Labour Law Restricts Trade Union Rights: Because the government has still not passed a new labour code, the previous law (No. 71 of 1987), which effectively outlaws independent labour unions, remains in effect today. This law effectively abolished the right to collectively bargain and the right to strike. All public sector workers (the majority of formal sector workers in Iraq at the time) were reclassified as "civil-service" and prohibited from unionisation in accordance with the Trade Union Organisation Law 52 of 1987. Workers' committees could be formed in the private sector, but only in worksites employing more than 50 workers. This represented approximately 8 per cent of the workforce in Iraq at the time. By law, these workers committees were required to affiliate with the state-controlled federation of workers. A process has been on-going for several years to revise the labour law and trade union law, but has yet to produce new legislation.

Anti-union discrimination: Under existing legislation, workers in the public sector, including the state-owned oil companies, are not allowed to form trade unions. Workers that do organise protests are threatened with arrest and relocation. Despite the threats, worker actions have taken place throughout the main oil producing regions of the south. The authorities forcibly relocate trade union leaders in the oil industry from their regular jobs in order to remove them from their members and sources of protest.

Charges against trade unionists: Hassan Juma'a Awad, Chairman of the Federation of Oil Unions, was charged with organising an entirely legitimate strike at the Southern Oil Company in March 2013.

Restriction of fundamental civil liberties: Eight Southern Oil Company workers have been summoned to the General Inspector's Office in the Ministry of Oil in order for the Ministry to investigate their role in recent demonstrations in Basra, where workers engaged in a peaceful protest.

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