LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns
Fast Food Global...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
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.
Launching the European trade union Alliance for Société Générale workers
27 February 2015: Eleven trade unions from the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Romania and Société Générale European Works Council members agreed on building an alliance to bring together workers in all countries where Société Générale operates within Europe.
The participants believe that Société Générale - unions, workers' representatives and management could be the leaders in the finance industry in developing a framework for international industrial relations. This trade union alliance will help to deliver this goal.
Signing a global agreement will provide the framework that will help to improve working conditions for working people in multinational companies.
The capacity of international co-operation between trade unions under the umbrella of UNI Europa Finance is a necessity.
A global agreement is regarded by the alliance as a vehicle to develop transnational industrial relations in the company. The agreement enables unions to achieve better conditions for workers on matters that go beyond national and European labour jurisdictions.
The alliance aims to achieve decent work and social dialogue by implementing the following:
The European Alliance will soon join the Société Générale UNI Global Alliance in a meeting scheduled to take place in Marrakech on April 13th-14th 2015.
Education heavyweights line up to support the rights of Korean teachers
26 February 2015: The Global Campaign for Education has called on the South Korean authorities to respect the basic union rights of teachers in a powerful statement of solidarity delivered at its world assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In a motion passed yesterday at its World Assembly, the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) took a strong stance against the aggressive anti-union tactics carried out by the South Korean Government that have targeted the Korean Teachers Union (KTU).
David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary of Education International (EI), championed the motion supporting the KTU, which he said "further demonstrates the power of collective action for educational justice." On behalf of EI, Edwards expressed special thanks to the UK's National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), both the UK Global and Argentine GCE coalitions, the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education, and the GCE for their unanimous support of the motion.
The South Korean Government, which is slated to host the World Education Forum in May - a major event focused on strengthening international commitments to the universal right to education - was singled out by the GCE it for its move to strip the union rights of more than 60,000 teachers.
South Korean authorities are urged to:
Education International is also celebrating the election of EI Executive Board Member Mugwena Maluleke from the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) to the GCE Board, the re-election of EI representative Monique Fouilhoux as GCE chair, and the re-election of Camilla Croso as GCE President.
The GCE, of which EI is a founding member, is a civil society movement working to end the global education crisis, and aims at ensuring that states deliver the right of a free, quality public education to all. The GCE World Assembly continues until the 28 February.
Severe union busting in Georgia
Feb 26, 2015: Georgia's leading mining company, Rich Minerals Group (RMG) is coming down on IndustriALL affiliate Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers' Union (TUMMCIWG) at their gold and copper operations.
Over last few weeks in February, RMG, producing more than 10 per cent of Georgia's total exports, harshly forced some 1,000 members of TUMMCIWG to terminate their union membership as a result of an increased coercion and persecution. The union busting began immediately after TUMMCIWG reminded the management to fulfill its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement signed on 23 March 2014 after a 40-day strike.
As soon as mining operations were resumed in December 2014, following the approval of the mining operations by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and the National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection, management started a full-fledged union busting campaign against union members at RMG Gold and RMG Copper. The site is reported to be one of the oldest in the world, dating back to almost 5000 years ago.
Employer's representatives forced employees to sign pre-printed union resignation letters. These acts of applied pressure are in violation of both national and international laws on human and trade union rights.
Tamazi Dolaberidze, TUMMCIWG's President, denounced the company in phone calls to several high-ranking company officials and warned them about criminal responsibility under the Georgian Criminal law. However the pressure still continues.
Several truck drivers who had refused to sign the resignation letters at the beginning, have been forced to do so, as management stopped transportation of the ore by leaving workers without work and pay during the forced idle time.
IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina wrote to the management of RMG urging to stop violations of law and to prevent further union busting. IndustriALL also demanded RMG to fulfill its obligations according to the agreement signed in March 2014.
Right to Strike Re-affirmed at ILO
Brussels, 25 February 2015 (ITUC OnLine): A breakthrough has been made at the International Labour Organization following two years during which employers at the International Labour Organization brought the UN body's global supervisory system to a standstill in an attempt to eliminate decades of ILO jurisprudence supporting the right to strike.
Union and employer representatives have now reached an understanding at a special ILO meeting this week to end the impasse, based on recognition of the right to take industrial action, backed by explicit recognition from governments of the right to strike, linked to ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association.
The agreement comes on the back of a hugely successful international union mobilisation on 18 February, which involved more than 100 actions in over 60 countries in support of the right to strike.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, "Having created the crisis, employer groups and some governments were refusing to allow the issue to be taken to the International Court of Justice even though the ILO Constitution says it should be. We've now managed to negotiate a solution which protects the fundamental right of workers to take strike action, and allows the ILO to resume fully its work to supervise how governments respect their international labour standards obligations."
Colombia: The fair victory of Sintravalores against the "Pacto Colectivo" en Prosegur
22 February 2015: Recently, the Department of Inspection, Monitoring and Control of the Ministry of Labor in Colombia has taken a momentous decision for Sintravalores industrial unionism. This union, in carrying out its objectives and ideals to protect the rights of men and women workers in the security sector, filed an administrative complaint against PROSEGUR, with head office in Spain, considering that it was illegally using "Pacto Colectivos" and benefit plans as a tool to attack the union and violate individual and collective freedom of association.
