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The Stand: Freedom Foundation keeps spending, failing   |   Common Dreams: Backing Just Transition for Workers, International Union Leader Says, 'No Jobs on a Dead Planet'   |   Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington   |   AFSCME: Nevada State Employees Gain Collective Bargaining Rights   |   Le Syndicat des Métallos porte plainte auprès de l'Organisation internationale du Travail contre le gouvernement du Québec   |   Working in These Times: How Unions and Climate Organizers Learned To Work Together in New York   |   Guardian: Opinion: To secure pro-worker legislation, hold politicians' feet to the fire   |   Common Dreams: Demanding End to 'Rotten' Opposition to Medicare for All, Doctors and Nurses to March on American Medical Association's Annual Meeting   |   Dissent: Belabored Podcast #177: More Hours for What We Will, with Will Stronge   |   New York Times: Trump's War on Worker Rights   |   The Nation: The Inequalities of Workplace Surveillance   |   American Prospect: Trump's NLRB Is Picking a Fight with Graduate Students   |   The Stand: End the silence, stigma on mental health   |   The Intercept: Conservatives Pushed a Strategy to Weaken Home Health Care Unions. The Trump Administration Bit   |   Salon: No, China didn't steal our jobs. Corporate America gave them away   |   Common Dreams: Tornadoes Cut Across Unusually Wide Swaths of US, Raising Alarm for Climate Scientists   |   Dissent: Belabored Podcast #176: Talking Union in NYC   |   American Prospect: Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Actually Talking Union   |   Common Dreams: It's a Sure Winner-Except for the Profiteers: 200+ Economists Send Letter to Congress Endorsing Medicare for All   |   Equal Times: Is it time for a four-day work week?   |   Raw Story: Maddow connects the dots on epic financial scandal involving Mitch McConnell and the Russians

RadioLabour DailyRadio Labour:  International Labour Movement's Radio Service, Bringing Labour's Voices to the World

AFL-CIO Now Blog

LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns

Campaign for Postal Banking

People Over Profit...
Public Services International

Justice for Fishers - Fishers' Rights Network...
International Transport Workers Federation

Pharmacare: A Plan for Everyone...
Canadian Labour Congress

U.S. Mail Not for Sale...
American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers

Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK

One Fair Wage...
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Committee for Better Banks...
coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations

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

Justice for Port Drivers...
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.

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

Climate Proof Our Work

United Steelworkers files ILO complaint against Quebec government

17 June, 2019:   USW Métallos in Canada, whose 1,000 members in Bécancour, Québec, have been locked out from work at the Alcoa plant for nearly 17 months after the company refused to negotiate, has filed a complaint with the International Labour Organization.

The USW complaint stems from Quebec Premier François Legault's interference in negotiations in the 17-month lockout at the aluminum smelter in Bécancour, co-owned by aluminum giants Alcoa and Rio Tinto. "By his statements aimed at discrediting the trade union position by repeatedly describing it as 'unreasonable', the Premier came to put all his weight behind the company in a negotiation in the private sector. This is contrary to international law and we are asking the ILO to take charge of the case," says Alain Croteau, Steelworkers' Quebec director.

The complaint cites violations of ILO Conventions on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as well as the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and lists at least nine public statements by the Premier between 1 April 1 and 3 June.

"By agreeing with the employer and putting undue pressure on workers through public opinion, the Premier has undermined the negotiation and mediation processes. The Premier's interference casts doubt on the government's objectivity on the file, at the very time when the Minister of Labour was filing a proposed settlement and the union is asking for the co-operation of the authorities to enforce anti-scab legislation," says USW Local 9700 president Clément Masse.

The lockout at ABI was triggered by Alcoa and Rio Tinto on 11 January last year, even though the union had indicated it did not intend to exercise its right to strike and that only a few issues remained outstanding at the bargaining table. The employer has since added several new demands, further reducing the prospect of a settlement. On 11 March 11, 82 per cent of union members rejected an employer offer which was inferior to the one made before the lockout was imposed.

