Hundreds of unemployed Iraqis demonstrated yesterday in the oil-rich Basra province against the employment of foreign workers in the province’s oil sector. The province of Basra produces at least 80 percent of Iraq’s oil.
The protesters gathered in front of the governorate building and chanted slogans against the recruitment of foreign workers, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported.
Protester Mansour Hussein told the agency that “thousands of unemployed people including university graduates in the province of Basra did not find a job. Meanwhile thousands of workers have been brought from East Asia to work in oil facilities and fields”.
“We have information that these workers are paid high salaries which could reach up to $3,000 a month” he added.
According to Hussein the federal government and the local administration in the province announced that foreign oil companies that wish to invest in the province have to employ 50 percent of its staff from Iraqis.
“Unemployed people will not remain idle”, he added.
There was no immediate comment from the Iraqi authorities on the protests.