Enhancing labour governance, inspection and working conditions in response to COVID-19

This project contributes to the socio-economic development of Iraq through enhancing the application of International Labour Standards and national labour legislation and promoting social dialogue, social justice, and decent work.


The International Labour Organization, with support from the European Union, is implementing a project to enhance labour governance, inspection and working conditions in Iraq, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project addresses a number of labour market challenges imposed by the pandemic, as well as some of the longer-term decent work priorities of Iraq.

It focuses on strengthening the labour inspection system and improving occupational safety and health (OSH) in line with international labour standards, through policy development and capacity building. The project will also work closely with social partners to raise their awareness on labour inspection, OSH and fundamental principles and rights at work, so they can better engage in programmes to promote compliance with labour legislations and respond to COVID-19. 

Emphasis will be placed on compliance with decent work in the agricultural sector. Pilot interventions on farms will help farmers move towards compliance with labour standards, which are a pre-requisite for access to foreign markets. Interventions will provide trainings and guidance on labour standards to build their knowledge and capacity, while supporting workers to understand their rights, enhance their employability through skills development and help labour inspectors carry out their functions. Under the first phase of the project, at least 2,000 workers including 30 per cent women and 5 per cent Persons with Disabilities, will have their working conditions and skills enhanced.

The project will be implemented with a range of national partners, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. Other stakeholders include the General Federation of Workers Unions and the Iraqi Federation for Industries.


Development Objective
The project will contribute to the socio-economic development of the Republic of Iraq through enhancing the application of International Labour Standards and national labour legislation and promoting social dialogue, social justice, and decent work.

Immediate Objectives
  1. Labour Inspection System modernized and its effectiveness enhanced in line with International Labour Standards, particularly Labour Inspection Conventions;
  2. Occupational safety and health improved in line with the ILO Conventions No. 155 and 187 and in response to COVID-19;
  3. Awareness of social partners on labour inspection and OSH raised, placing them in a better position to engage in programmes to promote compliance with labour legislations and enhance protection in the workplace in response to COVID-19;
  4. Workers, mainly those employed in the agricultural sector, benefit from enhanced working conditions and improved status through skills development opportunities, awareness raising and farm level interventions. 

Main Activities

Labour inspection
  • Developing a national labour inspection policy, which includes reviewing a 2018 labour inspection assessment in consultation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as well as workers' and employers' organizations with a view to update and validate the relevant findings and recommendations and develop a national labour inspection policy and a national action plan for reforming labour inspection.
  • Strengthening institutional capacity of the labour inspectorate, through analysing the structure of the labour inspectorate; and updating labour inspection tools, such as guidelines and manuals, to ensure that labour inspection procedures are standardized and gender-responsive.
  • Improving the capacity of labour inspectors, through training labour inspectors on modern labour inspection procedures and relevant International Labour Standards as well as conducting Training of Trainers (ToTs) on labour inspection.
Occupational Safety and Health
  • Developing a national OSH policy and programme in consultation with social partners, which will include reviewing, updating and validating the national OSH profile.
  • Strengthening the capacity of the National Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, through conducting an analysis of the centre to provide recommendations for expanding its activities and enhancing its role; and developing and implementing a comprehensive capacity building plan.
  • Improving reporting and recording of work-related accidents, injuries and diseases, by developing new mechanisms for the notification, recording and investigation of occupational accidents, injuries and diseases in consultation with social partners and other stakeholders and raising awareness among workers and employers on its use.
Awareness raising and capacity building
  • Training workers’ and employers’ representatives on the role of labour inspection, OSH and fundamental principles and rights at work, through gender-mainstreamed training programmes as well as awareness raising material, including those on COVID-19 preventive and protective measures.
  • Establishing new or strengthening existing tripartite structures and mechanisms on labour inspection and OSH, such as the establishment of a tripartite OSH committee.
Improving working conditions in the agricultural sector
  • Improving and promoting national regulatory frameworks and structures for the protection of agricultural workers, through the development of pilot initiatives on selected farms aimed at improving working conditions and compliance with national legislation and International Labour Standards. These will include developing a code of conduct for fair recruitment and assessing the social protection needs and gaps of the sector.
  • Improving working conditions on selected farms, by addressing child labour; providing OSH equipment and suitable housing arrangements for workers; and establishing worker management committees.
  • Working with farms to advance employment and compliance with decent work principles in exchange for improved work force productivity, through promoting workers’ skills development, encouraging the participation of women in agriculture work; and improving the quality and availability of employment services to workers.