"IndustriALL Global Union cannot accept that politicians interfere in such a biased manner with social partner negotiations. It is a serious threat for the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. "Workers are voters and they have the right to be respected by politicians and governments. We fully support our affiliate's concern over this breach of balanced judgment, which leads to a loss of trust in politicians," says Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL base metals director.

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

ILO Centenary Conference: moving together for a New Social Contract

Unions from around the world have taken to the streets of Geneva to demand an ILO fit for the 21st century. Thousands of trade union representatives, carrying the voice of the millions of workers they represent, showed their commitment to curbing abuse in the world of work and establishing a New Social Contract.

17-06-2019:   "We are in the midst of negotiations that could deliver historical progress. An ILO Declaration that sets a floor of rights for all workers, binding rules that effectively tackle violence and harassment at work, these are on the table. I am confident that together with governments and employers we can get these over the line," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

Unions from around the world are in Geneva to negotiate the historic Centennial Declaration of the International Labour Organization (ILO). For the second and final week, negotiations between workers, employers and governments will aim to establish rules to meaningfully address abuses across the world of work. Delegates from over 40 countries participated in the rally under the theme "an ILO for the 21st Century - time for a New Social Contract". The decision to organise the rally was mandated by the ITUC's World Congress in Copenhagen in December 2018.

"From South Africa to Sweden, from Costa Rica to New Zealand we are pushing in the same direction. Establishing rules for everyone is the only way to avoid a race to the bottom, in which we would all lose out. The ILO has played a crucial role in ensuring shared prosperity through setting global labour standards and holding governments to account for implementing them. We are bringing that ambition forward and finding solutions to the challenges of today and the future," said Burrow.

The ILO launched its 100th year with a report on the future of work entitled Work for a brighter future which sets out ambitious proposals to address the challenges of the future. It called for a reinvigorated social contract based on a Universal Labour Guarantee. That Universal Labour Guarantee would provide all working people - whatever their employment arrangements - the core rights of the ILO fundamental principles (freedom from child and forced labour, freedom from discrimination at work, and freedom of association and collective bargaining) as well as the right to a living wage, health and safety at work, and control over working time.

"We need to harness the potential of digitalisation and automation as well as of the transition to environmentally sustainable modes of production, while dealing with the risks and challenges of digitalisation and new business models that companies use to avoid responsibility for their workforce. We need to adopt measures that meaningfully address gender-based violence, which is at the heart of persistent inequalities between men and women. We need to address the ever-increasing levels of wealth and income inequalities by ensuring people's core freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, and ensure that workers' rights to safe and healthy work are absolute. All these things are possible and from the streets to the negotiations of binding rules, we are moving together," concluded Burrow.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

UNI Deputy GS demands social Europe at FIST-CISL conference

13 June 2019:   UNI Deputy GS Alke Boessiger used her platform at the FIST-CISL conference to promote a social Europe which puts human and labour rights at the centre of its agenda.

The meeting was hosted in Rome by UNI affiliate FIST-CISL, who have broken through for Italian workers by increasing their membership by 75,000 over the past few years to 420,000 members.

"The European Union must focus its energy on improving working and living conditions for all citizens in the EU," urged Boessiger. "We need to move away from an EU that continues to build an exclusive neo-liberal market the impoverishes existing labour standards." Boessiger called on Italian unions to help restore faith in democracy and reverse the tide of inequality which is blighting Europe.

UNI Global Union's Deputy GS also paid tribute to retiring general secretary Pierangelo Raineri, who has been a stalwart of the UNI family and welcomed the election of the new GS Davide Guarini. As well as welcoming the new leadership team at FIST-CISL, Boessiger called on the newly-elected European Parliament and commission to put people at the centre of their plans.

"We urge a comprehensive and legally binding program to ensure that workers are guaranteed a fair deal at work," said Boessiger. "We have three fundamental demands for the EU - strengthen national and sectoral collective bargaining, make sure that self-employed workers have the right to collective representation and to negotiate decent working conditions for the workers of Europe."

Source:  UNI Global Union--UNI represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 countries

Statement on the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining in the seafood industry

11 Jun 2019:   Joint statement from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) delivered to the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Bangkok.

