Flyer from IndustriALL protest to Iraq's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, December 2013. Photo IndustriALL
Global unions demand decent labour law in Iraq
IndustriALL, the global union federation for manufacturing, chemical and oil unions, has called on Iraqi lawmakers to complete the task of enacting ILO-compliant labour laws.
In the latest step in the campaign that was started with help from the TUC, the global federation has worked with the six main trade union organisations in Iraq to critique the current drafts of workers’ rights and trade union laws which are at various stages of adoption. Embassies have been picketed, politicians have been lobbied, and in November, trade unionists around the world were encouraged to email Iraqi leaders responsible for the legislation.
IndustriALL’s General Secretary, Jyrki Raina, says:
“It really is time now for the old laws of the Saddam Hussein era, presently used against trade union organisation, to be finally consigned to the dustbin of history and a new era of respect for trade union rights begun.”
Several variations of the laws are currently being considered by the Iraqi parliament, and unions are concerned in particular that many of the drafts do not extend to cover the public sector, and do not allow for pluralism and diversity, advocating a ‘one size fits all’ approach to trade unionism in Iraq. The woman who leads the southern energy workers, Hashmeya Muhsin al-Saadawi, said:
“the insistence on excluding the public sector workers from the new law will make it to only cover less than 25% of the total workforce of Iraq.”