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Full name Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions
Native name ألاتحاد العام لنقابات العمال فى العرا
Founded 2003
Affiliation Independent
Key people Rasem Hussien Abdullah, president
Office location Baghdad, Iraq
Country Iraq
Website www.iraqitradeunions.org

The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) is the largest union federation in Iraq and the only officially recognized trade union body. It was formed in the aftermath of the Iraq War by several groups, most prominently the Iraqi Communist Party, which wished to disassociate itself from the National Front it had formed with the Ba'ath Party in the 1970s.

The IFTU was formed on May 16, 2003, at a meeting of the Workers Democratic Trade Union Movement (WDTUN) attended by 350 Iraqi trade unionists.[1]

Although initially opposed by the U.S.-led occupation forces, the federation was later given exclusive rights to unionize public sector workers in the country. The union has since been attacked by sections of the Iraqi insurgency, and former leader Hadi Saleh was assassinated in January 2005.

It often finds itself in competition with the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq and the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq, neither of which are officially recognized. One of the issues that divide these unions is how they relate to the occupation authorities.

The IFTU, which is linked to political parties that are part of the Iraqi government, opposed the American invasion but claims it has been forced to work with the occupation forces following the invasion. The FWCUI takes a harder line toward the occupation authorities, calling for an immediate troop withdrawal.

However, all three union federations have agreed on a common statement, which states that the "occupation must end in all its forms, including military bases and economic domination" and that the "war was fought for oil and regional domination, in violation of international law, justified by lies and deception, without consultation with the Iraqi people." The statement also condemned the occupation's economic program, stating its "opposition to the imposition of privatization of the Iraqi economy by the occupation, the IMF, the World Bank, [and] foreign powers".[2][3]

In 2007, the IFTU joined with the other trade union federations to oppose the U.S.-backed national oil law, and supported a planned strike by the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq to protest the law.[4]


  1. Muhsin, "The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU): Outline History and Future Tasks," General Federation of Iraqi Workers, August 25, 2004.
  2. Bacon, "Between Soldiers and Bombs, Foreign Policy In Focus, August 2, 2005.
  3. Eltman, "Iraqi Labor Leader Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of U.S. Troops," Associated Press, June 23, 2005; Cardinale, "Iraqi Labor Activists Say U.S. Has Split Nation on Religious, Ethnic Lines," Buffalo News, June 24, 2005.
  4. "Iraq Unions Against Oil Privatization," United Press International, December 14, 2006; Juhasz, "Whose Oil Is It, Anyway?", New York Times, March 13, 2007; "Iraq Workers Stall Strike for Oil Ministry," United Press International, May 9, 2007; "Iraqis to U.S. Congress: Back Off Oil Law," United Press International, June 8, 2007; "Iraq Oil Strike on Hold, Troops Remain," United Press International, June 8, 2007.
  • Bacon, David. "Between Soldiers and Bombs." Foreign Policy In Focus. August 2, 2005.
  • Bianchi, Stefania. "Trade Union Federation Seeks to Assist Workers." Inter-Press Service. April 21, 2003.
  • Cardinale, Anthony. "Iraqi Labor Activists Say U.S. Has Split Nation on Religious, Ethnic Lines." Buffalo News. June 24, 2005.
  • Eltman, Frank. "Iraqi Labor Leader Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of U.S. Troops." Associated Press. June 23, 2005.
  • Gamel, Kim. "Iraqi Journalists Union Demands Apology for Raid on Headquarters." Associated Press. February 23, 2007.
  • Getman, Julius and Marshall, F. Ray. "Bush Should See Labor Unions As Ally In Democratizing Iraq." Lexington Herald Leader. July 11, 2003.
  • Harwood, Matthew . "Pinkertons at the CPA: Iraq's Resurgent Labor Unions Could Have Helped Rebuild the Country's Civil Society." Washington Monthly. April 1, 2005.
  • "Iraq Oil Strike on Hold, Troops Remain." United Press International. June 8, 2007.
  • "Iraq Unions Against Oil Privatization." United Press International. December 14, 2006.
  • "Iraq Workers Stall Strike for Oil Ministry." United Press International. May 9, 2007.
  • "Iraqis to U.S. Congress: Back Off Oil Law." United Press International. June 8, 2007.
  • Juhasz, Antonia. "Whose Oil Is It, Anyway?" New York Times. March 13, 2007.*Lezard, Tim. "A Struggle to Exist." New Statesman. May 1, 2006.
  • McKay, Jim. "Iraqi Duo Says Unions Needed in Their Homeland." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 22, 2005.
  • Muhsin, Abdullah. "The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU): Outline History and Future Tasks." General Federation of Iraqi Workers. August 25, 2004. http://www.iraqitradeunions.org/archives/000072.html Accessed May 15, 2007.
  • Wilkes, Kathy. "Iraqi Trade Unionists Want U.S. to Get Out." Madison Capital Times. June 18, 2005.

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