The General Union for Workers in the Oil and Gas (GFWIU), subsidiary of the General Federation of Workers Unions in Iraq, has condemned of the dismissal of a large  number of Iraqi workers in Russia’s oil company LUKoil, which is developing the West Qurna oil fields in Basra governorate. This condemnation was issued in a statement by the GFWUI on Tuesday, February 28 2017.

The trade union demanded the Provincial Council of the governorate of Basra to pressure the Russian company to reinstate the laid-off workers back to their jobs immediately. If not, the union will file a lawsuit against LUKoil. GFWUI considered the Iraqi employees’ dismissal a breach of contract terms, while LUKoil argued it needs to cut down on operating costs. Considered to be a poor excuse, the trade union rejected the oil company’s argument since salaries of foreign workers in LUKoil number up to thousand of dollars, in sharp contrast with local workers. Iraqi employees work 12 hours a day for a small salary compared to those of foreign workers.

Following the statement, dismissed workers demonstrated in front of the Provincial Council of Basra, demanding to have their jobs reinstated and rejecting the dismissal of local Iraqi labor.