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ILO ACTRAV: Work-related stress: What impact in the public services?   |   Labor Press: Verizon Encourages Strike Breaking   |   Truthout: "Nestle Is Trying to Break Us": A Pennsylvania Town Fights Predatory Water Extraction   |   The Nation: The Guggenheim Doesn't Want Labor Activists Interfering With Its Luxurious Abu Dhabi Outpost   |   BlueGreen Alliance Statement on Signing of Paris Climate Agreement   |   International Workers Memorial Day - April 28, 2016

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LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns

World Day For Decent Work

Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK
Re-Run the Vote: No World Cup Without Workers Rights...
International Trade Union Confederation
Decent Work...
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


Union Yes

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.

The Union Edge
Workers Independent News

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

One Worker Dies Every 15 Seconds Due to Employer Negligence

Brussels, 28 April 2016 (ITUC OnLine):   As ceremonies around the world take place on the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers, the ITUC has warned negligent employers of the consequences of putting workers' lives at risk. Worldwide, one worker dies every 15 seconds due to occupational injury or illness.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: "Over two million workers die needlessly every year because their workplaces are dusty, dirty and dangerous. The risks are as obvious as they are preventable, whether they are falls from height, crippling workloads or chemical exposure. Every single death represents an employer's failure to act."

Occupational cancers alone kill at a rate of one worker every minute worldwide, Burrow says. "Yet pressure from corporate interests means that even asbestos, one of the worst industrial killers, is banned in only a minority of countries. This is not legitimate business activity - it is criminal behaviour."

Trade unions in more than 70 countries are marking the International Commemoration Day with a demand for 'Strong laws, Strong enforcement and Strong unions' as the only way to stop the carnage at work.

According to Burrow, "Many studies show that the presence of a union in any workplace has a strong positive effect on the health of the workforce and the economy. Combined with effective enforcement, active workplace participation delivers safer, healthier workplaces. Responsible businesses know this and benefit as a result & in retention of valued and trained staff, reduced costs and higher productivity. But there are still governments which are intent on removing 'regulatory burdens' by weakening labour laws and safety requirements. They are putting lives at risk, and also jeopardising safety-related productivity gains. The best regulated economies are usually the safest and most successful."

Public scrutiny of corporations, and their top executives, is now at an all-time high and will continue to increase, meaning that companies that seek to hide dirty and dangerous work down their supply chains can expect to suffer reputational damage. Repression of press freedom and curtailment of social media, evident in an increasing number of countries, is not stopping the world at large hearing of the tragic consequences of company negligence and disregard for workers' lives.

"From the Rana Plaza garment factory disaster to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the global firms responsible have been subjected to a previously unheard of level of sustained criticism and public scrutiny," Burrow said. "The jail term handed this month to former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for the death of 29 miners in a US coal mine blast is a reminder that for irresponsible bosses, the boardroom may no longer be a safe haven. Unions would rather see safe and healthy workplaces than an irresponsible employer behind bars. But if workers don't get prevention, they will seek justice. The right to come home safely from work, and live a full life without suffering occupation illness, is a permanent campaign for unions everywhere."

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories and has 333 national affiliates

African women stand up for better conditions

26.04.2016:   36 women delegates from IndustriALL affiliates in Sub-Saharan region gathered in Accra, Ghana to discuss challenges faced by women of the region and the ways to overcome them.

The delegates welcome the 40 per cent quota adopted by the world women committee of IndustriALL last year and resolved that only united can they find a solution to their problems.

Addressing the participants of the meeting Issa Aremu, IndustriALL executive committee member representing affiliates of the region underlined the importance of women work and said, "women's issues are not only problems of the women, these are trade union problems and will be supported by the whole organization."

Monika Kemperle, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, focused on the IndustriALL maternity protection campaign and health and safety.

In particular, Kemperle raised the issue of the specific health and safety needs of women workers', which are different from men's. Referring to the women of the region, she stressed their need to have a better job protection during pregnancy. No pregnancy testing should be allowed by employers, and they should be prevented from discriminating against women, or making them redundant based on their pregnancy. On the other side, employers should arrange the transfer of pregnant women to lighter jobs.

According to numerous reports of the participants, they have the opposite experience with employers in their countries. Women often do not want to report their pregnancy because of the fear of losing their job or being downgraded as useless. Some reported that employers in the region try to undermine existing collective labour agreements by decreasing time for maternity leave or not providing breastfeeding women with adequate facilities.

Some unions in the region already negotiate introduction of clauses on maternity protection into their collective agreements, but more work is to be done to promote ratification of the relevant ILO Convention 183. So far there are only 31 countries, which ratified the Convention out of 187 ILO member states.

