The Trade Union Organization Law of 1987 established a centralized trade union structure of committees linked to trade unions, which in turn are part of provincial trade union federations under the control of the Iraqi General Federation of Trade Unions, and ultimately are controlled by the ruling Ba'ath Party. Although workers are legally allowed to strike upon informing the Labor Ministry, no strike has been reported in over 20 years.
Child labor is strictly controlled and in many cases prohibited. The minimum working age is 14, although economic necessity and lack of government enforcement have increased the number of children of all ages that are employed. There is a six-day, 48-hour workweek, although this does not apply to agricultural workers. Historically, working women have been accepted in Iraq, but the number of women in the workforce dramatically increased because of the prolonged war with Iran as well as the Persian Gulf War, as women replaced men in the labor market.
In many cases, rural labor and farmers employed in government projects get reasonable salaries and good housing, but small, independent farmers receive fewer benefits. Since 1958, the Iraqi government has passed a number of agrarian reform laws. As a general rule, however, the quality of life differs greatly between rural areas and the cities, especially that in Baghdad. This differential has resulted in massive rural to urban migration.