Worker voice or welfare committee models are not an incremental step toward recognising workers' right to organise. These mechanisms, generally established with company or NGO/CSO support, are viewed by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) or the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as an effort to sidestep legitimate, independent organising efforts by workers.

Workers' rights to organise and bargain collectively are fundamental rights, as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 87 and 98, and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Worker voice or welfare committee models are an affront to the fundamental principles of independent freedom of association and collective bargaining rights that give the illusion of representation. We see this as another opportunity for companies to claim that worker voice represents legitimate worker representation in their CSR reports without truly embracing freedom of association or collective bargaining with a trade union.

Companies can and should now - voluntarily and explicitly - recognise workers' rights to freely associate, form and join their own independent trade unions, and collectively bargain with management. This is a true expression of workers' voices.

Worker voice or welfare committees should not take the place of companies agreeing in writing to support the freedom of association and collective bargaining rights of their employees or their suppliers' employees, in line with accepted international and ILO standards. Companies should recognise legitimate, independent trade unions that represent their workforce and workers throughout their supply chain, and negotiate a binding contract with those workers in good faith covering all wages, benefits and working conditions.

The ITF and ITUC urge the seafood industry to adopt a labor rights-based approach, designed to ensure that seafood workers' rights are protected by law and collective agreements.

Regardless of what the national law of any country says, we are calling on the industry to at a minimum actively support:

  • The full protection of all workers' rights to organise and bargain collectively, with the first step being advocacy for the ratification and implementation of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 in every country involved in the seafood industry.
  • The ratification and effective implementation of ILO Convention 188 on Work in Fishing to fully protect the living and working conditions of fishers.
  • The ratification of the 2014 Protocol to ILO Convention 29 to ensure effective measures to prevent and eliminate forced labour prevalent in the fishing industry.
  • Worker-driven solutions that place unions and worker-led organisations at the center and in leadership roles in seafood industry monitoring and compliance initiatives.
  • UN agencies, the ILO, FAO, IMO and UNDOC, to continue efforts and cooperation on the development of international standards which can guide governments and companies in efforts to eliminate human rights abuses and establish decent working conditions in the sector.
  • The premise that multinational companies and enterprises have a duty to respect human rights under the UNGPs, the ILO MNE Declaration and the OECD MNE Guidelines. Due diligence for the right to bargain collectively recognises that enterprises must be prepared to bargain under a wide range of structures in countries where the law and practice does not provide a well-defined framework for bargaining, including negotiating with independent and representative organisations like the ITF Fishers' Rights Network (FRN).

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members from 147 countries

'Workers against extradition': Hong Kong's independent unions join massive protest against proposed new law

10 June 2019:   One million citizens filled the streets of Hong Kong on June 9 to protest proposed legislation which would allow for political critics and opponents to be extradited and tried on the mainland. IUF affiliates, members of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (the only independent trade union in China), have actively supported the movement to stop extradition and joined the protest. Despite massive public opposition, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who was installed in 2017 with support from Beijing, has pledged to push for rapid adoption of the law.

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 416 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

International Labour Conference celebrates its centenary

07.06.2019:   Education International brings the voice of teachers and education personnel to the 108th session of the International Labour Conference.

The Education International (EI) delegation will be composed of education union leaders from Botswana, France, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Turkey and USA. Held every year in June in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Labour Conference (ILC) gathers together representatives of 182 governments and of workers' and employers' national organisations, from 10 to 21 June. The Conference of the International Labour Organisation is the only UN agency with a tripartite constituency. It is the global labour parliament where labour policy priorities are discussed, new standards are adopted and their implementation is supervised.

An EI representative will address the ILC Plenary on the 14 June. 2019 will mark the Centenary of the ILO and the adoption of the Declaration on the Future of Work.

Respect of labour standards

As every year, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) will review the implementation - in law and practices - of labour standards and cases of trade union rights violations in 25 countries. While the list of countries to be reviewed by the Committee is still subject to negotiations, six countries are already known: Turkey, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar and Nicaragua.