Kemperle also insisted that employers must pay more attention to stress and psychosocial health effects faced by women. Paid maternity leave should not be subject of abuse by men, and different types of families should be taken into account. Fathers need to take their part of responsibilities to allow women to get at least some relief from their double burden between work and house tasks.

Unions in the region should do more work for women on HIV/AIDS prevention and workers must take their part of responsibility for maternity by attending clinics. A lot more enlightening work regarding HIV/AIDS needs to be done to fight prejudices and stigmatization of the disease, which impedes attempts to address the problem in a proper way.

The issue of violence and sexual harassment remains very important and needs to be addressed on a systematic basis. Women in male-dominated jobs usually have a good education, but still have to fight with gender-based prejudices.

The participants resolved that in order to tackle the problems raised, special anti-harassment training should be introduced through union networks, collective and global framework agreements. Also IndustriALL should lead a permanent fight against violence against women.

At the end of the meeting the participants discussed a concrete action plan and strategy paper on how to tackle the issues raised. With the support of IndustriALL, women activists of the Sub-Saharan region will:

  • organize training in health and safety,
  • encourage enlightenment work on HIV/AIDS,
  • promote the ratification of ILO Convention 183,
  • negotiate inclusion of maternity related matters into CBAs,
  • organize and take an active participation in different action days regarding occupational health and safety, violence against women, precarious work, and more.

At the same time unions of the region will implement the 40 per cent quota, and build a communication exchange platform.

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 600 unions in 140 countries

Bangladesh: Government's Anti-Union Actions Prompt Complaint to ILO

25 April 2016:   Three years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse killed over 1,200 workers, persistent and growing violations by the Bangladesh government of its responsibility to respect workers' rights have led the ITUC to lodge a Freedom of Association case at the International Labour Organisation.

With the Registrar of Trade Unions refusing legitimate registration applications for unions in the garment and other sectors, workers are being deprived of their right to collective representation, and local employers continue to repress union activity with impunity.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "While the Bangladesh Accord is saving lives, the authorities are still colluding with local factory bosses to repress workers' rights. Few employers have agreed to bargain with registered trade unions for decent pay and conditions. The government continues to show callous indifference to the very people who contribute most to the economy, putting key export markets at risk."

The case, which will be heard by the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association, details how the government has rejected nearly 75 per cent of union registrations in 2015 for spurious reasons, sought the dissolution of existing unions, and stood idly by when factory management have engaged in union-busting in contravention of the Bangladesh Labour Act and criminal law. Some union leaders have been beaten and hospitalised, while in other cases all the members of union executive boards have been sacked.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories and has 333 national affiliates

Earth Day: Paris agreement signing in New York marks major milestone towards fossil free future

22 April 2016:   Today, on Earth Day, at least 168 nations will sign the historic Paris Climate Agreement in New York against a backdrop of growing voices calling for a just transition towards a world powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

On the 12th of December 2015, the world leaders from 195 nations had agreed to the first universal climate agreement at the end of the COP21 summit in Paris. This agreement sets the ambitious goal of keeping us well below a 2℃ global temperature increase, or 1.5℃, which will require deep emission cuts and efforts from all parts of society to avoid potential catastrophic changes.

2016 is already bringing deadly heatwaves in India, drought in southern Africa, record-breaking cyclones in the Pacific and coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

The official signing is a major milestone as it will open the ratification process. To come into force, the Paris Agreement needs to be ratified by at least 55 Parties, representing at least 55% of world emissions.

For Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, "a swift adoption of the Paris agreement is a necessary step to ramping up climate action and maintaining momentum in the months following Paris COP21. Therefore we encourage all union affiliates to keep the pressure up on their national leaders to ratify the agreement as soon as possible."

"With leaders reaffirming their own commitment to the transition, attention will now shift to ensuring they implement and improve the Paris Agreement and urgently move towards a healthier, fairer, more prosperous and fossil free future for all."

UNI Global Union is also preparing a new initivative on climate change and labour with various partners including the ILO, WHO, IOM, IOE, ITUC, UNDP and the Climate Vulnerable Forum on the occasion of the International Workers Memorial Day (28th of April). A new report will be launched on this special occasion showing that the impacts of climate change and heat-related events on labour productivity and health is a major social and economic issue which has been overlooked until now. The report will be published on that day on the UNI dedicated site:

Source:  UNI Global Union--UNI represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions worldwide

FIFA is finally taking the first step

22 April 2016:   Today FIFA's President Gianni Infantino announced that it would, "create an oversight body with independent members to ensure decent working conditions at FIFA World Cup stadiums." Many international organizations including BWI has been pressing FIFA to take more responsibility to conduct due diligence and use its leverage in Qatar.

