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05 Jun 2006


ITF News Online: Win for port workers’ union rights as Iraqi government backs down

27 Apr 2006
Support ITF dockers' affiliate facing closure and intimidation

The Port Workers’ Union at Khour Al-Zubeir Port in Iraq, has had its offices and committees closed by the port authority, and its officers are facing intimidation.  The ITF has written to the Minister of Transport calling for an end to the unjust treatment of our affiliate.


Sample Letter to Iraqi Minister for Transport

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Below you will find text for a sample letter that can be sent (also available in Word format below). Your letter should be sent to the Iraqi Embassy in your country.

Please also send the Dockers’ Section a copy for our records.

Mr. Salam Al-Maleky
Iraqi Minister for Transport
c/o Embassy of Iraq

Dear Minister,

Closure of trade union in Khour Al-Zubeir Port and intimidation of union officers

The [name of union] is affiliated to the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), a Global Union Federation of 642 transport trade unions around the world who collectively represent 4.5 million workers in 142 countries.  

The [name of union] has learnt that a fellow ITF affiliate, the Port Workers’ Union at Khour Al-Zubeir Port, has had its offices and committees closed by the General Company of Iraqi Ports and that union officers and their families have been subject to serious intimidation and harassment.  The Port Workers Union is a member of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers, which is also affiliated to the ITF.

In addition, the [name of union] understands that an order has been issued for the arrest of these union officers under Convention No. 150 (1987), a law introduced by Saddam Hussein banning public sector workers from joining trade unions. It is deeply regrettable that while Iraq is seeking to rebuild itself and to rejoin the international community, the government has chosen to retain an unjust law denying fundamental human rights that was introduced by one of the world’s most notorious dictators.  The [name of union], is appalled to see this law being used to curtail the rights of workers in Khour Al-Zubeir Port.

The [name of union] strongly condemns this unacceptable behaviour and calls on you as the Minister responsible for the General Company of Iraqi Ports to act urgently to address this injustice.  

The Port Workers’ Union has the right under internationally agreed laws to carry out its work without interference or fear of intimidation by either the port authority or the government, and should therefore be allowed to reopen its offices and to re-convene its committees.  Its board members are also entitled to return to their jobs and homes, and to have their salaries paid in full.  All intimidation and harassment of union board members and their families must stop.

The [name of union] stands united with other ITF affiliated unions around the world and will not hesitate to use its influence both nationally and internationally in the joint effort to end this unacceptable treatment of the Port Workers’ Union at Khour Al-Zubeir Port.

We look forward to your response to this very serious matter.  

Yours sincerely,
[                               ]     
General Secretary

c.c.     Mr. David Cockroft, General Secretary, ITF
Embassy of Iraq, [name of country]

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Copyright © 2012 ITF
ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DR  |  +44 20 7403 2733   |  mail@itf.org.uk
Copyright © 2012 ITF
ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DR  |  +44 20 7403 2733   |  mail@itf.org.uk