LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns
Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK
Re-Run the Vote: No World Cup Without Workers Rights...
International Trade Union Confederation
three minute web movie overview of the concept of decent work in 29 languages...International Labor Organization
Making Change at Walmart...
United Food and Commercial Workers
Robin Hood Tax Campaign...
it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States
Fix My Job...Working America AFL-CIO
Warehouse Workers United...
Change to Win Coalition
T-Mobile Workers United...
Communications Workers of America
Let's Get America Working...
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
ILO Labor Standards
The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Guatemala: Union leader assassinated
24 June 2016: Yet again, a union leader has been brutally murdered in Guatemala for her trade union activities. The ITUC roundly condemns the assassination of trade unionist Brenda Marleni Estrada Tambiento.
Brenda was the deputy coordinator of the Legal Advice Commission of the Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Guatemala (UNSITRAGUA-HISTORICA), affiliated to the ITUC. She was also a member of the Guatemalan Organisers' Group and of the Continental Legal Team of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA).
The ITUC has urged President Morales to take all necessary measures to put an end once and for all to the wave of killings of trade union leaders and the widespread violence still rife in the country. This assassination reflects the continuing climate of terror and persecution in Guatemala. The ITUC, together with the Guatemalan trade union movement, demands the immediate intervention of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the opening of investigations to bring those responsible to justice.
"It is essential that everything possible be done to find those responsible for this latest intolerable act immediately" said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC. "It is vitally important to urgently carry out a thorough investigation to arrest those guilty of this attack and apply the full force of the law."
New global poll: Workers in the digital economy deserve the same rights as workers in the real economy
21 June 2016: Technology itself is not a threat to decent work - it is how it is managed and in whose interest that matters, said international labour unions ahead of an OECD Ministerial meeting on the Digital Economy in Mexico.
"The digital revolution provides opportunities for decent jobs and quality services if governments regulate business behaviour as we expect them to do in traditional industries. The next wave of technology can play a huge role in the transformation to a zero-carbon / zero-poverty world, but governments need to accept their responsibilities to ensure that transition is just, and that social dialogue, labour rights, social protection and effective regulation are at the centre of the process," said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.
The ITUC 2016 Frontlines Poll found 82 per cent of people agree that companies which provide services using internet platforms should provide workers with the same rights and protections - sick leave, paid holidays, pensions and union representation - as other workers receive.
Labour unions set out a three-point social license to operate for all registered businesses that reply on digital platforms - they must:
The ITUC Frontlines Poll 2016 covering nine countries with 55 per cent of Global GDP and 45 per cent of the world's population demonstrates strong public support for governments to assert the rule of law in the digital economy.
Agreement was highest in those countries from Asia that were polled: China (91 per cent), South Korea (87 per cent) and India (86 per cent).
A large marjority of each population agreed with the statement: 84 per cent in Argentina, 81 per cent in Germany and the UK, 78 per cent in France and Canada and 70 per cent in the USA.
"The future of work starts now. Workers' rights must be respected, minimum wages on which workers can live with dignity must be guaranteed, and collective bargaining rights for all workers and social protection must be ensured. Decent work requires the rule of law," said Sharan Burrow.
"The dangers and risks accompanying the growth of platform work in the digital economy are not all new, as there are already plenty of outsourced janitors, retail workers or manufacturing workers in the 'old economy' that can explain what 'on demand' means in terms of underpaid, insecure jobs with restricted access to social security," said John Evans, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC).
"There is the need for collective bargaining rights for all workers. Trade unions are seeking to ensure that 21st-century technology does not result in 19th-century working conditions for platform workers. Allowing workers to organise in unions and bargain collectively have to be part of a 'new bargain' - workers and increasingly regulators recognise that it is important that the 'new economy' employers do as well."
TUAC is holding a special forum with civil society, private sector and public sector and union participants ahead of the OECD Ministerial to look at the specifics of ensuring that the digital economy has a positive overall impact on employment and economic equality (http://www.tuac.org/en/public/e-docs/00/00/12/30/document_doc.phtml).
Hyundai: stop union busting at your suppliers
21.06.2016: Friday 24 June marks 100 days since 41-year1-old Han Kwang1-ho, a union organizer at a Hyundai auto part supplier in South Korea, committed suicide.
