The Kurdish Construction Workers' Organisation, active mainly in Iraqi Kurdistan, is appealing for support in its campaign to get recognition from the Kurdish Regional Government.
The Kurdistan Regional Government must formally recognise the Organization of Construction Workers in Kurdistan!
As a part of the working class, the construction workers of Kurdistan have never been provided the basic rights they deserve nor has any formal authority taken responsibility for the lives, health or future prospects of the workers.
Ruling parties in this region have established trade unions, however these unions serve only in the interest of the parties and workers are given no opportunity to participate in the formation, election or leading of these unions. Hence the unions are not the appropriate instruments, which are so desperately needed, to help the workers achieve their demands. Workers are left with no other option then to establish and lead their own organisations.
On July 29 2011, in a general meeting, the workers themselves established The Organisation of Construction Workers in Kurdistan. The workers voted, in a democratic election, on a leading body that would help steer the organisation towards their goals.
The organisation is independent of the authorities and similar forces, which are against the interests of workers. By using true representatives, amongst the workers themselves, the organisation aims to achieve the demands and goals of the workers. Currently the organisation has above thousand members from the city of Sulaimania; its surrounding districts and the city of Erbil. Group numbers are developing at a rapid rate.
Approximately one month after its formation, the OCW approached the relevant authorities in order to be formally recognised. They are yet to receive a response; this is most likely due to the laws, which are currently in place in Kurdistan. By law under, any democratic system workers have the right of passage to form their own organisation and gain formal recognition. However, Kurdish authorities have put in place a law, which gives them the power to not only, decide whether an organisation is formally recognised, or not but also to dissolve the group any time they wish to do so.
This issue does not only concern workers, according to law number 18 of 1993 any organization established must apply for a special permit and go through a long tedious red tape process in order to win the approval of the interior ministry. According to this same law, the interior minister has the right to dissolve any organization for number of reasons. So far the result is that no union or organization independent of the ruling parties has been formed. In reality this is a violation of freedom and the right to form an organization, which is a basic human right and constitutional right of any citizen in Kurdistan.
Workers and Freedom loving people:
Denying workers the right to organize does not only prevent workers’ organization but it is also an attempt by the ruling parties in Kurdistan region to block any effort by all citizens to form civil organizations. Enforcements the above mentioned laws undermine the growth of the civil struggle of various sections of the society in Kurdistan.
In Kurdistan a trade union or organisation can only be granted a permit if one of the ruling parties supports it, thus if it serves the authorities and gives up its tasks and goals as a civil organisation.
This situation needs to change; the establishment of organisations must be free in Kurdistan. Democracy and freedom without presence of the freedom to organisation for workers and the freedom to form trade unions and professional organizations is meaningless.
1. The Organization of the Construction Workers in Kurdistan as an independent labor organization must be formally recognized by the government.
2. The law which governs the formation of organisations should be generalized in a way so all sections of society are free to form their own organisations and instead of obtaining a permit from the authorities they should be required only to register their organizations.
We call on all of you, regardless of where in the world you reside, to support these demands and join the campaign that has begun in Kurdistan to realise these demands and gain the support of labour and other progressive organizations.
Organization of Construction Workers in Kurdistan
15th March 2012
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To join the campaign, please sign the following sheet:
Campaign in defence of freedom of organization in Kurdistan Region- Iraq
The right to organize and gather is a basic human right and is vital for any civil struggle and action to flourish in society.
Without the right of establishing independent trade unions and organizations democracy and freedom will not exist.
Therefore, we the undersigned demand that:
1. The Organization of the Construction Workers in Kurdistan as an independent labour organization must be formally recognised by the government.
2. The law which governs the formation of organisations should be generalised in a way so all sections of society are free to form their own organisations and instead of obtaining a permit from the authorities they should be required only to register their organizations.