EI is very concerned about the continuous governmental interference the Iraqi Teachers' Union (ITU) is experiencing. The ITU, an organisation currently applying for EI membership, continues to face extreme attacks from the Iraqi government which wants to control the union.
The Global Union Federation representing more than 30 millions educators and education workers worldwide has been recently informed that Ibrahim al-Battat, leader of the ITU has been arrested and an arrest warrant issued for Jasim Hussein Mohammed, the national leader of ITU.
Iraqi teacher unionist al-Battat was arrested and then released on 22 February after an eight-day detention period. He was involved in strike actions, and his home came under fire after he refused to hand over the union memberships lists. The first information received by EI was very alarming, referring as it did to al-Battat’s death.
In a protest letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister Jawad Al-Maliki dated 25 February, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said: “We are very concerned that trade unionists continue to be harassed in Iraq. The lack of respect for fundamental trade union rights and the interference in trade union affairs by political parties supported by the authorities is a threat to the entire development of the labour movement in Iraq.”
EI reasserts its support for autonomous and independent trade unions in Iraq and elsewhere, free of political and state interference. EI calls on the Iraqi authorities to stop this repression of the independence of the ITU and its leaders, and urges them to respect international labour norms.