This action is against all values and principles of human
rights, and a clear violation of the rights of association, organization,
and of political freedoms. Here, the question arises: whose interests
does the US administration serve by the arrest of workers activists? Is
it for the interest of Political Islamists who, in several occasions,
threatened the UUI for defending workers rights, and attacked its
peaceful demonstration in the city of Nasriyah?