Chanting “People’s oil is not for the people but for thieves” hundreds of workers protested against the South Oil Company in Iraq on 19 February 2013, and called for housing, permanent work and payment of delayed benefits.
The protest was organized by the Committee for the Defense of Oil Workers, including IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU), and follows an earlier similar action on 13 February 2013.
The workers, who work in the fields of al-Ramlia north and south, al-Berjesia, Gharb al-Karna, and Bab al-Zubair, gathered in front of the main door of the South Oil Company in Basra calling for the expulsion of corrupt employees and the dismissal of the company director.
The workers demanded a meeting with the company director to negotiate on the payment of withheld benefits dating back to 2010, 2011 and 2012, the right to housing, permanent job contracts and an end to corruption in the company.
The South Oil Company (SOC), which produces more than 80 per cent of Iraqi oil, is a national company responsible for the oil in the south of Iraq.
As the company director has so far refused to meet with the protestors, they are now requesting a meeting with the management and the government in the coming days to bargain on the issues. The protestors have also addressed the Iraqi Prime Minister on their demands.
Some of the workers were subject to threats from company security during the actions.