The EI delegation will ensure that a spotlight is shined on the rights situation in the education sector, especially where teachers are deprived of trade union rights, including mechanisms for collective bargaining. EI welcomed the inclusion of Turkey as an automatic case for discussion. In Turkey, over 130,000 workers have been dismissed after the failed coup in July 2016, and among them, 28,000 teachers and academics. Between September 2016 and August 2017, 1,620 teachers, members of the EI affiliate Egtim Sen, have been dismissed, including 48 members of the teacher union Committee.

CEART Committee

The report of the Joint ILO-UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART) will be presented at the CAS Committee on 11 June. Already formally adopted, the CEART report will be an opportunity for education unionists to highlight issues pertaining to our profession. EI will be the spokesperson for the Workers' Group.

Other items on the agenda:

ILO Centenary: As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, the ILO has adopted 7 initiatives (future of work, end poverty, women at work, green and just transition, visibility of the standards, engage with enterprises and reform ILO's governance) that aim at equipping the Organization to take up successfully the challenges of its social justice mandate in the future.

New standard on Violence and harassment in the world of work: The discussions on a new standard on Violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work will continue this year, prior to its adoption.

ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work: The Commission has produced an landmark report on how to achieve decent and sustainable work opportunities for all at a time of unprecedented change and challenges in the world of work. The report will be discussed at the ILC in view of the adoption of a Declaration on the Future of Work.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million trade union members in 400 organizations in 170 countries and territories

Young unionists hold second international exchange in Brazil

6 June, 2019:   Young unionists from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany organized their second annual international exchange meeting in Brazil. They shared and debated their plans of union building, organizing and training for youth in their unions.

The second year of the International Youth Exchange and Training Project of IndustriALL Global Union and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) felt like a genuine reunion. Having held their previous meeting in Argentina in 2018, the participants held their next exchange week with enthusiasm on 27 to 31 May in Curitiba, Brazil.

Young Brazilian activists involved in coordination of the work in previous months organized an exhibition of their previously prepared educational materials. They started with an artistic performance and music about resistance.Before the sessions, the hosts presented relevant characters illustrating different struggles experienced by Brazilian people: former President Lula da Silva, Marielle, Dandara, Paulo Freire and Dorothy Stang.

They presented the history of the trade union movement in Brazil, the structure of trade union organizations, as well as the situation of collective bargaining and labour agreements. The objective is that at the end of the three-year project, the participants will be able to compare union density in each country. The main speakers were young people from Brazil, but they also invited activists and specialists in education, gender, communication and research. A whole afternoon was dedicated to debating with representatives of the Brazilian social movements.

The moment of greatest emotion and convergence of international solidarity was the #LulaLivre vigil camp organized just a few meters next to the prison where ex-president of Brazil, Lula, is unjustly detained. The young people marched to the place where numerous social and union organizations meet to greet Lula three times a day and demand his release. On his 417th day of incarceration, participants shouted their "good afternoon" in three languages (Portuguese, Spanish and German) and wrote a letter about support from young people around the world.

After a week of numerous exchanges and debates, on the final day, each participant presented their union action plan or project, which would be implemented before the next meeting in 2020 in Germany. The purpose of these plans is to organize and empower working youth, and to respond to the challenges faced by young people in their countries.

Among other things, the participants proposed training courses to organize young workers, international educational exchange programs for young people from Germany and Argentina, workshops for young people on issues such as addictions, workshops on rights for young pregnant women and congresses for young women. They also presented communication projects and campaigns against violence at the workplace, research and assessment projects about young people in Brazil, sports meetings for young people to attract them to the union and strategies to form youth committees in the unions.

"This exchange and training programme empowers young people so that they can act to renew and strengthen their unions. We focus on union practice and action. The commitments they all took on are inspiring,'

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

UNI affiliates protest at Orpea's illegal dismissal of union representative in Poland and its anti-union behaviour

4 June 2019:   As part of an International Day of Action, unions are gathering today in Warsaw, Poland, outside of the headquarters of Orpea to protest at the healthcare provider's treatment of its workforce, and in particular the illegal dismissal of Anna Bacia.

