Sri Lankan workers in Iraq end hunger strike

The workers said they were each promised 2,000 dollars per month to work for Talat Osam al-Deen construction firm in the southern city of Amara but had not been paid since arriving in Iraq two years ago.

Updated: Jun 21, 2011, 21:01 PM IST

Amara: Thirty Sri Lankan labourers
in south Iraq on Tuesday ended a week-long hunger strike over
demands for two years of back pay after assurances from local
human rights officials, a local mayor said.

The workers said they were each promised 2,000 dollars
per month to work for Talat Osam al-Deen construction firm in
the southern city of Amara but had not been paid since
arriving in Iraq two years ago.

"The Sri Lankan workers ended their hunger strike
after a committee from the provincial human rights department
assured them it would sue their employer and claim their
rights," said Hussein al-Yasiri, a district mayor in Maysan
province, where Amara is the capital.

Some of the workers told a news agency yesterday that they had
began the hunger strike because they had been unable to send
money to their families back home.

The workers were hired to build a government housing
complex in Amara, but the company failed to break ground on
the project, which was then passed on to another firm, said
Maitham Lefteh, a member of Maysan`s provincial council.

Thousands of South Asian workers are employed in
menial jobs in oil-rich Iraq, many working for catering,
cleaning and transport contractors for US forces posted in
Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

PTI