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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
IUF, US Unions Shake up Mondelez Shareholders Meeting with Call to End Human Rights Abuses
23-05-2013: The IUF and US unions called on corporate management to rectify human rights abuses in dramatic interventions at the company's first-ever shareholder meeting near Chicago on May 21. Mondelez workers and union supporters rallied outside to emphasize their concerns.
IUF general secretary Ron Oswald told the meeting "I traveled here from Switzerland because the people in this room, especially those who serve as directors and senior management at this company, need to know that Mondelez has violated and continues to violate the human rights of its workers in countries in North Africa, notably countries where people have made huge sacrifices in recent years to advance democracy and their access to these exact human rights."
In both Tunisia and Egypt, Oswald said, "Mondelez has attempted to squash independent and democratic union representation by firing union leaders. It has refused to bargain in good faith with its workers. These workers are seeking the same universal human rights that employees of Mondelez have elsewhere, including here in the United States."
John Howard, Secretary-Treasurer of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 1, said that "Mondelez ought to be a leader in countries like Egypt where people have risked their lives for democracy. What will Mondelez do to remedy violations of its own workers' rights in Egypt and why do they reject the offer of dialogue made repeatedly by the IUF?"
Brandon Rees, acting director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, emphasized the need to comply with international human rights standards: "The United Nations has adopted new guidelines on business and human rights known as the Ruggie Principles. This means that companies must take steps to avoid human rights violations. They must 'know and show' that they are respecting human rights. These human rights include the rights of workers to unionize and collectively bargain."
Outside the meeting, BCTGM and other union members in the Chicago area showed their solidarity and support with leaflets and banners. Will Mondelez listen?
BWI, IndustriALL and Lafarge Sign a New Global Framework Agreement in Presence of ILO Director-General
21 May 2013: Today, the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) and IndustriALL Global Union signed a new Global Framework Agreement with Lafarge on corporate social responsibility and international industrial relations. BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson states that "especially the commitments of Lafarge to apply agreed standards in its subcontractors and the commitment of the company and its subcontractors for direct employment are beyond those of its competitors and therefore standard setting for the cement industry". The agreement was signed in the presence of ILO Director-General.
Lafarge Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bruno Lafont expressed his satisfaction regarding this new agreement: "This agreement highlights the constant and positive dialogue between the Group and the Global Union Federations. It illustrates the coherence of our actions with our values in all our countries of operations".
This new agreement promotes Lafarge's commitment to international fundamental labor rights, recognizes the principles expressed in the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and upholds best practices regarding union rights and social dialogue. It also reinforces Lafarge actions in fields like health and safety or diversity thanks to new statements and a direct reference to the Group strategy with its "2020 Ambitions" on sustainable development.
IndustriALL's General Secretary, Jyrki Raina, states that for IndustriALL Global Union, "the provisions in the renewed agreement represent significant improvements for workers and trade unions, especially the provisions on freedom of association, subcontractors and the settlement of disputes. It is crucial to improve social dialogue between trade unions and management for the betterment of living and working conditions for cement workers across the world".
Regarding its business partners, this 2013 agreement states that Lafarge requires from its suppliers and subcontractors to respect the national legislation, as well as the fundamental human rights mentioned in the agreement and prohibits practices that aim to diminish the rights of migrant workers. From now on, as observer, the European Works Council's Secretary will attend the Reference Group annual meetings which review the implementation of the international agreement.
This new agreement was signed at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in presence of the Director-General, Guy Ryder, who stated: "The ILO welcomes the agreement which reinforces the commitment of Lafarge to the respect of workers' rights, including in the companies and sub-contractors that supply it. It is a good example of how social dialogue can positively impact on working conditions in a global context."
A world leader in building materials, Lafarge holds top-ranking positions in all three of its activities: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete. Lafarge employs 65,000 people in 64 countries. A first agreement was signed in 2005 in order to promote and protect worker's rights.
Communiqué: PSI Executive Board Meeting, 16-17 May 2013
20 May 2013: Ninety affiliate leaders of Public Services International, headed by 36 Executive Board titular members, met 16-17 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss issues facing public service workers and to adopt PSI action priorities for 2013 and beyond. Highlights from this meeting are outlined below.
PSI affiliates are:
Further to the 2013-2017 Programme of Action "Social Justice through Quality Public Services and Trade Union Rights," the core resolution endorsed by PSI affiliates at the recent World Congress - defending trade union rights and promoting quality public services are affirmed as central to every PSI activity.
