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Iraq approves ratification of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association

27 November, 2017Trade unions in Iraq are celebrating after the country’s parliament approved ratification of core ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association. 

A parliamentary source said the House of Representatives voted on 20 November in favour of a draft law that allows the Republic of Iraq to join the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention No. 87 of 1948.

IndustriALL Global Union was one of the first to demand that Iraq ratifies ILO Convention 87, which upholds trade union freedoms, during a mission in 2013 to the Iraqi Council of Representatives.

"The ratification of this Convention is a historic achievement for the trade union movement in Iraq, which it has long fought for. It will pave the way towards the legislation of the law on trade union rights and freedoms, which will require a serious effort by Iraqi unions for its enactment,” said Hashmeya Alsaadawe, President of the General Union of Electricity Workers and Technicians, and a member of IndustriALL’s Executive Committee.

“Despite the unstable situation in Iraq, the struggle of the trade union movement, the efforts of the good people of Iraq, and the support and solidarity of international organizations and federations, including IndustriALL Global Union, have brought about this success,” she added.

Trade unions hope that in approving ratification of the Convention, the House of Representatives will reject a draft trade union law, which has been strongly criticized by trade unions, and falls short of ILO standards.

IndustriALL and its Iraqi affiliates are calling on the parliament to consider a draft proposal called Trade Union Freedoms instead, which has been submitted by Iraqi unions to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, said:

“We congratulate Iraqi trade unions in their significant victory which will go a long way to protecting workers’ rights to organize in Iraq. The Iraqi government must now do its upmost to ensure that the freedoms enshrined in Convention 87 are respected, particularly with regards for the new law for trade unions.”