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Iraqi parliament urged to reject illegitimate trade union law

2 June, 2017IndustriALL Global Union is calling on the parliament of Iraq to reject a draft trade union law that has been condemned for contravening the Iraqi constitution and breaking international conventions.  

Trade unions in Iraq made 28 legal observations on The Draft Law on Professional Federations and Unions, which was drawn up by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs without consultation with unions.

However, all their observations were ignored and it has now been ratified by the Council of Ministers and submitted to the Council of Representatives (parliament).

As part of the 28 observations, unions say the draft law fails to give a proper description of a union. Neither does the draft law indicate any legal protection for organizations and individual members to exercise their union work, nor does it mention the prohibition of discrimination against union members.

Hassan Juma, President of IndustriALL affiliate, the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, says:

The Ministry's disregard for the position of the trade union movement and the insistence on submitting such a draft, which contravenes Iraqi laws and international conventions, is motivated by some political forces that do not want the independence of trade union organizations and do not believe in trade union pluralism, especially in the public sector. We strongly reject any interference in trade union affairs and restrictions on trade union freedoms.

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

In a letter to Iraqi members of parliament, IndustriALL’s general secretary, Valter Sanches, said:

“IndustriALL Global Union calls on the parliament of Iraq to reject the draft bill on Law of Professional Federations and Unions, and instead adopt the trade unions sponsored draft, including the 28 observations from December 2016. In addition, we take this opportunity to call on the parliament of Iraq to accelerate the process of ratification of Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize.

“We strongly urge the parliament to move forward on the basis of the input from the trade unions to ensure that any new legal framework affords workers their legitimate and fundamental rights under national and international law.”

IndustriALL has nine trade union affiliates in Iraq, and Hashmeya Alsaadawe, President of the General Union of Electricity Workers and Technicians, is a member of IndustriALL’s Executive Committee.