Labor negotiations grind to a halt in Basra

An acrimonious battle temporarily stops between bosses and workers in Iraq's southern oil sector while elections dominate Iraq and unions call for the end of Maliki's rule.

BASRA - Long-running negotiations between unions and authorities in Basra have ground to a halt after a protest attended by more than 500 people last week was dispersed amid fears of a security crackdown, with two men briefly arrested.

Demonstrators gathered outside the South Refineries Company headquarters near Basra on Wednesday last week, calling for a greater percentage of the company's budget to go to employees, and for key members of the administration to be sacked.

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