In 1987, the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein passed Resolution 150 which prohibited public sector workers from organizing independent trade unions. Though this policy had yet to be replaced following Hussein’s removal from power, public sector workers began organizing nonetheless. One such group that sparked a number of other labor groups to mobilize was the leather workers who led a strike in 2009 with the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions of Iraq (FWCUI).
In the 1960s, the Iraqi government began nationalizing the oil industry. In 1966, the government created the Iraq National Oil Company, which was to eventually control all sects of the oil industry except for refining which was already under control of the Oil Refineries Administration. Complete nationalization occurred in 1972. Iraq has a proven 115 billion barrels of oil reserves, the third largest amount in the world.
Iraqi women and men waged a nonviolent pro-democracy campaign from 2003 to 2005. Led by the moderate Shiite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani (a respected Iraqi theologian within the “Quietest Branch”), Iraqis used public protest, strikes, walkouts, sit-ins and boycotts to push for democracy.