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
Stand Up for the Cablevision 99%...
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.
Labour dispute resolved at ThyssenKrupp in Italy
Dec 19, 2014: Unity and determination from Italian unions has brought an end to one of the longest and most difficult labour disputes at Acciai Speciali Terni (AST), a steel factory owned by the multinational German group, ThyssenKrupp, located in Umbria, Italy.
Over a three-day vote from 15 to 17 December, AST workers voted by an 80 per cent majority to approve the agreement negotiated by their union representatives and the company management.
The extraordinary mobilizations and series of protests held by AST workers and their unions, IndustriALL Global Union affiliates FIM-CISL, FIOM-CGIL, and UILM have been critical in resolving the dispute.
A 40-day strike by AST workers had a huge impact on the negotiations and resulted in the company revising its plans to considerably reduce stainless steel production at its Terni facility where 2,398 workers are employed.
The plan would have led to the stoppage of one of two furnaces and at least 575 workers could have been made redundant, with many more affected indirectly.
As part of the agreement, the company will keep both furnaces running for at least four years with the guarantee to maintain current production volume of one million tons per year. The company also foresees substantial investment in the AST facility.
Although some staff will be released strictly on voluntary basis, the fundamental clause about safeguarding workplaces is resolved in the interests of workers. The unions are continuing to negotiate on behalf of workers employed though third-party companies.
Fernando Lopes, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary praised the results of the vote by AST workers, "We salute determination and militancy of our Italian brothers and sisters, this victory is another proof that that unity and decisiveness are the most important parts of our union strength and success."
Supply Chains, Forced Labour and Climate Action top ITUC 2015 Agenda
Brussels, 18 December 2014 (ITUC OnLine): Tackling exploitation in global supply chains, campaigning against modern slavery and action for industrial transformation to reduce carbon emissions will be "frontlines" for action in 2015, following the ITUC's annual General Council meeting which ended on 18 December in Brussels.
"We have an ambitious work programme for the coming year, following through on our agenda to build workers' power which we set out at our Berlin Congress last May", said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "The scale of exploitation in global supply chains, the acceptance of modern slavery in the world economy and the failures of government and much of industry to face the reality of destructive climate change will be centrepieces of an ambitious ITUC agenda in the coming year. With our national affiliates and regional structures, our global union federation partners and in alliance with others, we will hold governments and employers to account for violations of workers' rights whenever and wherever they happen. The challenges are substantial, and we are ready to overcome them as a united and determined global trade union movement."
A Resolution on defending the right to strike, which employer groups are attacking at the ILO, includes a commitment to global action on 18 February, and plans for stepping up action to defend workers' rights, especially in a target list of "countries at risk", were adopted. An ITUC Statement on Global Risks put the spotlight on the shrinking of democratic space and the rise of nationalist and extremist sentiment, which sets the stage for broader action around conflict zones, attacks on democracy and confronting xenophobia and political populism. Defence of migrant workers' rights, with the world facing its biggest refugee crisis in 70 years, featured prominently in the Council's deliberations. The ITUC endorsed a Statement for its Pakistan affiliate PWF condemning this week's brutal terrorist attack on the school in Peshawar which cost some 150 lives.
The General Council's discussion on the deteriorating global economic situation, with particular focus on the need for governments and international institutions to and destructive austerity policies and tackle unemployment and inequality, led to a clear agenda for advocacy and campaign action for social and economic justice in the coming year. This was also reflected in the ITUC's commitments to shape the UN's post-2015 development agenda.
Plans to accelerate and deepen the work of the ITUC global Organising Academy were adopted, following the involvement of over 350 trainees in 2014.
The Council also welcomed the adoption by the International Olympic Committee of labour standards criteria for cities bidding for future Olympics events, with discussions to be held between the IOC, ITUC and Global Union Federations (GUFs) early in 2015 to work on implementation.
"This welcome step by the IOC is in stark contrast to the refusal of FIFA to act effectively on modern slavery in the infrastructure for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and the appalling decision of the IAAF to hold the 2017 athletics championships in Qatar after receiving a Euros 30million inducement from the Gulf monarchy", said Burrow. National trade union organisations and GUFs reported on their national and sectoral campaigns to bring an end to the kafala system in Qatar, the world's richest country, and in other Gulf states.
The 88-member Council, with national union leaders from over 70 countries, is the main decision-making body of the 176 million-member ITUC between its quadrennial Congresses.
Nine new member organisations were accepted into ITUC affiliation: CGTA Algeria, CEDOCUT Ecuador, LLC Lesotho, CITU and CTSP Mauritius, UFTUM Montenegro, CONUSI Panama, KMU Philippines and FESTU Somalia. ZSSS Slovenia was accorded ITUC Associated Organisation status. "We are pleased to accept these new organisations into membership of the ITUC, to strengthen their position at home, and to enable them to join fully in the decision-making and actions of the world's trade union body," said Burrow.
EI and PSI agree to work together for public services
18 December 2014: Education International and Public Services International have launched an agreement that will see the two global union federations working closely together to tackle key issues in education and in the provision of public services generally.
In signing a cooperation agreement this morning, Education International (EI) and Public Services International (PSI) look to combine their resources to help strengthen both federations and their affiliates.
"Today's agreement is an important benchmark in the close working relationship between the federations. It will help both EI and PSI to better carry out more effectively the important work of promoting and defending public services and the unions which represent those providing them," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.
Together, EI and PSI represent roughly 50 million workers, of whom 60 percent are women.
With more than 30 million members and 401 affiliates in 171 countries, EI is the largest union of educators in the world. While PSI, located in 154 countries and territories, has members working in various social service areas, including education where the union represents education support personnel.
