Cablegate: Iraq: Slow Progress On Labor Standards
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0190/01 0251506
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251506Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6289
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000190
USTR FOR DAWN SHACKLEFORD, CHRISTIAN DEANGELIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EFIN EINV IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQ: SLOW PROGRESS ON LABOR STANDARDS
REF: A. 10BAGHDAD82
C. Cooke-McFarland email 12/10/2009
1. (SBU) In advance of the January 25 Trade Policy Staff Committee
(TPSC) meeting at which State, USTR, and the Department of Labor
will consider the GSP Worker Rights petition against Iraq, post
provides the following update on labor issues.
2. (SBU) An Amman-based ILO program officer for Iraq told Econoff
January 25 that Iraq's ILO-assisted draft Labor Code was still in
its final review at the Shura Council (ref A), but that the ILO was
not concerned about delay given the complexity of the issues
addressed in the draft. Issues include: an overhaul of Iraq's
fragmented Labor Code; its Occupational Safety and Health Directive;
and, to some extent, the country's social safety net.
3. (SBU) A senior Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA)
official told us January 25 that MOLSA was following the progress of
the draft law closely. The official stated that until it was
ratified, the GOI in general and MOLSA in particular, remained
constrained by the Saddam-era Labor Code (IRQ-1987-L-4988).
According to the Amman-based ILO program officer, however, MOLSA
continued to work within its current legal limits to move toward
internationally acceptable labor standards, primarily through
regular meetings of MOLSA's tripartite committee of GOI, employer,
and labor representatives.
4. (SBU) The president of an international firm that provides
consulting services to major investors and international
corporations told us January 25 that, though "there are rules and
regulations for labor standards on the books, they are rarely if
ever used and followed." A recent study, conducted by the firm
identified numerous regulations and laws, a summary of which we
provide below in response to ref C request. The study is a
proprietary document not for public distribution.
Iraq Labor Environment
5. (U) Post has not had an opportunity to confirm the report's
information, but below summarizes its major points for Washington's
- Labor Code: The Iraqi Labor Code of 1987, IRQ-1987-L-4988 (See
Appendix), repealed the Labor Code of 1970. Amended twice, once in
2000, concerning Arab employment and overtime pay, and again in
2004, concerning the protection of young persons in the workplace
and the prohibition of child labor. The Labor Code governs
workplace activities such as wages, worker protection, and dispute
- Occupational Safety and Health Directive: The Iraqi Occupational
Safety and Health Directive of 1987, IRQ-1987-R-57209, governs the
enforcement of occupational health and safety regulations and was
amended in 1993. Among several other regulations, the 1987
directive established the duties and responsibilities of employers
vis-a-vis the occupational health and safety of workers.
Legal and Regulatory Milestones:
- IRQ-1987-L-4988: Act No. 71 of 1987 promulgating the Labor Code:
The Code (published as LS 1987 - Iraq 2) contains the following
Parts: I, Basic principles; II Placement and vocational training;
III, Labor relations; IV, Wages; V, Hours of work and leave; VI,
Labor protection and workers' protection; VII, internal organization
of work; VIII, Disputes resolution and IX, General and final
provisions. It repeals the Labor Code of 1970 (LS 1970 - Iraq 1...
1973 - Iraq 1B) and a series of other Resolutions and Regulations
(listed in s. 151). The Act entered into force on August 17, 1987.
- IRQ-2004-L-77032: May 5, 2004: Coalition Provisional Authority
Q- IRQ-2004-L-77032: May 5, 2004: Coalition Provisional Authority
Order Number 89: Amendments to the Labor Code, Law No. 71 of 1987.
Amends Part V - Chapter II of the Labor Code concerning protection
of young persons and prohibition of child labor.
- IRQ-2000-L-56880: March 13, 2000: Law No. 17 of 2000 from the
Revolutionary Council amends Labor Law No. 71 of 1987, introducing
the obligation for the employer to inform the Labor section in
Baghdad in case an Arab employee is hired. Also, the employer is
under the prohibition to terminate an employee's contract if the
latter holds trade union responsibilities and the organization does
not agree with the termination. In addition, overtime should not
exceed 300 per cent of the normal hours worked per year.
- IRQ-1987-R-57209: Instructions No. 22 of 1987 Concerning
Occupational Safety and Health, provides for inspections of places
of employment and inspections reports. Establishes the duties and
responsibilities of employers vis-a-vis occupational health and
safety. Establishes the functions of safety commissions at places
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of work. Regulates the responsibilities and duties of workers with
respect to occupational health and safety.
Amending regulations: IRQ-1993-M-57636: Directive (No. 8 of 1993)
amending occupational safety and health directive (No. 22 of 1987,
IRQ-1987-R-57209) to prohibit the sale, rental, exhibition and/or
transfer of the ownership of dangerous machinery without the
appropriate protection. Charges the vendor, leasor and/or parties
undertaking the transfer of ownership with the responsibility of
identifying dangerous parts and taking the appropriate steps to
provide protection from them.
