Regional upheaval fuels oil protests

Northern oil workers raised the specter of strikes, as old grievances find fresh expression in Iraqi protests inspired by Egypt and Tunisia.
Oil unions protest working conditions and other administrative complaints at the North Oil Company. "What is the destiny of temporary staff...Mr. General-Director?" says the poster of this protester, complaining that low-wage temporary workers should be given full-time employement with benefits and pension. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

KIRKUK - The regional unrest that has swept two regimes from power in Egypt and Tunisia has energized protesters in Iraq’s oil provinces, who have voiced broad dissatisfaction with the government in demonstrations around the country, some organized by oil unions.

Hundreds of oil and gas workers held a protest at the North Oil Company’s (NOC) headquarters in Kirkuk, wielding a list of demands for better treatment, and raising the specter of a strike if their calls continue to go unanswered. NOC accounts for a quarter of Iraq's 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd) production.

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