The agreement paves the way for the two organisations to combine common interests and efforts, through collaboration on numerous projects and campaigns, helping both unions achieve their goals.
The closer working relationship will allow EI and PSI to cover more issues and areas around the world through shared resources. The agreement makes it clear that both organisations will "refrain from any efforts to recruit member organisations" already affiliated with the other federation.
The agreement reinforces the role of the two international organisations, stating that EI recognises that PSI is responsible for staff in the civil and public service or in the public domain where they are part of contracted or sub-contracted public services., while PSI, in turn, recognises that EI is responsible for staff in the education domain, whether in public education or private education. It also acknowledges that both PSI and EI have affiliates that organise education support workers.
ITUC Statement on Human Rights Day
Brussels, 10 December 2014 (ITUC OnLine): Today, 64 years since the United Nations declared December 10 a Human Rights Day, the world is witnessing an unprecedented attack on one of the most fundamental human rights of all, the right to strike.
Virtually every country in the world recognises that workers have the right to take strike action. Some 90 countries have it enshrined in their national constitution.
From the first struggles for the 8-hour day and for fair wages, for safety and health at work, for weekly rest days and freedom from discrimination and exploitation at work, the fundamental right of working people to withdraw their labour has provided a crucial foundation for social and economic progress. And when people rise up against dictatorship and political oppression, their right to strike has always been, and always will be, a non-negotiable bedrock of democracy.
Only in the most totalitarian of dictatorships is the right to strike denied.
Employer organisations are now seeking to take away that right in international law. They intend to change the balance of power in the workplace and in society for the worse, and forever.
When democracy is expanding, workers and their unions have more space to work for economic and social justice and equality. When democratic space is being closed, as is happening in so many countries today, workers and their unions find themselves under attack.
For more than 100 years, when employers and governments have refused dialogue and negotiation and instead imposed their will, workers have still taken the step and faced the risks of withdrawing their labour. That will not change.
Taking away the right to strike removes the final bulwark against oppression. The international trade union movement is firm in its resolve to resist the assault on this most basic right. We are the force of opposition, and we are the force of progress. Taking away the right to strike would turn us all into slaves. We will not allow that to happen.
Stand for democracy at work on Human Rights Day!
10 December, 2014: "Everyone must enjoy full access to decent work, education, health, safety and peace," says Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary. On International Human Rights Day, PSI calls on its affiliates and activists to unite and stand firm against the attack on core labour rights and freedoms.
Over the last few years, an unprecedented attempt to limit freedom of association and the right to strike has unfolded within the International Labour Organization &@40;ILO). Since 2012, the employers' organizations have tried to rule out the right to strike.
As a result, the very essence of democracy at work is at risk, with additional pressure for trade unions at the national level.
Not surprisingly, precarious work is on the increase almost everywhere while social protest tends to be criminalised, seriously threatening the achievements of social dialogue.
With the support of international financial institutions and lobbied by corporate interests, governments continue to pursue an ultra-liberal agenda, along with failing austerity measures.
Yet, the trade union movement keeps fighting.
Workers' organisations are at the forefront in opposing a new wave of trade agreements that might commodify public services and question national sovereignty, while benefiting multinationals, instead of the workers and taxpayers.
Trade unions keep mobilising for tax justice, calling for an end to tax havens, tax competition and to tax breaks for international companies that do not create jobs, but rather destroy them.
The trade union movement continues to build bridges across borders, striving to ensure living wages and decent working conditions for millions of migrant workers.
"From the attack on democracy at work to the dismantlement of public services, there seems to be a coordinated strategy eroding some fundamental human rights," says Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of PSI.
"Amongst the many challenges ahead, millions of people are also deprived of their rights because of natural disasters, the impact of climate change and endless conflicts." "PSI remains strongly committed to ensure that the international community pursues real sustainable development goals and that everyone enjoys full human rights, such as decent work, education, health, safety and peace."
COP20: The public option in green policies
9 December, 2014: As the UN Climate Change Summit, COP20, in Lima, Peru, draws to an end, PSI highlights the special role of local and national government structures in developing, implementing and monitoring green policies.
"Public subsidies for private profits are not a solution," says David Boys, PSI Deputy General Secretary. After many years of decentralisation, and with the ongoing effects of the financial and economic crises, many local governments are starved of finance. The solution is more investment in public provision rather than more private business".
In particular, PSI believes that renewables must be part of any strategy for sustainable development.
"Many local authorities are using public finance and public management to build and operate renewables. It is leading to the creation of smaller, decentralised energy units."
PSI does not support the "Green Economy" as currently defined which is more about neo-liberal solutions, such as "financialization" and commodification of nature and further privatisations than about accompanying climate policies and actions with the promotion of decent work opportunities arising from a low-emission society.
On COP20, PSI joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in its proposals for a "Just Transition" for workers, contributing to protecting them in times of hardship, strengthening social dialogue, securing their rights, growing new sectors and promoting prosperity and sustainable development.
According to its 2012 World Congress, PSI is mandated to highlight the continuing challenge of finding a sustainable response to environmental degradation, the desperate need to preserve natural resources and address the question of unemployment. PSI also underlines the fact that the frightening frequency of natural disasters (that more and more have a man-made component), is due to the lack of public policy and adequate funding of public services which assume an important role at each stage - from disaster prevention to emergency response, recovery, and restoration. The physical and psychological strain placed on public services workers who carry out these tasks is immeasurable, and excessive reduction and privatisation of public services have exacerbated these issues.
Many PSI affiliated unions will be joining in the People's Climate March in Lima on 10th December as will FENTAP General Secretary, Luis Isarra, recently targeted by the Peruvian government for his relentless activity in the labour, environmental and water movement.