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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

IUF Solidarity with Iraqi Workers Following Murder of Union Leader

Posted to the IUF website 07-Jan-2005

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Iraqi trade union leader Hadi Salih, international secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), was murdered at his Baghdad home on January 4 by assailants who tortured him before strangling him to death. Salih, a former print worker, had been arrested for trade union activity in 1969 and sentenced to death. He served five years in prison. When his sentence was commuted he fled to exile in Sweden, from where he returned to Iraq in 2003. Salih is not the only trade unionist to have been killed recently in Iraq. Transport workers and members of the teachers' union have been kidnapped and murdered, and the Baghdad office of the Transport and Communication Workers' Union was the target of a mortar attack on November 26.

Upon learning of Salih's murder, the IUF sent the following message to the IFTU:

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

On behalf of the members of our global union federation the IUF, organized in 354 trade unions in 125 countries, I wish to offer condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of IFTU International Secretary Hadi Salih. It is difficult to convey in words our revulsion at his murder. While, as far as we know, the assassins have not yet been identified, nor has any group claimed credit, the nature of the deed speaks for itself. It was committed in order to strike fear and terror into all those acting in defense of workers rights in Iraq. The murderers stand in opposition to every value, every belief and every principle upon which the labour movement was built and continues to rely. It was therefore aimed at workers everywhere, and for that reason the IUF will do everything within its means to ensure that workers' fundamental rights are legally guaranteed and actively protected in Iraq now and in the future.

Yours in solidarity,

Ron Oswald,
General Secretary