At the end of the TUC Iraq solidarity conference on 14 February, a group of trade unionists got together to set up an unofficial grassroots Iraq Unions Solidarity network.
From the platform of the conference itself, TUC international officer Owen Tudor had welcomed the initiative. The TUC can do many things, he said, but not grassroots network-building.
The new network will work with and seek to complement the official TUC Iraq solidarity committee. It will not compete or seek to claim any official status.
What it will do, though, is provide a forum accessible to every active and interested trade unionist, way below the TUC General Council level, who wants to spread information and awareness about the new Iraqi labour movement and build solidarity with it.
We believe, in the words of the TUC 2004 congress resolution, that “it is now more vital than ever to support the new independent trade union movement as an essential force in the creation of a secular, democratic Iraq, free from fundamentalism and Saddam’s Ba’thism”.
In line with TUC policy, our solidarity is with all genuine trade union organisations in Iraq. It is working-class solidarity with unions as unions, against all their enemies — occupation forces, employers, government, terrorists — and not a political alignment with this or that one of the different political lines pursued by different unions in Iraq.
We will not subordinate working-class solidarity to a preconceived political line, whether that be support for the current dominating political processes in Iraq, or, at the other pole, support for the “resistance” militias.
The network is open to any trade unionist or labour movement activist who wants to work on that basis.
We will work to spread information; to help arrange speakers to union branches; to help arrange “twinning” between union organisations in Britain and in Iraq; and to help raise funds for the TUC Iraq appeal.
A first possible initiative discussed at our brief meeting on 14 February was to organise collection buckets for the TUC Iraq unions appeal on the Stop The War march on 19 March.
Our first meeting in London is set for Thursday 3 March, 7.30pm at the Calthorpe Arms, 252 Grays Inn Road (near Kings Cross).
Appeal for the Southern Oil Company Union
Help support SOCU by sending a cheque, payable to “Iraq Occupation Focus”‚ to PO Box 44680, London N16 7XX. Please ensure that you mark it for the SOCU appeal.
Week of action against corporate plunder of Iraq
1–7 April. Called by Stop the Plunder! firstname.lastname@example.org or 07749 421 576.
More at: www.iraqworkerssolidarity.org