Leaders of Iraq’s labour movement have criticised government plans to “hand control” over the country’s oil production to multinational companies.

At a meeting in Amman, Jordan, late last week, leaders of Iraq’s five trade union federations called for a fundamental rethink of the forthcoming oil law, which is designed to allow foreign investment in the oil sector.

The law has been prepared by an Iraqi cabinet committee, and is expected to be presented to the Iraqi parliament for ratification in the coming weeks. The opposition by Iraq’s powerful trade unions – who represent thousands of people – will dismay the US government, which is keen to see the law in place by the end of the year.

Since the summer, US officials have been calling for an oil law to encourage foreign investment in Iraq’s oil – a call reiterated by the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group in its report last week.

The labour leaders criticised the major role for foreign companies in the draft law, which specifies that up to two thirds of Iraq’s known reserves would be developed by multinationals, under contracts lasting for 15 to 20 years.

In a joint statement, the trade unions rejected “the handing of control over oil to foreign companies, whose aim is to make big profits at the expense of the Iraqi people, and to rob the national wealth, according to long-term, unfair contracts, that undermine the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people”.

The statement added that this was a “red line” they would not allow to be crossed.

One Comment

  • when are the rich going to do something about this oil situation hear,talk and more talk thats all there is,ideas of not buying gass for one day going around,one day that will do nothing but raise prices the day after,i see the rich get richer and the poor loseing the jobs on top of paying more for there gass,why so ceo’s of gass companys can get more twords there retirement,when is enough?,when will the rich step up and take a pay cut?when wil they start bringing back these jobs that have been outsourced?when will people realize that this war is over oil and nothing else?i served in the military for 10 years,if i could give it back and never have served just to have a good job that will be there for me in my later years,just trying to work and retire with a decent life is not in the american dream anymore,it really is a shame that our lives are worth less than a barrel of oil….

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