Endorsed specific actions:
In conclusion, we are:
Source: Public Services International--PSI representing 20 million workers in 150 countries
Trade Unions Support European Parliament Demands for EU Action Against Wealthy Tax Dodgers
Brussels 17 May 2013: As the European Parliament is due to vote on 22 May on the report on Fight against Tax Fraud, Tax Evasion and Tax Havens by MEP Kleva Kekus (SL, S&D), trade unions in Europe encourage all MEPs to support it.
The draft report proposes concrete steps towards banning all tax havens and forcing transnational companies to pay their fair share of taxes on the huge profits they make. If adopted, it will send strong signals to the EU Summit on 22 May. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), which organizes, amongst others, workers in tax services, have been demanding for years from the EU concrete binding actions for tax justice and the end of ruthless tax competition, not empty promises. At a time when workers across Europe are facing deep austerity and the longest period of recession in the history of the European Union, tax justice is of the utmost importance. As austerity measures are coordinated at EU level, surely EU leaders can agree binding measures to cut down on tax dodging.
Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, EPSU General Secretary states that "It is estimated that one trillion Euros are lost to tax evasion and avoidance every year in the European Union, where cuts in public spending have been amongst the deepest and public anger is understandably growing. On top of that, as our research has shown, in most EU countries, austerity is depleting the tax services of the capacity of collecting taxes. If governments are serious about tackling the tax fraud industry they must ensure that tax administrations have the sufficient human and material resources to do so".
The EP report demands swift adoption in Council of the revised Directive on Taxation of Savings Income in the form of interest payments, and of the 2011 draft Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, and to extend country-by-country reporting for cross-border companies to all sectors.
Bernardette Ségol, ETUC General Secretary says: "Today it is clear to all that bank secrecy, offshore centres and tax havens steal revenue needed to finance our social welfare, as well as preventing sustainable growth. This, together with austerity policies across Europe, has greatly contributed to the increase in inequality, with global wealth now concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority. This undermines democratic institutions that are hijacked by powerful economic lobbies. It is time to act. We trust that if adopted, the European Parliament's report will not be ignored by EU governments".
"Stop the Race to the Bottom for All Time"
All countries - Geneva 16 May 2013: Commerce unions from all continents are here at UNI HQ today to thrash out plans for a new world of retail in the wake of the Bangladesh Factory Safety Deal. With news of an overnight Cambodian shoe factory collapse, union leaders are determined to reach a safe garment supply chain everywhere. IndustriALL and UNI Global Union in a powerful pact with leading NGOs, Clean Clothes Campaign and Workers Rights Consortium, have signed up leading global retailers to a legally-binding agreement to improve safety in Bangladesh.
During an emergency meeting of Global Commerce unions at UNI headquarters in Nyon today, UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, "The race to the bottom stops here. The tragic events in Cambodia overnight confirm that we need a new era of responsible retailing and we are here to see it gets done. The Bangladesh Accord has laid down a marker in the sand." Ruben Cortina, President UNI Commerce Global Union said, "The Bangladesh Accord is a point of departure. Retail unions want ethical sourcing everywhere."
The following companies have now signed on:
Jennings said there was one notable absentee - Walmart - who want to be their own judge and jury.
Bones Skulu, General Secretary, SACCAWU, the largest shop workers union in South Africa and UNI Africa President said, "We in South Africa are not surprised that Walmart has not signed up. This is further confirmation of their anti-worker stance." John Hannett, General Secretary of USDAW and President of UNI Europa Commerce said, "We will now follow up and enter talks with retailers in each of our nations to end the race to the bottom in the supply chain wherever garments are produced." Joe de Bruyn, General Secretary of the largest shop workers union in Australia, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and President of UNI Global Union said, "I appeal to retail companies everywhere, including Australia to get behind this agreement. We have an opportunity to change the retail industry forever."
More than 1,200 people died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh's largest industrial tragedy. There are already a number of confirmed dead from the shoe factory collapse in Kampong Speu province Cambodia and the number is expected to rise with up to 100 workers believed to have been in the building at the time of the collapse.
Greece: Solidarity With Teachers as Their Trade Union Rights Are Undermined
15 May 2013: EI and its European organisation, the ETUCE, have expressed solidarity with Greek teachers and their union in their call to maintain their right to strike. EI General Secretary Fred Van Leeuwen has formally asked the Greek Prime Minister Samaras to uphold the civil rights of teachers in the interests of the Greek education system.
Greece is facing an unprecedented austerity programme imposed as part of the bailout conditions drawn up by the Troika (International Monetary Fund [IMF], European Commission and European Central Bank). The teachers' union, OLME, says that the austerity cuts are effectively destroying the welfare state with tragic consequences for education and society as a whole.
ILO conventions must be honoured
Cuts, freezes, lay-offs
Falling number of teachers
EI and OECD viewpoints