Agreement on the Unity of the Iraqi Trade Union Movement

by 

1. Rejection of the occupation in all its forms and with all its consequences.

2. Commitment to the independence of Iraq, to the unity of its territory and people, and to its place within the Arab world.

3. Autonomy, unity and democracy of the union movement.

4. Restructuring of the union movement based on healthy foundations free of racial, party political or religious influences.

5. Defence of the rights and interests of workers.

6. The holding of free and democratic general union elections once the circumstances allow it.

§ Considering all the contacts and meetings held by the General Secretary of the ICATU with various sections of the trade union movement in Iraq, and the initiatives and efforts made by international organisations.

§ Recalling the conclusions of the meeting in Damascus on 19/2/2004 chaired by Brother Hacene Djemam, General Secretary of the ICATU, which brought together two delegations of workers from Iraq, one of which was led by Djamil Al Jabbouri and the other by Rassem Al Aouadi, which noted the urgent need to rebuild the Iraqi trade union movement, and to organise democratic union elections overseen by the ICATU and relevant international organisations to ensure that all can participate in them.

§ Recalling the contacts and consultations by the General Secretariat with the President of the Central Council of the ICATU, the presidents and general secretaries of the affiliated organisations of the ICATU and international and national sister organisations, and in particular LO Norway in view of its support for this initiative by the Iraqi trade union federations to integrate and unite the trade union movement so as to work better towards achieving the shared goals of the movement and contributing to the rebuilding of Iraq.

§ Based on the conclusions of various meetings that led to the establishment of a joint coordination committee for the 3 existing federations and the agreement on certain issues, with support from the ICATU General Secretary.

§ Based on the goals of the ICATU Constitution:

§ Representatives of the following 3 trade union federations were invited to a meeting in Damascus on 19/9/2005 : the General Workers Federation of Iraq (Fédération générale des travailleurs d'Irak, FGTI) represented by Djabbar Al Tareche Fares and members of the coordination committee; the General Workers Federation of the Republic of Iraq represented by Khalil Ibrahim Mechhadani and members of the coordination committee; and the General Federation of Workers Unions in Iraq, represented by Rassem Hussein al Aouadi and members of the coordination committee. At that meeting the ILO was represented by Walid Hamdan of the Beirut Office. Following discussions on the circumstances and situation resulting from the occupation, the disastrous repression of working people and the prevailing insecurity, the participants reached agreement on:

1. The creation of a steering committee of the Fédération Générale des Travailleurs d'Irak composed of brothers:

1- Rassem Hussein al Aouadi President

2- Djabbar Tareche Fares Vice President

3- Khalil Ibrahim Mechhadani Vice President

and the following members:

Hadi Ali Lafteh

Mahdi Hassib Ali

Ismail Khalil Ali

Ali Rahim Ali

Mouhssen Ali Afrit

Mahal Al Douleimi

Abed Mohammed Sakhi

Salman Magmoud Hammadi

Majid Saheb Karim

Khaled Hussein Katae

Karim Abed dallah Hamzeh

Jasseb Ouda Hassen

The task of this steering committee will be:

A. To unify the administrative bodies of the general and regional trade unions within a period of three months.

B. To conduct a survey aimed at identifying existing trade unions and integrating them.

C. To represent the FGTI in inspection committees and other such bodies and to negotiate with the government or any other authority.

D. To act as the legal representative of the Iraqi Federation in Arab organisations such as the ICATU, and in relations with industry federations, the ALO (Arab Labour Organization) and the ILO.

2. This steering committee of the FGTI will be in charge of conducting trade union activities until circumstances allow the holding of general union elections.

3. The ICATU General Secretary will present this body to the ICATU General Council with a view to the FGTI being reintegrated in the ICATU in accordance with the latter's constitution.

4. The representatives reaffirm the autonomy and independence of the trade union movement and its united determination to refuse any domination by political parties or governments, and any form of external interference, so as to serve workers better and strengthen the organisation's role in society.

5. Under the supervision of the ICATU and with help from the ILO, the steering committee will draw up a draft constitution for the Federation, which must be in line with Arab and international labour standards; this will come into force on a provisional basis, on its adoption by the committee, subject to formal approval by the general congress of the Federation.

6. The assets of the three united federations will become the assets of the FGTI, including the bank accounts, fixed and movable property, vehicles, printing equipment, etc., and will be managed by the FGTI.

7. The signatories to this agreement strongly reject Ministerial Order no 8750 of 8 August 2005, which provides for interference in the internal affairs of the union movement and the confiscation of trade union assets and constitutes a threat to the very survival of the trade unions.

8. The signatories to this agreement call on the ILO, the ALO and all national trade union organisations, from the Arab world and the region, to provide material and moral solidarity to the Iraqi trade union movement.

9. All Iraqi trade union organisations are welcome to join this initiative.

10. In the event of disputes as to the interpretation of this agreement, recourse should be made to the ICATU for such interpretation.

11. An update on what has been achieved should be made in two months' time.

This agreement is signed by:

General Workers Federation of Iraq (FGTI)

General Workers Federation of the Republic of Iraq

General Federation of Workers Unions in Iraq

Djabbar Tareche Fares

Khalil Ibrahim Mechhadani

Rassem Hussein al Aouadi

Ismail Khalil Ali

Mahdi Hassib Ali

Hadi Ali Lafteh

Ali Rahim Ali

Mouhssen Ali Afrit

Mahal Al Douleimi

Majid Saheb Karim

Salman Magmoud Hammadi

Abed Mohammed Sakhi

Khaled Hussein Katae

Karim Abed dallah Hamzeh

Djasseb Odeh Hassen

Read and approved by the General Secretariat of the ICATU

General Secretary

Hacene Djemam

Briefing document (1,200 words) issued 30 Oct 2005