- IRQ-1988-L-6503: Instructions relative to decision No. 380 of
1989: Defines the categories of employment for which occupational
safety and health allowances may be provided.
- IRQ-1988-L-6503: Revolutionary Command Council Resolution No. 28
promulgating Law No. 6 concerning the National Commission for
Occupational Hygiene and Safety defines its functions to include
general policy formulation, undertaking studies, advising on draft
legislation and obtaining data and information. Its membership
includes workers' and employers' representatives.
- IRQ-1987-R-57209: Instructions No. 22 of 1987 Concerning
Occupational Safety and Health, governs the enforcement of
occupational health and safety regulations. Provides for
inspections of places of employment and inspections reports.
Establishes the duties and responsibilities of employers vis-a-vis
occupational health and safety. Establishes the functions of safety
commissions at places of work. Regulates the responsibilities and
duties of workers with respect to occupational health and safety.
- IRQ-1986-L-3004: Law No. 98 of 1986 respecting popular medical
clinics. English translation published in Official Gazette of the
Republic of Iraq, No. 1, 7 Jan. 1987, pages 1-5. The Act establishes
the Department of Popular Medical Clinics, which is to open clinics
offering services for reduced fees.
- IRQ-1985-L-2555: Law No. 101 of 1985 respecting Health Security
Funds for officials of the state departments and the socialist
sector. English translation published in Official Gazette of the
Republic of Iraq, No. 30, July 23, 1986, pages 2-5. Provides for
the organization of the provision of health services for
participants in a Health Security Fund.
- IRQ-1985-L-2505: Law No. 84 of 1985 on the Conservation of
Hydrocarbon Resources English translation published in the Official
Gazette of the Republic of Iraq, No. 37, September 10, 1986, pages
1-9. In particular, contains provisions regarding safety of
personnel. Repeals Law No. 229 of 1970 on the same subject.
- IRQ-1985-R-57210: Instructions No. 3/1985 Concerning Occupational
Safety, provides for the enforcement of occupational safety
provisions at places of work. Regulates that all work places are to
appoint a person in charge of occupational safety and an
occupational safety committee. Provides for the appointment and
duties of the person responsible for occupational safety and for the
occupational safety committee at each workplace. Establishes the
functions and duties of employers and employees with regard to
- IRQ-1981-M-57217: Revolutionary Command Council Decision No. 552
of 198 transfers all powers and responsibilities concerning
occupational health from the Ministry of Health to the National
Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the Ministry of Labor
and Social Affairs.
- IRQ-1977-M-13391: Instruction No. 4, respecting occupational
Q- IRQ-1977-M-13391: Instruction No. 4, respecting occupational
- IRQ-1969-L-17911: Workers' Pension and Social Security Act
[consolidation of Acts Nos. 27 of 17 May 1956/1 and 140 of August
25, 1964, with amendments; Schedule of occupational diseases]. No.
- IRQ-1968-R-57220: Regulation No. 74 of 1968, Hygienic Control of
Factories regulates occupational health and safety of factories.
Establishes safety and health provisions with respect to
overcrowding, lighting, ventilation, sewage, cleanliness and the
storage of dangerous substances. Establishes the obligations of
employers in these regards. Regulates the medical examination of
workers. Provides for the keeping of records by authorities.
- IRQ-1981-L-57211: Public Health Law, Law No. 89 of 1981,
concerning worker health care provides for "the enjoyment of
citizens' rights to full physical, mental and social fitness."
Chapter One governs general objectives and administrative organs.
Part One establishes general objectives. Part Two governs
administrative organs. Establishes the powers and duties of the
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Ministry Council and the Govenorate Health Council. Chapter Two
governs preventative medicine. Part One governs primary health
care. This concerns maternity, childhood, and family health care,
school health care, protection of vision and hearing, dental
prevention, nutrition, health education, mental health, and public
health laboratories. Part Two provides for health inspections. Part
Three governs the control of communicable diseases. Part Four
provides for the conveyance of corpses and death burials. Part Five
provides for the safety of drinking water. Part Six governs the
breeding of animals. Chapter Three regulates curative health
centers. Regulates public and private health institutions. Chapter
Four makes administrative and penal provisions. Chapter Five makes
- IRQ-1993-M-57640: Directive No. 4 of 1993 concerning occupational
health, establishes work place procedures designed to minimize
vibration and any harmful effects that it might have on workers.
Stipulates maximum total daily limits for exposure to vibration
pursuant to Sections 3 and 105 of the Public Health Act (No. 89 of
- IRQ-1987-R-4563: Revolutionary Command Council Resolution No. 551,
English version published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of
Iraq, October 7, 1987, Vol. 30, No. 40, pages 4-5. Amends the
organizational structure of the Ministry of Labor and Social
Affairs, inter alia, merges the Labor Department with the Vocational
Training Department and the Department of the Handicapped Welfare
with the Social Services Department.