After many administrative procedures throughout the lawsuit, where it is important to highlight the abusive actions of the company who took advantage of administrative errors during the process, there was a favorable outcome for the union, with a fine against Prosegur of over 30 million pesos.
Besides the economic value, it is now politically clear that PROSEGUR in its role of employer, carries out illegal actions that must be attacked and condemned both by the supervisory bodies and by society, as these actions do not comply with the respect for constitutional rights and freedom.
Union action secures release of fishing crew abandoned by tuna giant Citra Mina
22 February 2015: After nearly six months in prison, forty-three fishermen abandoned by the Philippines' tuna company Citra Mina when their vessel was seized by the Indonesian government are returning home. The news was announced at a Manila press conference February 20 jointly organized by the IUF and the national center SENTRO, whose membership includes the union of Citra Mina workers.
Their ship, on an expedition financed by Citra Mina, was seized off the Indonesian cost on August 26 last year and the entire crew detained on Ternate Island. Their plight only surfaced when friends and family sought to locate them and union members at Citra Mina sought help. SENTRO and the IUF launched a campaign to free them which included urging the Philippines government to intervene with the Indonesian authorities to secure their release.
Citra Mina, whose profits rely on workers like those they abandoned, refused to take responsibility for the arrested crew members. "This demonstrates a pattern of abuse of workers' human rights throughout the Citra Mina supply chain, from fishermen to fish processing workers", said IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary Hidayat Greenfield. Rights abuses by Citra Mina, including the illegal termination of 237 workers who formed a legally registered union in 2013, will be the subject of hearings in the Philippines House of Representatives scheduled to begin on March 18. Congressman Waldon Bello, one of the sponsors of the hearings, also spoke at the press conference.
The successful release of the abandoned workers, who risked indefinite detention, was undertaken within the framework of the IUF's joint 'Catcher to Counter' initiative with the International Transport Workers' Federation. The initiative is working to defend rights and raise standards for all workers throughout the seafood industry.
Right to strike hits home in Mexico
Feb 20, 2015: In Mexico, the day of action on the right to strike on 18 February held a special significance for independent unions.
The government is fond of claiming that Mexico is a country of 'zero strikes'. In reality, though, this is not the result of meaningful social dialogue. Instead, it is confirmation of the fact that the right to strike does not exist in a void, but is a consequence of the right to freedom of association - a right which in practice does not exist in Mexico.
To mark the day of action, the plenary of the Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (UNT), in a session attended by some 500 participants, heard a message from IndustriALL Global Union and committed to join with other democratic organizations in defence of the right to strike.
The Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME) also invited IndustriALL regional officer Laura Carter to address over 800 members in an event to mark the day of action. And independent unions who were gathered in a coordination meeting supported calls for the government to defend the protection of the right to strike at the ILO.
Since the adoption of the Labour Law Reform in 2012, attacks on labour rights have increased. Independent unions and their democratically-elected leaders are routinely denied legal recognition while yellow unions and their corrupt 'protection contracts' are foisted on workers. Strikes, if they do occur, are frequently ruled illegal. The most recent example of the erosion of labour rights is the attempt to push through a constitutional reform that would deny the collective rights of thousands of workers employed in decentralized state bodies (namely, the reform of article 123 b).
The independent unions could also be impacted in the event the upcoming review of the application of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 87 and the follow-up to IndustriALL's complaint to the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association are pushed on the back burner as the result of the disruption to the work of the ILO supervisory bodies caused by the Employers' Group.
As a participant in the upcoming tripartite meeting on the right to strike and as a member of the ILO's Governing Body, the government of Mexico will have a voice in the decision on whether to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice for a definitive interpretation, which is the position supported by the international labour movement.
Global Right to Strike Action Sends Clear Message
Brussels, 19 February 2015 (ITUC OnLine): The 18 February global day of action to support the right to strike has proven to be a huge success, with more than 100 activities around the world reported to the ITUC. Unions in over 60 countries took action, with support in many cases from politicians, human rights organisations and community groups.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary said, "Workers and their communities are united in their determination to defend the right to strike against concerted moves by radical employer groups to end the rule of law at work. Governments are on notice that voters won't tolerate stripping away this most basic of rights, which is a foundation of democracy. And responsible bosses need to send a clear message to the radical employer fringe that workers too have human rights."
Employer representatives at the International Labour Organisation have been blocking global mechanisms which ensure respect for ILO standards, in an attempt to wipe out decades of international legal recognition of the right to strike under ILO Convention No. 87. This Convention, which guarantees freedom of association, is one of the most important global human rights treaties. Having created this dispute at the ILO, the employer groups are now stalling moves to follow the ILO's own Constitution which says that such disputes must be referred to the International Court of Justice for adjudication.
"Taking away the right to strike would return the world to feudal times, with employers having absolute power over their workforce. Thanks to the international rule of law, countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia with their feudal employment systems and the world's most closed dictatorship North Korea are, amongst others, exposed. The rule of law needs to be brought to work in all countries, rather than taken away," said Burrow.