Jordan and Iraq exchange experience in promoting decent work, with emphasis on strengthening social security

The visit centred around Jordan’s experience in extending social protection, digitalization in relation to employment and social security services, labour inspection, career guidance and employment.

News | 24 November 2022
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) A tripartite delegation from Iraq visited ILO-supported project sites and interventions in Jordan, providing them with first-hand experience on how the ILO is working with a wide spectrum of national partners to promote decent work in the country, with a focus on access to social security to workers in the private sector.

The visit, which began on Tuesday (November 15) included representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), as well as employer and worker representatives from both Federal Iraq and KRI. The delegation and their entities are working closely with the ILO in Iraq to implement the Decent Work Country Programme, ILO’s main vehicle in promoting decent work. The Iraq Decent Work Country Programme focuses on employment promotion, rights at work, social dialogue, social protection and addressing child labour.

The three-day visit was organised under the framework of a European Union funded programme to reform social protection in Iraq. The programme addresses barriers to access social security, including reviewing the draft social security laws for the private sector, for Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. In parallel, the ILO is supporting the government and partners in their efforts to upgrade institutional capacity that allows for more efficient delivery of services related to social security, social protection, and employment.

The visit centred around Jordan’s experience in extending social protection, digitalization in relation to employment and social security services, labour inspection, career guidance and employment. It included meetings with counterparts from the Ministry of Labour, the Chamber of Industry, and union representatives.

Social Security Corporation Amman
A key highlight of the visit was meeting with staff at the Social Security Corporation, ILO’s main partner in addressing the structural gaps in social security coverage in Jordan. The delegation examined how digital transformation is helping the Social Security Corporation overcome some of the challenges of delayed service delivery. This is being done through infrastructure development, investment in human resources, and partnerships with various government and private sector partnerships.

At the Ministry of Labour, the delegation examined the ministry’s newly-established command-and-control and operation centre aimed at boosting the efficiency of the labour inspection department. They also looked at the ministry’s national employment platforms, which seek to facilitate career guidance and employment.

"As part of the visit, the delegation examined some of the digital approaches used by partners to facilitate employment-related services. The Social Security Corporation in Jordan is providing its services electronically and without the need of insured person to visit any of its branches or directorates. Similarly, the Ministry of Labour has set up an electronic control room for labour inspection to ensure better monitoring and documentation of the inspection process," said ILO Country Coordinator for Iraq, Maha Kattaa.
“Digitalisation is a one of the key aspects of our efforts in Iraq, especially in addressing challenges in relation to social security and its extensions for private sector workers. Hence, those visits have been particularly significant, to learn from their experiences and better understand the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation,” Kattaa continued.

Ministry of Labour, Amman
Mohammed Amin from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of KRI, explained: “One of the most important visits which we conducted was to the labour inspection department (at the Ministry of Labour).  We hope to benefit from such on-line (automated) programmes in which labour inspectors use digital equipment when conducting their visits and we hope to be able to use a similar approach in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, because we face numerous challenges in relation to inspection.”

“I hope that when I return to Iraq, I will be able to pass on this experience, especially in relation to the digital platform for unemployed (job-seekers). We have unemployment in Iraq. So, this was a good opportunity to see how this platform works and what it offers,” added Maherah Qasim Shaalan, from the Iraqi Federation of Industries.

Field visits

Kufrsoum Agricultural Cooperative Association for Pomegranate, Irbid
In Irbid, delegates toured farms and agricultural cooperatives working closely with the ILO to improve the living and working conditions of agricultural workers, including Jordanian, Syrian refugee and migrant workers. Under the Programme of Support to the Jordan Compact, the ILO is implementing various projects and interventions to promote compliance with Decent Work Principles, such as those related to raising awareness on labour rights and responsibilities, facilitating employment services and work permits applications, developing skills, promoting Occupational Safety and Health, extending social protection and improving overall productivity on farms.

Classic Fashion Apparel Industry, Irbid
In addition, representatives visited garment factories which employ thousands of workers, the majority of whom are migrant women. The ILO has been working with workers, employers and the Government of Jordan to improve working conditions and boost competitiveness of the garment industry. In recent years, efforts have been scaled up to support companies, expanding their activities under the EU-Jordan trade agreement, to employ qualified Jordanians and Syrian refugees through ILO-supported employment centres.

“As union members, we observed this experience in terms of employing workers and the benefits that workers enjoy at this factory. We have also visited an agricultural cooperative, where we were presented with the services that they provide to agricultural workers. This experience is new as agricultural workers were not previously covered by the labour law,” said Sadiq Ramadan Hassan, a member of the Kurdistan United Workers Union.