Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » War & Disaster Profiteering

IRAQ: Filipinos Wage Labor Strike Against Contractors

Around 300 Filipino workers have gone on strike at a US military base in Baghdad, apparently in a protest over their working conditions that they say include long hours and unsatisfactory food and accommodation.

by Caroline Hawley BBC News
May 27th, 2005

Around 300 Filipino workers have gone on strike at a US military base in Baghdad, apparently in a protest over their working conditions.

The staff are unhappy at working long hours and say they are given unsatisfactory food and accommodation.

The Philippines embassy says the action is part of a wider problem of how Asian workers are treated.

The Philippines has around 6,000 staff working at US bases in Iraq, mostly in construction, catering and maintenance.

Thousands of workers from around the world are being lured to Iraq, despite the dangers of going there, by the promise of pay cheques better than they would get at home.

Western workers can earn hundreds of dollars every day, while people from poorer countries usually get just a few hundred dollars a month.

An official at the Philippines embassy told the BBC that the staff now on strike were ready to put up with a lot for their wages, which they accepted would be lower than those of westerners.

Exploitation claims

But he said they deserved better treatment.

He said there had been complaints that 12 people at one base were sleeping crammed into a room without proper ventilation.

The US military does not directly employ the workers, who are hired by contracting firms.

Some of those firms used have been accused in the past of exploitation.

In one case last year, a group of Indian men said they were recruited thinking they were going to work in Kuwait.

They then found themselves taken to Iraq where they were stuck for months against their will.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.