The protest is being organised by OPZZ Konfederacja Pracy with the full support of the Orpea Union Alliance and UNICARE, the UNI Global Union sector which represents care workers in private healthcare. The unions are calling on Orpea to immediately reinstate Anna Bacia who was dismissed on trumped up charges, solely because she became a union representative. Anna, a physiotherapist with 16 yearsservice at Orpea, and a single mother of two children, was sacked on 10th April.

Head of UNICARE, Adrian Durtschi said, "What's especially hypocritical is that Orpea Poland responded to a letter from UNI raising concerns about their behaviour just days before Anna's dismissal, saying they were committed to social dialogue and engaging with the unions!"

UNI Deputy General Secretary, Alke Boessiger, said, "Orpea's behaviour towards Anna and its cynical anti-union behaviour is unacceptable. We urge Orpea management to engage with UNI and its affiliates. Orpea projects itself as a caring company of the future, whilst treating its loyal staff like disposable units and seeking to ban unions from its workplaces. Unions from around the world are sending the same message - this must stop now."

Source:  UNI Global Union--UNI represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 countries

World Environment Day: Calling on governments to protect the planet

03.06.2019:   For World Environment Day, June 5th, Education International calls on governments to address climate change and help beat air pollution, the biggest public health crisis on the planet.

Educators and students to 'beat' air pollution

Teachers, education support personnel and their unions across the globe are taking invaluable steps to raise awareness and demand action on the climate change emergency. On this year's World Environment Day (5 June) many teachers will be dedicating a day to discussing climate change, with a particular focus on how to beat or reduce air pollution. Teachers, education support personnel and principals are doing everything from implementing a walk/bike to school day to putting together workshops to discuss air pollution and climate change with their students and/or among themselves.

Urgent measures must be taken to address climate change

It is necessary for governments to listen to the voices of the students and educators in order to save our planet and the environment.

The Paris Agreement, ratified by UN member states in September 2016, committed to reduce carbon emissions and global warming to well below 2% above pre-industrial levels, but meaningful efforts are yet to be made to meet the emission targets.

EI strongly believes that education can be a powerful tool for combatting climate change. Therefore, it is necessary to include climate change education in education policies, plans, programmes and curriculum. EI insists that the Paris Agreement should be implemented as a matter of urgency. As part of that effort, governments should provide the necessary financial support for climate change education, teacher training, professional development and research.

EI General Secretary David Edwards urges governments to take immediate steps to address this urgent crisis. "Teachers and educators are crucial to the delivery of climate change education, and they are doing their best to protect the planet. Students have rallied around the world to stress the importance of action on all fronts. It is time for political leaders to act, not just talk". "Governments should take immediate policy, legislative and practical measures to combat climate change", he stressed. "It is of utmost importance that governments update and improve curricula, ensure the professional development of teachers and provide teaching and learning materials to address the climate change emergency", he concluded.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million trade union members in 400 organizations in 170 countries and territories

Unionist elected Member of Parliament in South Africa

3 June, 2019:   It is rare for garment workers to leave their factory machines and swop work clothes for the formal dressing of a country's parliament. This is the story of a Durban garment worker who recently got elected to South Africa's sixth parliament.

After working for more than four decades as a sample machinist, Beauty Zibula rose from being a shop steward to become the first vice president of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU), affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union. She is also an executive and women's committee member of the IndustriALL Sub Saharan Africa region, and on 22 May she was sworn in as MP.

The Sub Saharan Africa region welcomes her election as one of the ruling African National Congress' members of parliament for the KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Like most South African unionists, she became politically active in junior school and got her first job in the sector in 1978. Her history in the labour movement is illustrious. Active in the Garment and Allied Workers' Union (GAWU) in Durban during the 1980s, she is part of a collective that turned the union into a militant organization that fought against apartheid. She became chairperson of the Durban North local of GAWU from 1987 to 1989 and retained that position when SACTWU was formed. Other positions she has held include: SACTWU's Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) regional treasurer, the KZN regional deputy chairperson, the KZN regional chairperson and first deputy president of SACTWU.

