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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.
IFJ Calls for Press Freedom and Safety of Journalists in Venezuela
7 March 2014: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined its regional group, the Federation of Journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean (FEPALC), to express solidarity with and deep concern for media colleagues in Venezuela.
According to reports at least 62 media workers were victims of abuse and/or harassment in the country during February. The IFJ and FEPALC have condemned all acts of violence against media workers and demanded that freedom of speech and press freedom are upheld in Venezuela, while also calling for the safety and protection of journalists to be guaranteed.
"We stand in solidarity with our affiliate, the National Union of Press Workers of Venezuela, and we offer our support to journalists and media staff covering events in Venezuela during this hugely difficult period," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "We call on all those involved to guarantee the freedom and safety of all aspects of the country's press and we demand an immediate end to the appalling intimidation, abuse and violence of media professionals in the country over the course of the last month."
PSI Statement: International Women's Day
March 05, 2014: Public Services International joins its members around the world in celebrating women and their achievements on 8th of March. PSI promotes the work of women trade unionists and stands united with all of our sisters who deliver vital public services.
On the eve of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, that will focus in its 58th session on the post-2015 development agenda, we have to recognize that a lot of work remains to be done to achieve gender equality. Austerity and globalization have pushed millions of women out of the labour market and most of the jobs created in the last decades are short-term, part-time, temporary, casual or informal and largely precarious. A majority of these lower paid, less protected workers are women.
Wage inequality explains a big part of income inequality, because the share of wages in total income declined over the last two decades in 70 % of countries with available data, despite an increase in employment rates globally whereas the share of profits in national income increased virtually everywhere (ILO). Around the world, the gender wage gap remains a reality across the board, including in the public sector. To address and redress income inequality, the post-2015 Development Agenda must, above all, focus on employment, well-being and social security. This means that it must also address gender inequity in the labour market and must address social policies. This requires policies and laws to protect all workers, whether in the informal or the formal economy, and to ensure compliance, instead of impunity, of anti-discrimination and living wage legislation as well as core labour standards. In addition, gender sensitive policies that take account of the constraints and the discrimination faced by women and of the unpaid care work carried out by women - must be designed and implemented.
Free trade agreements and massive tax evasion by multinational companies and others have undermined the ability of states to implement public policies that increase the income position of low-income groups, because of international legal constraints and decreased government revenues. To address economic and social inequality effectively, the post-2015 development agenda must provide an earmarked policy space for governments and social partners to define and then implement efficient policies for employment and for social transfer - at the same time as carving out public services from trade agreements. But inequality cannot be addressed through economic and labour policies alone. The post-2015 Agenda must include a goal on the implementation of social protection floors as defined in the Bachelet Report and the ILO Recommendation 202 that sets an international standard to be applied at national level. To truly reverse growing inequality and strive to achieve equity, targets must be established for the basic social security guarantees that include universal access to essential health care and basic income security to protect standards of living when people are sick, unemployed, disabled and old, or cannot work when having to care for infants or sick family members.
PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli says "The Post 2015 Development Agenda is relevant for all countries in the world. We want the UN to promote policies that will have a real impact on gender equality and social equity. Inclusion in society is the only means to the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. PSI works together with all its affiliates to achieve that goal."
Greece: Education Unionists Face Down Police Violence
03 March 2014: On 28 February, the Greek Federation of Secondary State School Teachers (OLME), one of EI's national affiliates, organised a demonstration in Athens against the proposed dismissal of 12,500 education workers by 22 March. This demonstration took place at the same time as the Troika's representatives were discussing permanent teachers and other public servants' dismissals with Greek Government Ministers. Demonstrators underwent a violent attack from the police forces, with 18 demonstrators arrested and four injured and transferred to the hospital.
"We denounce the unprecedented violent incidents caused by the police's continuous attacks wherever we protest against the suspensions and dismissals, and against the policies of the Greek Government, the IMF and the EU," said OLME President Themis Kotsifakis, who was among those arrested. "The Government, scared by the growing reaction of workers struggling for their right to permanent and stable jobs, released the forces of repression to terrify us."
Struggle will continue
EI: Right to demonstrate must be respected
BWI Begins Steps for Fair Play Fair Games Campaign in South Korea
2 March 2014: Pyeongchang with a population of nearly 45,000 in Gangwon province, South Korea will be the site for the 2018 Winter Olympics and the 2018 Winter Paralympics. In anticipation that the preparations for construction of various facilities connected with these two international Games will begin soon, the BWI met with its affiliate, the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions to discuss how to launch BWI's Fair Play Fair Games Campaign in South Korea.
According to Lee Yong Dae, President of the KFCITU, the Gangwon Branch of the Korean Construction Workers Union have already started to organize workers working on the construction of the high speed rail way from Seoul to Pyeongchang as well in the construction of main roads leading up to the Olympic site. Much of the construction of the Olympic venue facilities, athlete's village, offices, and hotels are to begin this May.
With an estimated workforce of 300,000 in the next four years, the organizing potential is enormous and a bit daunting for the KFCITU; however, the union is ready to meet the task. "We anticipate a lot of resources both financial and labour will be required to ensure that decent work is at the core of the construction leading up to the Olympics in 2018," stated President Lee. He continued, "Recognizing this, we have set up a committee within the Organizing Department to assist the Gangwon Branch in outreaching to construction workers. We will also work at the provincial and national level to secure an agreement with both provincial governments and construction companies for agreements of guiding principles outlining safety and health issues and labour standards in all construction related to the Winter Olympics."
BWI representatives Tos Anonuevo and Jin Sook Lee along with the Kwon Hyuk Beom, Branch Director of the Gangwon Local Union Branch of the Korean Construction Workers Union affiliated to KFCITU and Oh Hee Teak, General Secretary of KFCITU met with the representatives of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee to discuss the importance of ensuring decent work for construction workers in the preparations for the Winter Olympics.
Choi Mun-Sin, the Director of Venues Construction and Infrastructure Department stressed that issues related to the working conditions of construction workers should be addressed to Gangwon Provincial Government rather than the local organizing committee as it only had the responsibility of ensuring that the construction was within the budget and completed on time. However, after the nearly one hour meeting, the Committee members recognized the need to ensure that the legacy of the 2018 Winter Olympics should differ than that of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics where close to 60 workers were killed, hundreds of migrant workers exploited under slave-like conditions, and numerous cases of workers being unpaid for their work.
This was further reiterated by Kwon Hyuk Beum, "We need to make sure that there are no accidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths, no incidents where workers suffering from back wages, and below agreed upon wages or it would be an international embarrassment for the organizers as the international spotlight is now shining on Korea in the build-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics."