Dear Ms. Curtis,
The unions in Iraq have been advocating actively for the passage of a new labour law and trade union law since 2004, with technical support from the international labour movement. Today, the 1987 Saddam Hussein-era labour laws remain in effect and are actively enforced. At this time, the unions have prepared g a draft trade union law which we intend to propose to the Parliament within the next few weeks, with the expectation that a new labour law and trade union law, which are fully compliant with relevant ILO conventions, will be enacted this fall.
To facilitate this process, we request from the Office an opinion on the attached draft trade union law, prepared by the trade union, concerning its compliance with ILO Convention 87 on the Right to Freedom of Association. We expect to share this opinion with the Iraqi legislative bodies to support the passage of a trade union law that will ensure freedom of association for all workers in Iraq, in particular public sector workers, as these workers are excluded from joining unions under the current law. We would request that you comment in particular on issues related to trade union structure and public authorities interference in the internal affairs of the union.
Additionally, we would like the opinion to address the concerns that unions in Iraq have identified in the 1987 law related to freedom of association. These include:
- The exclusion of all public sector workers from forming and joining unions.
- A requirement of a minimum of 50 workers in a workplace to establish a workplace trade union committee.
- The trade union structure and in particular the requirement to establish a single trade union committee in a workplace rather than a workplace level union.
Lastly, we would like to ask you to comment generally on Iraq’s obligation to apply principles of freedom of association despite the fact that Iraq has not ratified Convention 87.
President of GFWUI
President of IFOU
President of FWCUI
President of GFIW