"We congratulate comrade Beauty Zibula, a trade unionist who has risen through the trenches of working class struggles. Having been a regional executive member, she knows how to fight for workers' rights against precarious work and is a staunch defender of workers' rights in the garment and textile and other sectors. We are confident that she will take the fight to the South African parliament as well," said Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary.

SACTWU has over 100,000 members that make up 85 per cent of the textile and garment sector including shoe and leather. It organizes workers in spinning mills, wool washeries, factory shops, clothing factories, cut make and trim operations, small businesses, footwear factories, cotton gins, laundries, tanneries, weaving sheds, finishing operations, dye-houses, retail outlets, and warehouses.

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

Ukrainian rail activists unite for workshop

29 May 2019:   Nearly 40 railway activists have come together in Chernihiv, Ukraine to plan how they can adapt to organise in restructured railway companies. Women and young activists make up the majority of the participants. They are all members of the Trade Union of Railwaymen and Transport Construction Workers of Ukraine (TURTCWU) and work across railway stations, depots and wagon services.

The event, from 28 to 30 May 2019, is backed by the Swedish Union To Union organisation.

ITF inland transport assistant secretary Janina Malinovska attended the event: "As railways are reformed, it is crucial for unions to define their role, goals and strategy. "But their mission should still be to defend their members, ensure decent and safe working conditions and wages, and engage young activists."

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members from 150 countries

Innovative union organizing strategies tackled in Philippine workshop

27 May, 2019:   Trade unions affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union in the Philippines resolved to execute new ways to organize unions and increase membership, during a three-day workshop in Tanay, Rizal, from 21-23 May.

Union density is low in the Philippines at 7.7 per cent (in 2014). Numerous factors such as difficulty in gaining legal recognition, intervention of employers and local governments, state repression, as well as the power of global corporations, make it more difficult than ever to organize.

"I recall that during the 80s, union organizing was easy and workers even used to walk into our office asking to be organized. Today it is so different as organizers must take innovative approaches to reach out and communicate to workers, as most of them, especially those in the ecozones, are being transported from plant to drop off points far from the organizers," said Racquel Clavillas field organizer from Associated Labor Unions for 30 years.

With the growing power of multinational corporations, unions must think of better ways to deal with those companies, making sure workers can exercise their legitimate rights and negotiate for better working conditions. Domestic firms are mostly linked to big corporations as a supplier, agent or buyer through global supply chains. Participants addressed the knowledge and skills gap in organizing in supply chains of multinational corporations and looked at how international tools, such as global framework agreements and trade union networks, can reinforce field organizing efforts.

Unions agreed to create two new networks: a sectoral network on textile and garment and a company-specific network for Essilor, a French-based international ophthalmic optics company, which has two operations in the Philippines. "We learned a lot of new things in this workshop. Because most global corporations are consolidating, unions also need to consolidate and use our collective power. We need to build global solidarity to counter the power of global capital," said Manuel Mallonga, local union president of Essilor in Bataan.

"Organizing unions and solidarity at every level is an important lesson. We are committed to building a network among Essilor unions in the Philippines, in our neighboring countries in South-East Asia, and even at the global level," he added. All the participants agreed and signed a declaration on building network and solidarity that defines basic principles and areas of cooperation in organizing where they can work together, as well as continuing communication and joint actions.

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

Unions stand up to austerity in Argentina

Trade unions have called a general strike on 29 May 2019 to oppose austerity measures in Argentina. The Macri government has brought the country to the brink of economic collapse, with workers' purchasing power decreasing due to high inflation, unemployment, recession and a sharp increase in poverty.

27-05-2019 :   Argentina's trade unions have joined forces in their opposition to the Macri government. The ITUC's three affiliates in the country, the CGT, CTA-T and CTA-A, have called a general strike on 29 May. The trade union movement is calling for an end to the austerity policies imposed as part of the government's loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to official figures, 14 million Argentinians are living in poverty, the highest level seen since the economic crisis in 2001. The budget cuts required by the IMF have exacerbated the already dismal economic situation, hitting workers and their families the hardest, and poverty is estimated to have increased by over six per cent since the start of the IMF programme.

