The pro-US Iraqi government has outlawed the country’s oil workers’ union under a law passed during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The order comes as opposition is mounting to a proposed oil law that would hand over the country’s natural resource to foreign companies.
The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) has spearheaded opposition to the proposed law.
Earlier this year the government issued arrest warrants against Hassan Jumaa and other leaders of the IFOU after they organised successful strikes in the south of the country.
The latest attacks come after the government froze the assets and bank accounts of the oil union.
According to a statement from the Nafatna campaign (Arabic for “our oil”) the ban is “a pre-emptive measure to weaken the union’s successful campaign against the proposed oil law, which was instigated and is being imposed on Iraq by the occupation government”.
The ministry of oil issued a directive on 18 July declaring that the union “no longer has legal status” under decree 150 – issued at the height of the Iraq-Iran war in 1987.
“Popular opposition is such that the government has failed to meet several deadlines laid down for it by the George Bush administration and US Congress to enact the law,” the Nafatna statement said.