1st May is an occasion for renewing the internationalist solidarity of the workers of the world, and continuing along the path of ending exploitation, discrimination, repression and oppression.
This year, International Workers’ Day comes at a time when the world is witnessing more conflicts and wars, and a grave threat to world peace. This is happening at a time when the world has not fully recovered or moved past the heavy legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has profoundly impacted workers, low-wage earners and people’s lives.
In Iraq too, 1st May is an occasion to recall the struggles and sacrifices of the working class for a free and prosperous life, and another step along the path leading to the establishment of a state based on social justice, equality, prosperity, institutions and law.
On this occasion, we salute all Iraqi workers and praise their decades-long struggles and sacrifices in order to assert their rights, starting with the strikes in ports, railways, oil and textiles, and ending with their contribution to the glorious October 2019 Uprising.
Throughout its history, the Iraqi Communist Party has been and continues to be the faithful defender of the interests and aspirations of the working class, highlighting its glorious role in the history of our country and in the people’s patriotic movement; their steadfastness, uprisings and revolutions. Workers made huge sacrifices in those struggles for the cause of freedom, independence and happiness of their people.
Today, 19 years after the collapse of the dictatorial regime and the occupation of Iraq, workers and toilers still bear the heavy burden caused by the policies of successive governments, mismanagement, corruption and the repercussions of the crises resulting from the sectarian power-sharing system and political sectarianism. These policies have deepened the manifestations of the all-encompassing structural crisis and failed to save Iraq from the present dire situation, improve the well-being of people and to preserve its independence and sovereignty.
What the Iraqi working class is going through today in terms of the onslaught on its rights and gains, and undermining its organizations and unions, clearly exposes the neo-liberal policies adopted by those in power, in order to satisfy international financial institutions and boost the wealth of those in power. It is in stark contrast to the state of the majority of Iraqis, most of whom are poor and marginalized, suffering hardship and the absence of basic services, insecurity, increasing unemployment, poverty and crime and the proliferation of drugs.
The conditions of the working class in general require the mobilisation of all efforts to serve the interests of workers, and to act in a concerted and unified manner for the following urgent tasks:
· Legislation of a new law on pensions and social security for workers, which includes the unemployed and those made redundant in accordance with international labour standards and secures a decent life for pensioners and the elderly.
· Legislation of the Law on Trade Union Freedoms, which guarantees the right of workers to organise themselves in unions and federations away from the interference and dominance of government authorities. It also guarantees their right to strike, demonstrate and organise sit-ins, and to stand up to any violations of their rights from any party.
The first required steps in this regard are the abolition of Decree No. 150 (1987) and Law No. 52 (1987) on trade union organisation.
· Striving to achieve the unity in action of the trade union movement of the Iraqi working class, and to consolidate democratic foundations in its structure, in order to express the professional, economic and social interests of workers, and defend their democratic and union rights and freedoms.
· Provide all requirements for the implementation of the Iraqi Labour Law No. 37 (2015) in all parts of the country.
- Raising the minimum wage for all workers and protecting their purchasing power in proportion to the ever-growing cost of living.
- Ensuring the rights of working women in the various sectors of production and striving to make them equal with men in employment opportunities and wages, to end the discrimination against them, and to end various forms of violence and harassment against them.
- Supporting the establishment and development of large, medium and small production and service projects, which invest more manpower and do not need a lot of capital or hard currency. Operating the stalled government-owned factories through serious support for the national industry and the protection of local products.
- Ending the scourge of child labour by providing appropriate conditions for children to return to school to complete their education.
Focusing on these priorities, and working and pressing to achieve them through the various and multifaceted struggles of the working class and its true representatives and other national and democratic forces, will contribute significantly to changing the workers’ conditions, improving their current difficult living and working conditions. It will increase their contribution to building the country, its independence and the prosperity of its people, moving together towards achieving the goals of our people and the toilers for a free and dignified life, and consolidating the values of social justice and true democracy.
Long live the First of May
Glory to the International Day of the Working Class
Long live the Iraqi working class. We salute the workers who sacrificed their lives and the martyrs of our people
Iraqi Communist Party
27 April 2022