Han, an elected union official for a branch of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU), suffered five years of intimidation, repression and attacks in retaliation for his trade union activities at YooSung Enterprise, a key supplier for Hyundai Motor Company.
In January this year, evidence revealed that Hyundai conspired with YooSung Enterprise and labour management-consulting firm, Changjo, to crush the union at the factory. Their extensive and aggressive anti-union campaign began in 2011 and continues to this day.
Just days before he took his own life, Han received yet another summons for questioning from YooSung prior to a disciplinary committee. It was just one of the many ways the company retaliated against him for his legitimate trade union activities at the plant. Between July and December 2013, YooSung filed 11 charges against Han with the police. When he killed himself, two bogus criminal charges against him were still pending.
YooSung's ongoing anti-union campaign has included: establishing a management1-friendly union; degrading and discriminatory disciplinary measures against union members; filing criminal and civil lawsuits against union activists; and routinely monitoring and observing union members.
The treatment of KMWU workers at YooSung's plant became so poor that a mental health survey showed that 43 per cent were at high risk of serious depression, compared to the general population in South Korea of 7 per cent.
According to documents obtained in a separate investigation by the Korean labour ministry in January 2016, Hyundai Motor Company received daily reports of the union-busting activity at YooSung and held regular meetings with YooSung's CEO and management from Changjo consulting.
Korean unions say Hyundai has led union busting campaigns at major suppliers including Valeo ESK, Bosch Electrical Drives, Continental, Mando and Sang-shin Break.
Union leaders and representatives from KMWU will be holding a memorial ceremony for Han in front of the Hyundai-Kia Motors head office in Seoul on Friday 24 June to commemorate 100 days since his death.
UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance demands IKEA USA stop anti-union activities
17 June 2016 The UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance condemns IKEA USA's anti-union actions at Stoughton, including spreading false and malicious messages implying a negative impact of unionisation. UNI's affiliate, the UFCW, filed for a union vote to be held under the country's national labour relations board rules. Following IKEA's stated policies, workers in the Goods-Flow-In department in the Stoughton store had already three times demonstrated publicly their strong desire to be represented by UFCW. But IKEA USA refused to recognise UFCW as their representative without an election.
Both global and US management had assured UNI and the UFCW as well as the workers in Stoughton that "management will ensure that IKEA's own co-worker principles will be upheld during the election process and guaranteed that co-workers will be able to enjoy a healthy environment to participate in the process and freely exercise their right to vote in the union election." IKEA USA management had furthermore given assurances that they will be engaging constructively with the Union should Co-Workers vote for representation by the UFCW in order to develop a constructive labor management relationship in the US.
But despite all those assurances IKEA USA is waging a coordinated and explicit misinformation campaign in the run-up to the forthcoming union elections. Workers are forced to sit through up to 2-hour long captive audience meetings during which management scares workers into believing that union representation may lose them existing benefits and pay and frame the election as choosing between the company and the union. IKEA USA brought workers from around the country to Stoughton to cover for the time when Stoughton workers were pulled off the floor and into these captive audience meetings.
UNI Global Union's Head of Commerce, Alke Boessiger said, "We believe that IKEA Global management has acted in good faith. Along with UNI and the UFCW and most importantly the workers at IKEA Stoughton, IKEA Global management has been misled by IKEA USA, which has chosen to go down the anti-union path following the discredited Walmart model of fighting unions. IKEA Global must not allow its reputation to be tarnished and must step in and instigate change to ensure this growing anti-union culture is not allowed to fester. The UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance is mobilising and will make sure the message from IKEA workers across the world is heard clearly: Pro-Union, Pro-IKEA - IKEA USA you are out of touch and out of line."
IKEA USA continues to refuse any dialogue with our affiliate, the UFCW, and has even begun anti-union actions in another store in Fort Lauderdale. The UNI IKEA Global Union stands strong with all US IKEA workers under attack and will continue its actions until IKEA USA changes course and follows the will of its workers by recognizing the UFCW as their representative.
John Deere unions meet to strengthen cooperation
17.06.2016 IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in North America, Brazil, Spain and Germany met in Detroit, Michigan on 13 and 14 June to advance IndustriALL's John Deere trade union network.
