In the first of May, on the sound of drums, the celebrations began in Basra on the occasion of International Labor Day at the Corniche of Basra. Representatives of the trade unions of the General Federation of Workers Union (Basra branch) and a number of women trade unionists and groups of youth and the leaders of the Union were at the forefront of attendance. The place of celebration was decorated with the logos and slogans of various unions.
Abu Watan, the Vice President of the Executive Bureau of GFWU opened the ceremony with a minute of silence for remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives in defense of labor movement and who have fallen in the fights against terrorism. Then he gave a speech about the reality of workers, noting that the successive governments are still working with the laws of the former regime which restricts the work of the trade union in the public sector. He also praised the protest movement of unions in different work sectors and demanded for the enactment of a modern and progressive Labor law, as well as the Trade Union Freedoms law and the law of Retirement and Social Security of Workers law.
Ali Abbas, the president of the Union branch in Basra then gave enthusiastic speech in which he pointed that the first of May belongs to all and they have to celebrate it, then Abu Kifah, the Union branch secretary gave his speech about May, he presented the history for workers’ strikes in the city of Chicago and how it seemed to celebrate the occasion.
Afterwards, Abu Watan presented a historical overview of the most important struggle stations of the labor movement strikes and demonstrations and sit-ins. Asaad Al-Mansour, the Vice President of the General Union for workers in oil and gas gave his speech as well, in which he started of congratulating the workers of the world and Iraq, he also discussed the protest movement in the oil and gas sectors and their significance in terms of synchronization and goals.
Mona Majid, presented the speech of women workers of the GFWU branch office in which she confirmed the importance of the participation of working women in the trade union actions and she criticized the violence against women in all its forms. And Wahab Aziz, the secretary of the General Union for workers in the Iraqi ports gave his speech in which he stressed the importance of the celebration of this event and considered it as a historical opportunity for the defense of workers’ rights, and then the colleague Ilham Aljasim gave the word of communications syndicate confirming the importance of the participation of women in these celebrations and she drew severe criticism for those who detract women’s role in unions work and she called for the passage of legislation that preserve the rights of workers.
The ceremony ended with union’s songs and the sound of drums: “long live 1st of May, long live workers day”. Then the second part of the celebration seemed to do a tour of the Shatt Al-Arab, where the boats were decorated with slogans of unions. The citizens on the Corniche waved for the celebrators with the victory sign.
General Federation of Workers Union in Iraq / Basra branch