Thousands of Iraqi workers took to the streets of Basra on 27 October in a protest at massive cuts in salaries demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Iraqi government claims that falling oil prices have depleted its coffers. It is now looking for hefty cuts in its budgets. Yet billions of dollars have been spirited out of the country by corrupt officials.
The wage cuts demanded by the IMF will drive the country’s population deeper into poverty.
Hassan Jumaa Awad, head of the union that represents 26,000 oil workers in southern Iraq, led the demonstration on the offices of the finance ministry.
Oil workers have resisted several attempts by the government to crush their union. They want to stop plans by the Iraqi and US goverments to ram through a new law that will hive off the oil industry to Western multinationals.
Similar protests have taken place in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.