mercredi 6 juin 2007

Oil Workers go on Strike in South

Two Pipelines Shut Down Monday, More to Go If Demands Not Met

The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions began the second day of a strike in southern Iraq to protest labour conditions, wages, and the prospect of the hydrocarbon law currently under discussion in Parliament.
On Monday, the IFOU, which represents 26,000 oil workers in the south, announced it was shutting down two 14-inch oil and gas pipelines, and threatened to begin shutting down the 48-inch pipelines as a second phase of the protest if the government refuses to meet their demands.

According to a statement of support from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and General Workers Unions, the immediate the catalyst for the strike occurred when the general manager of the Oil Pipeline Company, Adel Aziz, who is based in Baghdad rather than in Basra, blocked orders of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Mailiki to release delayed benefits due workers. Moreover, Aziz reportedly withheld a Iraqi Dinar (IQD)50,000 allowance which the workers are regularly entitled to.

The striking workers are demanding that the Oil Ministry take action to force the general manager of the pipeline company to resign. Further, they ask that the company be financially and administratively independent from the Baghdad-based central ministry, and that the pipeline company be managed locally.

Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said the strike will not have any effect on crude oil exports from the south, but the IFOU indicates that the longer the strike continues, the greater the intended disruption.

Hassan Jomaa, head of General Union of Oil Employees in Basra, said if the government refuses to negotiate with workers, then they will work on spreading the strike to all oil facilities in Basra, including exports and production.

But Jihad said it was not possible for the Oil Pipeline Company workers to stop exports because they have no influence in the Southern Oil Company, which is in charge of exports.

The IFOU had announced in early May that it would strike because the government refused to meet its demands, including participation in design of the hydrocarbon law and improved working and living conditions.

Hassan Jumaa Awad, president of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, told the unions don't have a good relationship with Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani but they delayed the strike to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who pledged to look into their complaints.


The full text of the Iraqi oil law in pdf form is availabe at

ARTICLE 9 of this law
the ministers council creates an entity to be named “the Federal Oil and Gas Council”. The Prime Minister or his/her representative shall be the president of this council, and the council should include:
1- Federal Government’s Ministers from the ministries of oil, treasury, planning, andcooperative development.

2- The director of the Iraqi central bank
3- A regional government minister representing each region.
4- A representative from each producing province not included in a region
5- Executive managers from important related petroleum companies including the national Iraqi oil company and the oil marketing company...

So, it looks like executive managers from Exxon, Shell, BP, Halliburton and Chevron will have seats on the Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council.

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