"Macri was elected, in 2015, on the promise of lowering inflation and bringing an end to poverty and corruption, but since reaching power he has done precisely the opposite, having chosen to govern for a powerful minority," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "We, the international trade union movement, fully support the demands of our trade union colleagues in Argentina, calling on the government to take action to support the real economy rather than limiting itself to following the mandates of the IMF and the financial markets," commented Burrow.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

USW La Grand Marche

Climate-proofing work

The ITUC has launched a global workplace action to demand that employers engage with workers and their unions to set in motion plans to climate-proof their operations. From now until 26 June 2019, the Climate-Proof Our Work (#cPOW) push will see workers start the conversation with their bosses.

16-05-2019:   "It is crunch time, and we need to see employers taking concrete steps and to know what steps they will take. Our future depends on it, and we need every single workplace and enterprise to pull its weight. If employers are serious about climate change, we are with them; if not, then unions will demand that they get serious," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

Working people are on the front lines of climate change. As nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, the urgency is clear. Already 83 million climate-related refugees have fled from disaster and have lost livelihoods. A further 72 million jobs are threatened by temperature increases. Climate action is needed from workplaces to parliaments. Every contribution matters, and urgent and ambitious action is needed.

"We need to take a good hard look at the business models that got us to this point. 'Green washing' will not cut it this time; passing off responsibility will no longer be accepted. The international labour movement is committed to addressing climate change. Working people have a common concern: will their job, as it is, stand the test of the transition? If not, what steps are needed to ensure that it does? If done properly through dialogue and negotiation between employers and unions with the necessary support from governments, this opens the door to realising just transitions and taking on the existential task that is before us. The costs and consequences of inaction are incalculable," said Burrow.

Trade unions know that change starts with dialogue and that workers have a right to know about the sustainability of their job and their workplace. The ITUC has prepared a number of resources to support workers in their efforts to engage their employers. The campaign guide provides advice on who to contact and what to ask. Workers are encouraged to ask about how emissions are tracked and about plans to reduce them.

"Environmental degradation, human exploitation, the root cause is the same: corporate greed. We are seeing a moment of great convergence among movements. It is moments like this in which we can move mountains," said Burrow.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

Fresenius: unions launch first-ever global care workers' alliance

15 May 2019:   In parallel with Fresenius' annual general meetings of shareholders, trade unions will launch the Fresenius Global Union Alliance on 16 and 17 May in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Unions demand that the healthcare giant negotiates a Global Agreement to secure workers' rights in all its operations.

More than 50 workers and union representatives from Europe, North and South America and Asia will converge on 16 and 17 May in Frankfurt/Main, Germany - in parallel with Fresenius' annual general meeting of shareholders. Fresenius directly employs around 280,000 workers in 100 countries.

The unions will launch the first international union network for a multinational healthcare corporation. Their aim is to negotiate a Global Framework Agreement with Fresenius to ensure that it respects fundamental rights of all employees in its operations worldwide. The 21 participating unions in the coalition are, in part, reacting to anti-trade union practices by Fresenius especially in the United States, Peru and South Korea.

The alliance is being coordinated by Public Services International (PSI) and UNI Global Union, two global union federations representing workers in public and private services.

"On 16 and 17 May, not only are Fresenius' shareholders converging in Frankfurt, but also workers and unions from around the globe. We demand an improved social dialogue between Fresenius and its workforce -including negotiating a global framework agreement on trade union rights," says Alke Boessiger, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union. "The company must ensure that employees have the right to organize a union without fear and intimidation."

David Boys, Deputy General Secretary of PSI, points out that the German health company is accused of serious labour rights violations in a number of countries. "The company must take comprehensive measures to guarantee that it upholds the human rights of workers" demands Boys. "A company which has grown so quickly needs strong due diligence mechanisms to ensure that it meets its commitments to the health and finance regulators, to the tax departments, and mostly to the patients. Our global coalition will strengthen solidarity between Fresenius workers to hold the company accountable."

