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IFTU Participates In TUC Solidarity Conference

Iraqi Federation Of Trade Unions (IFTU) Participates In TUC Solidarity Conference, 14 February 2005 London

About 100 trade unionists from Britain and Iraq attended a one-day conference on Monday 14 February organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) at its Congress House headquarters in London to discuss methods of building practical solidarity with Iraq’s growing trade union movement.

The conference’s opening plenary session was addressed by a range of leading international and British speakers, including Mr Walid Hamdan head of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Regional Office for Arab States, and Amaya Fernandez representative of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Mr Harry Barnes MP and Mr Ghasib Hassan representing the Executive Committee of the IFTU.

Conference was chaired by TUC General Council member and NASUWT Honorary Treasurer, Sue Rogers who grew up in Kirkuk. UNISON Deputy General Secretary Keith Sonnet and Owen Tudor head of the TUC European and International Relations also addressed the conference.

After the plenary session conference was split into three workshops in which Iraqi trade unionists were able to have direct discussions with their British colleagues.

In addition to representatives of Iraqi union federations attending the conference (included the IFTU), the Kurdistan Workers Syndicate, the Iraqi Teachers Union, and the Iraqi Journalists' Union also sent representatives. There were also representatives from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), the International Chemical, Energy & Mining Federation (ICEM) and the American Solidarity Center.

Among the Iraqi federations attending the TUC-hosted conference surprisingly was a representative of the General Federation of Iraqi Trade Unions (GFTU), the national trade union centre controlled by the former Saddamist dictatorship.

Many British unions sent delegates, including the CWU, PCS, Unison, GMB, Connect, NASUWT, NATFHE, T&GWU, FBU, Amicus, Prospect, NUJ, TSSA, NUT, RMT, and Community. In a least two cases, these unions were represented by their general secretaries (NATFHE and RMT).

The IFTU also held separate meetings with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) at their respective headquarters.

The IFTU also addressed the West Midlands Regional Council of manufacturing union AMICUS at the union’s Birmingham Regional Office. A meeting with Harry Barnes Labour MP was held at the House of Commons.


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