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Iraqi unions demand input on draft social security and retirement law

28 March, 2023The new draft bill on social security and retirement law allows for workers to receive social services after retirement, which is not in the current law. It permits workers be represented by two members on the executive board of the social security and retirement fund. In the current law workers are represented by one member. 

IndustriALL affiliates are demanding that workers have three representatives who are from the most representative federations. The draft law also makes provision for later retirement: from 60 to 63 for men, and from 55 to 58 for women, if contributions to the fund have not been less than 15 years. Women who have 30 years’ service and children under 15 have the right to retire if they want. This was not included in the current law.

Hassan Juma, president of Iraqi Federation of Oil Union (IFOU) said, 

“The retirement law in Iraq was passed more than 35 years ago. Some articles are not appropriate for the current stage, and there is a need for new law. The preparation of the draft without the involvement of the stakeholders would lead to failures. Our mission is to provide amendments to address those failures.”

On 10-11 March IndustriALL and its Iraqi affiliates organized a workshop to discuss the bill. Kadhem Shamkhi Al-Sudani, former director of the department of retirement and social security in the ministry of labour, presented the draft law and explained the key articles. The presentation also compared the new bill to the current enforceable Law 39 of 1971.   

Participants checked its compatibility with the labour law and the Constitution of Iraq. Iraqi affiliates communicated their observations to the respective parliamentary work committee. The correspondence includes union proposals from the workshop. These observations focused on amending several articles to guarantee workers’ rights.  Union leaders emphasized the state’s financial responsibility toward workers, regarding the fund and that the state should finance it if there is a deficit. The observations also included certain formal legal aspects which examine necessary concepts to avoid any confusion that does not serve the workers. 

Hashmeya Alsaadawi, IndustriALL vice president, said:  

“The adoption of the trade unionists’ observations on new law will be fair to workers and retirees. The law will be fair to women if the amendment on maternity leave is accepted. Trade unionists will do everything in their power to ensure that the new law includes the amendments they proposed.”

IndustriALL general secretary, Atle Høie said

“It’s positive that the Iraqi parliament is working on issuing a new law.  We hope that it will respond to the workers' aspirations. We stress the need for the active involvement of workers and their organizations in Iraq in preparing this important law. We also call on the parliament to adopt the observations submitted by our Iraqi affiliates.”