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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...
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it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States
Fix My Job...Working America AFL-CIO
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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. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.

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Historic founding of new union federation in Spain

19 May 2016:   On May 12-13 the Industry, Construction, and Agriculture Workers Federation, UGT-FICA in Spain held its founding congress.

The new federation has over 300,000 members and was created as a result of the resolutions adopted at the 42nd Confederal Congress of the UGT, where six state federations within the UGT merged into three in order to optimize resources and provide better dynamic in the defence of workers.

"Today, you are making history. Today, you are taking a bold step forward in creating a new national federation that will bring together workers from the construction sector, graphics sector, agriculture sector, and the manufacturing sector," said BWI's general secretary Ambet Yuson when addressing the congress and continued:

"Governments promised economic recovery but instead they have introduced harsh austerity measures which has worsened the lives of working families. Trade unions are facing attacks where the very nature of our existence is under threat. To meet these challenges, we need new strategies rooted in the traditions of militant trade unions---solidarity, unity, and the fighting spirit," he said.

Elected officers include Carlos Romero as President, Pedro Hojas as General Secretary and Antonio Deusa as Deputy General Secretary.

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

Miners trapped underground at Impala Platinum in South Africa

19.05.2016:   IndustriALL Global Union is deeply concerned to learn that two workers are missing after a mine collapse in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Nine workers were trapped after a shaft collapsed at the Impala Platinum mine on Tuesday 17 May 2017. Seven were successfully rescued. Mining has been suspended, and the rescue operation is ongoing.

Four miners died in an underground fire at the same mine on 22 January this year.

The missing miners are rock drill operators, who do one of the most dangerous jobs in mining. South Africa's mines are among the deepest and most dangerous in the world.

Three miners also remain trapped underground at the Lily gold mine in South Africa, after a collapse on 5 February. Mining operations were suspended, and miners were encouraged to accept a very poor voluntary severance package, leading to mass pickets at the site.

IndustriALL is concerned at a spate of mining accidents across the world this year. The global commodity crisis has hit mining profits, leading some producers to cut corners to reduce costs.

Livhuwani Mammburu, spokesperson for IndustriALL affiliate the National Union of Mineworkers' said: "Major multinational corporations like Impala Platinum which should be industry leaders in creating a safety culture are doing far too little to prevent fatal accidents. And the situation will not get better by itself.

We call on the department of mineral resources inspectorate to hold the mining industry fully accountable for its failures and adopt a no-nonsense approach when it comes to injuries and fatalities in the mining industry."

IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane said: "Mining remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, because mining companies put profit before the safety of miners. A voluntary approach won't help: we need countries to ratify and implement ILO Convention 176 on safety and health in mining.

"Implementing this convention will create a strong safety culture from the ground up, and introduce serious sanctions for companies that fail to take safety seriously".

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

Colombia / US Trade Agreement Faces Workers' Rights Test

Brussels, 17 May 2016 (ITUC OnLine):   The US/Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is being tested in a landmark case in the US brought by Colombian and US trade unions, which details the consistent failure of the Colombian government to fulfil its obligations to respect international labour standards and protect workers from violence, abuse and exploitation. The case, lodged with the US government, will be a key test of the value of labour clauses in the TPA and other international trade pacts. It cites two of the more serious examples - a four-year campaign of violence and intimidation by Canadian-based multinational Pacific Rubiales against its 12-thousand strong workforce, and sugar company Ingenio La Cabana, which has a similar track record.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "These companies are responsible for sustained campaigns of physical violence and intimidation against their own workforce - people who have been trying to get their employers to respect their right to form or join a union. This violates the responsibilities that the US and Colombia both signed up to in the TPA. Both governments have a responsibility to workers, rather than simply letting powerful corporations behave like dictatorships. Colombia's government has failed to protect its own people, and now the US government should fulfil its responsibility to act as it should under the TPA provisions."

Where labour clauses have been included in trade agreements negotiated between two or more countries, they generally have relatively weak enforcement mechanisms or none at all, and this case will be a major test of such clauses, given Colombia's notorious labour rights reputation. A similar case is expected to be brought soon under the Canada/Colombia trade pact. The EU/Colombia agreement, however, includes no enforcement mechanism to support workers' rights.

In the 3 years since the US/Colombia TPA has been in force, workers attempting to exercise their rights have suffered at least 1,466 threats and acts of violence, including 99 assassinations, 6 kidnappings and 955 death threats.

The complaint, lodged with the US Office of Trade and Labor Affairs, is being brought by the national trade union centres CUT and CTC Colombia, AFL-CIO USA, Colombian unions SINTRAINAGRO and USO, and the Corporacion Colombiana para la Justicia y el Trabajo.

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

Union wins back workers' jobs

Eighteen sacked workers at the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) have been reinstated after the Workers' Union of the Solomon Islands (WUSI) and the ITF intervened.

12/05/2016:   According to WUSI the workers were fired in retaliation for WUSI applying for union recognition at SIPA.

WUSI won a case in the High Court that ordered the reinstatement of all the workers, and ITF general secretary Steve Cotton wrote to the prime minster of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, calling on him to intervene.

Tony Kagovai from WUSI said: "The letter gave the government and SIPA the impression that the international trade union movement is supportive of WUSI and its sacked workers.

"It was a great morale booster and provided a strong basis for our discussions with the government and the SIPA board."

WUSI is now negotiating an agreement with SIPA to pay all of the reinstated workers their lost earnings.

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

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