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August 2005   

Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them


The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.


Iemma’s Dilemmas
The past fortnight has seen the sort of upheaval in NSW that reminds us all that politics is a very tenuous game with few certainties and even fewer rules.


 Carmen's Boss No Fun Guy

 Discriminating Centrelink on Charges

 Uproar Over Holiday Plans

 Do The Bus Stop

 Taxpayers to Fund Advertising Orgy

 Get Up Stands Up

 Andrews Provokes Showdown

 Thousands in Super Rort

 Constituents Don’t Trust Andrews

 Skill Shortage Fabricated

 Yanks Short Change Tradesmen

 Howard Steamroller Hits Building Sites

 CFMEU Bans Ferguson

 Activists Whats On!

 Back To The Past
 AFL-CIO Not The Only War
 Be Afraid
 Frame Up
 We Love Morris
 ANew Development
 A Readers Suggestion
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Workers Blood For Oil

A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

'Hadi Never Died: Hadi Saleh and the Iraqi Trade Unions', commemorates the International Secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (now the Iraqi Workers Federation - IWF) who last January was tortured and murdered in his home by assassins loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Hadi Saleh had returned to Iraq from exile to begin rebuilding the trade union movement after the fall of Saddam, who had violently suppressed independent trade unions for over forty years.

Hadi's murder sparked a wave of assassinations of trade union leaders and members by terrorists who also target workers in key sectors, such as teachers, to prevent the social justice and stability unions are striving for.

It also sparked this book, which commemorates the work of hhadi and other trade unionists in the ongoing bloodbath that is 'postwar' Iraq.

Profits from the book will support Iraqi unions that are also facing attacks from the Iraqi Government, which has refused to lift Saddam's ban on unions in the public sector and adopt international labour rights protections. The Iraqi Government also introduced powers to take control of unions and freeze their assets.

Speaking at the launch of the book at the UK Parliament, co-author Abdullah Muhsin of the Iraqi Workers Federation said: "Iraq's economy was pulverized by Saddam's wars, bled by sanctions and further devastated by the invasion, looting and rampant corruption. Iraq's economy needs emergency investment and widespread reconstruction. Free and independent unions will play an important role in making sure investment in Iraq provides quality jobs and decent public services.

"But unions are also important in forming Iraq's democratic future and national identity. Our independence makes us a home to all Iraqis irrespective of gender, ethnicity and religion. Unions are an antidote to the sectarian poisons of extremism in Iraq."

"Hadi Saleh faced exile, persecution and death for bravely fighting to give people the choice to have a collective voice at work," said Britain's TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, who wrote the book's foreword. "I saw Hadi barely a month before he was murdered and his murder was a terrible shock.

"Trade unions members are being murdered in Iraq at an alarming rate by people who do not want to see a free, peaceful, fair and prosperous Iraq. And unions are being attacked by a Government that feels threatened by their independence from religion and ethnic groupings. The TUC will continue to support our sister unions in Iraq and put pressure on the UK Government to use their power to give Iraqi workers the free and independent unions they have been denied for so long.'

Ali Hassan Abd of the Oil and Gas Workers' Union was shot in front of his children in February 2005. Ahmed Adris Abas of the Transport and Communication Workers' Union was shot dead in Martyrs' Square in Baghdad. Talib Khadim, a leading IWF official was attacked and kidnapped, as was Saady Edan, the head of our Mosul branch. In May, Thabet Ali of the Health Sector Union was murdered in Baghdad. Last month alone, Shukry Al Shakhly, a founder member of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, was murdered in Baghdad, 85 workers were kidnapped from the Al Nasar complex and in Taji seven workers were executed. At least ten members of the Union of Mechanics, Printing and Metalworkers were killed. A few weeks ago a suicide bomber killed Hassen Nassar, a leader of the Agricultural and Foodstuff Workers' Union in Baghdad.

'Hadi Never Died: Hadi Saleh and the Iraqi Trade Unions', by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson, Labour Friends of Iraq and editor of is available from Profits will go to the TUC Aid for Iraq Appeal.

- The TUC Aid for Iraq Appeal has so far raised £50,000 which has been spent on training Iraqi trade unionists to deal with issues like collective bargaining, union organisation and privatisation, including visits to the UK to meet with British trade unionists, and developing contacts with other trade union movements around the world. Union members are currently donating used mobile phones for use by the Iraqi trade union movement.


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