Iraqi struggles continue
Latest news - December 2012
KTU President addresses NASUWT's National Executive
Kamal Ahmed, President of the Kurdistan Teachers' Union (KTU) spoke of the "historic" visit he made to meet with the senior leadership of the NASUWT at its headquarters in Birmingham.
Mr Ahmed said he was honoured to be able to meet NASUWT President Paula Roe (pictured) and address the Union's National Executive meeting. He also met with NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates and Deputy General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach, before briefing senior officials.
He spoke frankly about the successes and the challenges the KTU faces in terms of organising and representing members, as well as the important policy changes the KTU has pushed through. Most notably a deal on housing has seen 3,000 new affordable homes being built for educators and the union has managed to secure a year's paid maternity leave for teachers, up from six months.
Speaking to the National Executive Mr Ahmed said: "It is a privilege and an honour to be here with you. This is a historic moment for me as I meet with such an important union as the NASUWT.
"Every union member across Iraq knows the NASUWT and its work, I bring fraternal greetings from across all sectors of education.
"We face huge challenges despite some of the successes we have achieved for our members. The NASUWT has played a significant role since the fall of Saddam Hussein in terms of supporting my union and helping them organise. Your support is vital and even more important now than ever."
Ms Roe told him: "It has been really good to have you here with us and the Union will do all that it can to support you and the vital work you and the KTU continue to do in Iraq and Kurdistan."
- Terrorists bombed girls’ school in Hillah. 83 pupils and 4 teachers were severely injured
- The Independent GFIW called on the government to withdraw its decision and reinstate the ration card and improve its contents
- Iraqi government abolishes ration card. 5 million Iraqis are living below poverty line. 30% unemployment, majority are young people
- Iraqi Teachers Union (ITU) in Basra: Hundreds of teachers marched in Basra demanding better pay and working conditions.
NASUWT condemns 'cowardly attack' on Iraqi trade unionists
The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has been deeply disturbed to hear of a savage attack on trade union activists in Baghdad as part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation against the country’s trade unions.
Armed men stormed the offices of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW) in the capital, assaulting activists and members of the leadership of the union.
They also smashed offices and equipment of the unions that represent construction workers, mechanics and printers, before forcibly removing activists and staff from the building, who faced a barrage of abuse and physical threats.
NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said:
“The NASUWT deplores this cowardly attack which is an attack on the rights of trade unions to organise freely and stand up for the rights of ordinary working people.
“I call on the authorities to use all legal means to bring those responsible to justice.
“We will be making strong representations to the Government on this matter. It is important for the international community to show solidarity and to continue to intensify the campaign for democracy and free speech in Iraq.”
Iraqi colleagues bring solidarity message to Annual Conference
Colleagues from the Iraq Teachers Union (ITU) have brought an appeal for continued solidarity and support to the NASUWT's Annual Conference 2012.
Mohsin Ali Nsaif, ITU President, was joined on stage in Birmingham by Ahmed Jassam and Abdullah Muhsin. Mr Nsaif has survived three assassination attempts by Government forces opposed to his trade union activities.
Mr Nsaif said: “A government democratically elected by the people is standing against the ITU but we want a true democracy. The government wants to control the ITU as it was under Saddam Hussein.
"We are standing here because we were elected. The government will not recognise this. The Iraqi government has frozen the central assets of the Iraqi teachers union and the council of ministers sacked me as the president as if I was an employee of the state.”
NASUWT continues to work closely with the ITU, particularly Mr Nsaif who expressed gratitude to the Union for its support. The NASUWT supports a training project for Iraqi teachers which has so far supported nearly 300 people to become active within their union.
Kurdistan Teachers Union
The Kurdistan Teachers Union KTU supports the rights
of all religious and ethnic communities in the region of
The KTU opened its 12th National Conference in Erbil. 579 delegates representing 12 regional KTU branches sung the national anthem before the national president of the KTU officially opened the conference welcoming delegates, government officials and representatives of political parties and guests. In his last speech to conference as KTU president before retiring, Mohammed Juja said that the union has achieved great success since 1991, both in strengthening the internal democracy of the union, and in fighting for the rights of teachers to a fair wage and better living conditions and in helping to guard the democratic gains the people of Kurdistan have achieved.
The KTU president then invited the Prime Minister of the Region of Kurdistan/Iraq to address Conference, the ministers of education and the ninister of higher Education and the International Representative of the GFIW and President of the ITU addressed conference. All brought messages of solidarity, wishing the conference success. At the end of the opening of the KTU National conference ceremony, the KTU retiring president was award a medal of honour for services he gave to the union and the people of the region of Kurdistan.
579 delegates representing 12 KTU branches across the region of Kurdistan/Iraq gathered in Media Hall to debate the struggle of the KTU since its 2007 unity conference. Conference debated as well the consolidation of the KTU internal democracy, its global trade unions relationships with sisters’ teachers’ organizations and in particular Education International and British teaching unions, like NASUWT. Delegates debated how best to strengthen the democratic gain the region secured since 1991.
Conference split into 6 committees. Each committee was tasked with one topic to debate and report to conference its finding and recommendations conference committees are (the legal, the education committee and internal rule committees recommendations and social security and the financial and administrative committees.
Conference agreed that the KTU shall consist of 12 branches.
Conference shall be held once in every 4 years.
Membership of the KTU shall be voluntary.
Conference agreed to increase membership fees from 750 Iraqi Dinar (ID) to 3000 ID
Conference elected a new leadership body consists of 15 members, with president. The new President of the KTU is Kamal Hamed. He was the former president of Erbil Branch of the KTU.
The leadership elected a joint presidency of two for four years. The joint presidency consists of the president and first vice president. Each leader shall hold office for two years.
On 6 October a general report on the work of the six committees was presented to conference and then a debate took place. The report is said to be weak for it did not take into account the views and concerns of all 12 KTIU branches.