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August 2006   

Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: 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

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

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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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