IRAQI trade unionists visiting Wyre Forest, told Labour party members of the “horrors of persecution” back home.

Three representatives of the Iraqi Teaching Union (TU) met Howard Martin, parliamentary spokesman for the district’s Labour Party and the Kidderminster-born MP for West Bromwich East, Tom Watson, who is deputy party chairman, along with other senior local members.

Mr Martin said the guests spoke of their “constant battle” to achieve unhindered representation for teachers and other workers in Iraq.

He added: “They told horror stories of persecution and family members going ‘missing’ and spoke of several attempts of assassination and attempts to stop them functioning as unions.”

The meeting was arranged by Jerry Bartlett, local TU liaison officer and former deputy general secretary of NASUWT, (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) which invited the union members to be guests of honour at their national conference in Birmingham between April 6 and 9.

“The bravery and commitment of these men is outstanding and they command great respect for what they have faced on a daily basis both personally and against their families,” added Mr Martin.“It is important that all residents of Wyre Forest should know of the continuing issues that remain in Iraq against the unions, even since the removal of Saddam Hussein. We all felt honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to meet them.”