Some 2,000 workers recently took part in a rally in Basra organized by the Southern Oil Workers Committee, after the government refused to negotiate over issues such as jobs for unemployed workers, skills training and higher pay for hazardous work.
In August 2013, the government excluded workers in the state-run oil sector from receiving wage and benefit increases granted to other public employees. Public-sector wage increases ranged from 5 percent to 114 percent.
Workers delayed the action because of the country’s ongoing instability. Meanwhile, the committee’s negotiation team traveled to Baghdad to meet with government officials at the Ministry of Oil. After negotiations stalled, workers waged a mass rally.
“We are determined to achieve our rights and find no other way to be heard than peaceful demonstrations and sit-in actions,” the Southern Oil Committee said in a statement.