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Iraqi workers ... are not welcome at home or abroad
01 May 2021
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Damages start from the presence of 1.5 million foreign workers (Facebook)
Long years have passed without change in the case of Iraqi workers, but the situation may be better than the current one when the series of procedures and laws related to the sectors in which they work are tracked, until their conditions today have become very bad as a result of the accumulation of economic crises, the latest of which is the Corona pandemic that has burdened them a lot, as well as [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] the foreign worker over the Iraqi worker at home, there is a “lack of welcome” for the Iraqi worker abroad as well, because, according to specialists, he has not caught up with the acceleration of development at the level of business in the world, on the Arab and international levels.
The number of workers throughout Iraq who work in the private sector ranges from 4 to 5 million workers
International Labor Day came on May 1, 2021, different and forcefully, as what the Corona pandemic had produced in the world on economic activities, workers in Iraq were not far from it, as it led to great losses that sometimes reached to close complete projects or reduce the number of Workers working together through layoffs, as happened with the intensification of the partial and comprehensive closures since the beginning of 2020 in Baghdad and all of the country's governorates, according to the imposed government procedures, without thinking about these classes and what the presence of natural movement in the streets and their workplaces represents, according to many.
The head of the Federation of Trade Unions in Iraq, Sattar Al-Danbous, says that "the number of workers throughout the country who work in the private sector ranges from 4 to 5 million workers, and they are of different categories and certificates, indicating in an interview with" Ultra Iraq ", that" among them are some They hold engineering degrees, higher degrees, and others from elementary, middle and middle school, and even those who do not possess academic degrees at all, and their ages are large, while noting that "those with academic qualifications have salaries of 750 thousand dinars and even one million dinars."
Al-Danbous pointed out that “the lowest wage a worker can receive is 450 thousand dinars, explaining that“ the number of workers who will be included in the new retirement law is more than 560 thousand workers, indicating that “the union will file an appeal against the Social Security Law because it contains errors and great prejudice to the class. Workers in the matter of articles 80 and 85 that the parliament removed, even though they contain benefits for workers and retirees covered by the law. "
For his part, MP and a member of the Parliamentary Work Committee, Hussein Arab, indicated that the new retirement and social security law provides the possibility of disbursing a pension to every citizen according to two basic points, namely service and legal age, indicating in an interview with "Ultra Iraq", that "Parliament made the first reading of the law. During the coming period, it will be included in the agenda for the second reading and enacted its legislation completely to enter into force, while stressing the "necessity to limit foreign employment in Iraq because it causes Iraqi workers to lose great opportunities due to the acceptance of foreign workers with low wages, which drives the owners of projects to reject local workers."
The life of the working class in Iraq goes back to the beginnings of work and union organization, as it was the first experience for workers to organize themselves at the end of 1924 by a group of railway workers, who form the largest group in terms of concentration (more than 800 workers in 1924). Some of them from the government authorized the opening of a club for railway workers. After that, several trade unions and cooperative societies were established in Baghdad, including (the Association of Newspaper Workers, the Association of Automobile Drivers, the National Club of Mechanic Engineers, the Society for the Promotion of National Products, the Cooperative Association of Barbers) until other associations appeared. Among them were vegetable sellers, after which a government permit was granted to establish the Federation of Trade Unions in 1932, and in 1936 Labor Law No. 72 was issued, representing the first legislation passed in Iraq and remained in effect until the beginning of 1958, when new legislation No. 1 of 1958 was issued, which remained frozen until The establishment of the republican system on July 14, 1958.
Amendments were added to the last law in favor of workers after a long and continuous struggle. The law dealt with workers ’issues, defined the relationship between them and employers, and stipulated the right to organize trade unions on the basis of the oil and rail industries or crafts such as carpentry and mechanics, but it returned to be bound by heavy restrictions such as the approval of the Minister of Interior and good behavior From the police and making it subject to administrative disruption.
As for the accumulated problems facing workers in Iraq in various sectors, the economic researcher Rami Jawad believes that "there are thousands of opportunities that are presented in the advertisements of global recruitment companies for foreign companies in Iraq, but they attract non-Iraqis because the required qualifications and skills are rare among university graduates." Iraqi or simple workers with simple diplomas. "
In an interview with Ultra Iraq, Jawad said, "The number of foreign workers in Iraq is estimated at more than a million workers, and due to the impact of the Corona pandemic, hundreds of workers have been laid off from some companies such as oil companies, but the layoffs included Iraqis only, indicating that" recent transformations in the business environment The creation of new jobs has been imposed to improve work activities and are reflected in the growth of companies, relying on those with skills and abandoning traditional jobs. This is what universities should strive for and abandon their old tradition in the educational and specialized approach.
The researcher adds that "the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed a new approach for employers towards employment and employment in general with the aim of reducing costs and compensating for losses, and this trend will continue even after the end of the pandemic, including reducing secondary jobs and relying on holders of multiple skills. He also points out that" foreign employment is now considered An important source for the economies of low-income peoples, for example, a recent report issued by the World Bank indicated that the remittances of Egyptian workers in the Gulf countries in 2019 were around $ 29 billion, while Iraqi workers in the international market are not welcome due to their lack of skills.
Regarding the hypothesis that “large foreign labor has occurred as a result of the wrong government’s policy,” as activists say, Jawad replies, “This is true, but the country that does not have skilled workers cannot promote its work abroad.” To solve this crisis, the researcher proposes that “be done. Work in the coming years to compel foreign companies to employ at least 90% of their cadres of Iraqi workers and to provide them with appropriate training during the employment period, and the Ministry of Education must also be required to reconsider the admission plan for the coming years for specializations that do not find an opportunity for employment and open other specializations that enable Its graduates from entrepreneurship.
In addition, Jawad believes that "there is a need for universities to include graduates in vocational courses run in cooperation with private sector companies (foreign languages, communication skills and the use of computer programs are essential for all specializations). Also, the opening of rehabilitation centers and workshops within the branches of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs should be expanded in Governorates, in addition to requiring universities to conduct field studies for the future needs of the job market for jobs, and to take the results of those studies into their future plans.
The researcher affirms, "The government should seek to conclude agreements between universities and large private sector companies to train students during university training stages, such as (oil companies, telecommunications) to ensure a percentage of future appointments for degree holders and improve the quality of outputs according to the requirements of these companies, a situation prevalent in most countries. the world".
Press reports indicate that there are 1.5 million foreign workers in Iraq, who contribute to the exit of more than one billion dollars a month in hard currency as remittances abroad.
And indicate the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] workers exposed to threats and fines, as well as exclusion and travel bans and arrests because of their work on the organization of trade unions, as showing "a significant intervention of the government in internal trade union affairs, and often is suppressed , especially workers working in the sector Oil if they claim their rights. "
It is noteworthy that the Minister of Labor, Adel Al-Rikabi, said in a press statement to him, that "the percentage of Iraqi workers out of 11,000 workers in Karbala amounts to 10% of the number of foreign workers, as an example of the volume of foreign workers in the country compared to the percentage of the unemployed." Press reports indicate that there are 1.5 million foreign workers in Iraq, who contribute to the exit of more than one billion dollars a month in hard currency as remittances abroad.
In 2019, the Ministry of Labor announced that it had registered 7,000 holders of higher degrees, whose names were on the lists of the needy, with a percentage of female students reaching more than 20% at the end of the same year, and according to the latest figures announced by the Central Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate among youth for the age group is between 15 to 29 years old is 30.5 percent, but these numbers are much lower than others announced by the International Monetary Fund, which showed that the unemployment rate for the youth segment in Iraq is more than 40 percent.