Workers union urges better protection of oil installations, personnel

by Ibrahim Sharif

The Iraqi Federation of Workers Trade Unions (IFTU) has urged the authorities to upgrade security measures at the country’s oil installations to protect personnel.

Oil workers and installations are target of repeated attacks by saboteurs and rebels opposing U.S. occupation.

The IFTU organized a special meeting to discussion the oil industry and conditions of oil workers amid an upsurge in violence in both Kirkuk in the south and Basra in the north – the country’s major oil producing centers.

Oil refining operations at Baiji, a stronghold of anti-U.S. resistance, have been targets of repeated attacks which have reduced output to less than the half.

The union criticized current security measures which it described as “inadequate”.

It said the newly formed battalions charged with protecting oil installations were driven “more by their sectarian and ethnic grounds” rather than concern over the country’s sole hard cash earner.

“The oil sector must be place in honest hands whose aim is the service of the Iraqi people who are not affected by their party affiliation or ethnic and sectarian backgrounds,” the union said in a statement.

The IFTU said it opposed all schemes “to privatize the oil sector because the country’s oil reserves are a property of the Iraqi people only.”