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Employees of Foreign Oil Companies in Basrah Accuse Owners of Exclusive Decision-Making Procedures which Undermine Obligations towards Workers

Al-Mada Press – Basrah

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On Tuesday, workers and trade unionists in Basra accused foreign oil companies operating in the governorate (590 km south of Baghdad), of “exclusivity” in making financial and technical decisions, many of  which serve to negate their duties to support the rights of Iraqi workers.  This led to a demand on the part of workers to receive their salaries and other “rights”, including the coverage of transportation fees which was guaranteed in their contracts.

Karim Al-Sharifi, a demonstrator said in an interview to Al-Mada Press “Eni, the Italian oil company working in Al-Brjsya oil field, west of Basra, canceled its contract with dozens of drivers under the pretext of reducing the number of its employees.  Now there are six to seven workers in a single car instead of four as it was before.” He urged for “the need to reconsider the decision”.

Voicing similar concerns, Abdul Karim Abdul Sada, a trade union activist in the Southern Oil Company, said “The workers in foreign companies, especially in the British company, BP, working in the southern Rumaila field, demonstrated to demand the payment of their salaries, and the protection of other rights relating to work in the production plants”.

Abdul added that “Owners of foreign oil companies began to make decisions unilaterally, without informing workers, and these decisions at times violated their contractual agreements in regards to salaries and other benefits.” He added that some “companies reneged on their commitments to the rights of Iraqi workers in the Rumaila oil field, despite the fact that those rights are included in their contracts”.

The Rumaila field is considered the largest oil field in Iraq, and many foreign oil companies operate in it, most notably the BP Oil Company and PetroChina Company.