"As a global organization that represents millions of construction workers including those in Qatar, the BWI looks forward to engage with FIFA as we have done with other international institutions such as the ILO and construction companies to develop concrete mechanisms that would have real impact for construction workers on the ground where they work and where they live," stated Ambet Yuson, General Secretary.

FIFA has finally recognized that workers are part of the team in stating that "labour issues especially in the construction sector are a global challenge," and that "everyone involved has a shared responsibility."

Source:  Building and Wood Workers International--BWI uniting 12 million members in 328 trade unions in 130 countries

Celebration as Polish dockers' union wins new deal

"The ITF family has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them as they have fought against the belligerent and intimidatory tactics of previous management. We are hopeful that dockers there can have better standards that are consistent with those in neighbouring countries. It is no less than they deserve."

20/04/2016:   That from ITF dockers' section vice-chair Torben Seebold after a collective bargaining agreement was signed between ITF-affiliated Polish dockers' union Solidarność and Deepwater Container Terminal (DCT) Gdansk.

It brings an end to a bitter three-year dispute that has included complaints from the union over victimisation and harassment by the employer and the firing of union leaders. There has been support from the global trade union community with demonstrations at DCT Gdansk and in other European countries targeting the bank that owns the port, Macquarie.

The historic agreement, valid until 31 March 2019, covers pay rates, hours of work, holidays and general conditions for 600 workers at the fast-growing new terminal in northern Poland. A second terminal is due to open next year and the workforce will grow to 1500 workers as the port seeks to become the main gateway to Russia and central Europe.

Seebold said: "We are sending out an important message to all port owners; we will not let you get away with trying to drive down pay and conditions by building new ports and employing cheap labour."

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 700 unions from 150 countries

Bosch World Works Council addresses worker concerns

20.04.2016:   Unions raised their voice at Bosch through the company's World Works Council on 12-14 April, in Abstatt, Germany.

This was the fourth meeting of the World Works Council at Bosch. The worker representatives from 37 countries exchanged information on their employment conditions in the respective countries and sections of the company.

This huge German company makes products from electronics to car parts.

IndustriALL Global Union Director for the Auto Industry, Helmut Lense stated: "At this body we aim to improve coordination between Bosch workers throughout the global operations. We receive from the corporate management important information on the company's plans and how they will affect workers. And of course it is an important opportunity for us to raise our concerns from around the world with top&@45;level management. I want to see this meeting happen every two years instead of every three."

Christoph Kübel, Member of the Management Board and Director of Industrial Relations at Bosch, delivered a company overview, corporate policy and strategy to the meeting. Kübel addressed how technological changes will affect the company.

"Thanks to Industry 4.0, work as we know it today will be transformed. Work will be increasingly guided. Our goal is to train our staff, protect jobs and use this new technology step by step."

Worker representatives were able to raise their local issues with corporate management, for example the 263 jobs cut in Adugodi, India, and the barriers to trade union organizing at Bosch in Mexico.

Chair of the Works Council, Alfred Löckle said: "It is not about choosing between man and machine, the question is how to incorporate both together. On labour issues, while social dialogue has been improved in most sites, we still hear many examples of local management trying to impede local, regional and international representation bodies."

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 600 unions in 140 countries

US Congresswoman Urges World Bank Moratorium on Water Privatisation

20 April 2016:   Gwen Moore wrote to president Jim Yong Kim to critique the World Bank Group and its private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, over its policies and lending practices that favour water privatisation.

As the World Bank ends its annual Spring meeting, civil society activists are increasing the pressure against privatization. In the USA, the NGO Corporate Accountability International worked with Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Senior Democrat on the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, which is tasked with oversight of the World Bank Group (WBG).

In this capacity, Ms. Moore wrote to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to critique the WBG and its private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) over its policies and lending practices that favour water privatisation.

Ms Moore pointed to serious conflicts of interest in these practices, and suggested that the WBG "cease promoting privatization of water resources until there has been a robust outside evalutation of the IFC conflicts policy and practices."

PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli welcomed this initiative: We congratulate Congresswoman Moore for her willingness to pressure the World Bank and we expect a serious response from President Kim. For too long, the Bank has imposed the privatisation dogma on many countries, without seriously assessing the impacts on public health, and on social and economic development. PSI will share this with our affiliates and encourage them to support similar initiatives such that Ms. Moore's voice is not the only one.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 20 million workers in 669 affiliates in 154 countries

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