Affiliates agreed to take concrete steps to improve collaboration and strengthen the network at the US based, globally active manufacturer of agricultural, construction and forestry machinery.
Participants from India were unable to attend, due to visas difficulties. Finland was also not able to participate, but the Finnish metal union expressed its commitment to the network.
Participants shared information about the challenging economic climate and the state of collective bargaining with John Deere in their countries. United Auto Workers (UAW) representative Tim Bressler, who also chairs the network, gave insight into the American and global market for John Deere products.
As agreed at the previous year's network meeting, the discussions focused on specific issues, particularly a comparison of the industrial relations systems in the countries present at the meeting. This year, participants looked more deeply into the trade union systems of Spain and Germany. There was also a major focus on Brazil, where a political and economical crisis is the biggest challenge for IndustriALL affiliates in the sector.
Participants reconfirmed the joint working platform - the IndustriALL John Deere Network Guidelines and Principles : adopted the previous year, which defines the objectives of the network. By executing this working platform, the network will work on a further broadening its regional footprint and help trade unions to organize in their respective countries.
UAW vice president Norwood Jewell visited the network and confirmed the commitment of UAW to support and strengthen the network. Tim Bressler (UAW), Torsten Jann (IG Metall) and IndustriALL's director of mechanical engineering and materials industries, Matthias Hartwich, will take care of the network's progress and further activities. The network also decided to conduct another physical meeting next year.
Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL director, confirmed:
"IndustriALL Global Union is highly committed to fostering the John Deere network. It is one of the most important trade union networks in IndustriALL's mechanical engineering sector. It is important that we stand together and show trade union solidarity within the sector, and also the company specific networks, especially with our struggling brothers and sisters from Brazil and also our dear brothers and sisters in India, although they could not attend this time.
"At the same time, we must do more to encourage women to take an active role in the John Deere network."
Asian Supply Chain Countries Under ILO Spotlight
Brussels, 14 June 2016 (ITUC OnLine):: This month's ILO Conference in Geneva heard testimony from workers from a range of Asian countries, underlining the challenges workers have to overcome in the face of increased repression from governments and employers in the region.
Indonesian representatives testified about violent attacks on workers by police and armed thugs. When workers were shut out of wage-setting mechanisms and took to the streets in 2015 to protest, the authorities reacted by arresting more than 20 demonstrators and banning assemblies in key parts of the capital Jakarta.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: "The ITUC has called on the Indonesian Government to end the violence against workers and return to the bargaining table, but as yet to no avail. A government that ignores the country's constitutional commitment to consultation, and imposes a wage system that locks in wages that do not allow workers to live with dignity, is doing the bidding of corporate leaders who want to continue to exploit workers."
Workers from the Philippines reported an alarming rise in violence against union leaders, including extrajudicial executions, as well as legal manoeuvers such as the intentional misclassification of workers to remove them from the protection of the labour law. The election of President Duterte has heightened concerns, given his authoritarian style, violent rhetoric and links to death squads responsible for hundreds of murders.
Cambodian workers explained how recent labour legislation was actually a major step backwards and that they too had been the victims of anti-union violence and harassment via lawsuits.
"The decision to send ILO Direct Contacts missions to these three countries is a positive initiative, and should provide a first step towards ensuring that the governments concerned uphold their obligations under international law to protect workers' rights," said Burrow. "Governments should use this chance to guarantee freedom of association and the right to strike along with secure contracts of employment, a minimum living wage and collective bargaining rights."
Bangladeshi workers at the ILO Conference explained that while some steps had been taken to make factories safer, the government had done little to support freedom of association. Unions are still banned in the country's export processing zones and nothing is being done to sanction employers who have busted unions. Having failed to implement ILO recommendations for several years, this year the ILO Conference Standards Committee put the country on its "black-list" - known in ILO parlance as a "special paragraph".
Malaysia also faced scrutiny over its laws on collective bargaining. A member of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement, Malaysia also expected to implement wide-ranging changes to its labour laws to comply with the Agreement's labour chapter.
"Asian countries sit at the heart of global supply chains, but a model of trade that pays poverty wages, relies on insecure and often unsafe work and is based on violation of fundamental rights is not sustainable. We expect national leaders to stand up for their people and protect workers," said Burrow.