Global Framework Agreements are negotiated between global unions and multinational companies. They protect the interests of workers across the operations of multinational companies, ensuring respect for international labour standards. According to the unions, Fresenius has not always followed these labour standards. For example, in dialysis clinics of Fresenius Medical Care in the United States, union activists report a long, bruising anti-union campaign to stop workers from organizing to gain collective representation.

Samantha Anderson, an RWDSU member and Fresenius worker in Alabama since 2006, reports: "We began this fight because we have seen a downward trend in our workplace and felt that no one was listening. Fresenius needs to respect our desires to organize a union and gain a collective voice to ensure that our patients lives and those that care for those patients are the top priority for Fresenius going forward."

Another U.S. Fresenius employee, Emerson Padua, who has worked for 19 years at Fresenius in California and is a leader on the SEIU-UHW Organizing Committee said: "We should be allowed to decide about our union without management's scare tactics and union-busting. All we want is a union and a voice to improve our standard of living and the quality of care for our patients."

Sylvia Bühler, member of the federal board of the German service workers union ver.di clarifies: "The right to organize unions to improve pay and working conditions is a universal human right. It is disgraceful that the German health company Fresenius stops workers from using their fundamental rights to union representation." Bühler continues, "ver.di together with the members of the works councils will stand with every demand for a global framework agreement to secure workers' rights worldwide."

Based in Bad Homburg, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA is a German health care company providing products and services for dialysis, hospitals and clinics for inpatient and outpatient medical care. In addition, the company focuses on hospital management as well as on engineering and services for medical centers and other health care facilities. It has around 280,000 employees in more than 100 countries around the globe. In Germany, Fresenius Helios is the biggest hospital provider with more than 60,000 employees.

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

Trade Unions in South Korea for Ratification of ILO Core Conventions

15 April 2019 Today the Korean Construction Workers' Union (KCWU) affiliated to the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) held a rally demanding the government guarantee construction workers basic labor rights in front of Namdaemun on April 13th. Then they marched to join more than 20,000 at the main rally organized by its national center, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). The key demands of the main rally included ratify ILO core conventions including conventions 87 and 98; amend Article 2 of the Labour Union Act; and guarantee specially-employed workers such as self-employed, contractor, and "misclassified" workers basic labor rights."

In addressing the protesters, KCTU Chairman Kim Myeong Hwan stated, "President Moon Jae-in promised to guarantee specially-employed workers basic labor rights even before he took office, but he has failed to do so after three years from in office and now he is attempting to eliminate the right to association for specially employed workers. We call on President to keep his promise to workers in South Korea."

Lee Young Cheol, Chair of the Specially Employed Workers' Association and the Vice President of the KCWU added, "We must not forget the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the rights of workers for the past two decades. We will continue to fight and mobilize until the ILO General Assembly in June to ratify the ILO core conventions and revise the labor union law. The specially employed workers, will take the lead in this important struggle."

Following the rally, participants marched to the Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The BWI along with UNI and ITF sent letters to the South Korean government this week calling for the immediate ratification of the ILO core conventions to ensure basic labor rights.

In the letter, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson urged President Moon Jae In to live up to his campaign promises to South Korean workers. He stated, "This is the 100th anniversary of the ILO. It would be only fitting that South Korea shows its commitment to abide by international standards by ratifying the core ILO conventions."

Source:  Building and Wood Workers International--BWI uniting 12 million members in 334 trade unions in 130 countries

PSI supports KCTU's general strike for ratification of ILO Core Conventions without regression

05 March 2019:   Social dialogue towards ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) in the Republic of Korea appears to be moving in the direction of actually weakening fundamental labour rights.

Public Services International (PSI) expresses its support for the KCTU General Strike and concern that social dialogue towards ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) in the Republic of Korea appears to be moving in the direction of actually weakening fundamental labour rights.

Discussions on ratification of ILO conventions and revision of labour law are currently taking place in the Committee on Improvement of Labour Relations Law and Practice of the Economic, a subcommittee of the Social and Labour Council (ESLC), a social dialogue body established by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The committee is scheduled to issue recommendations on labour law revision on March 7.

Public interest members of the committee have already issued recommendations on labour law revision, which fall well below international standards by failing to guarantee trade union rights for self-employed workers, maintaining restrictions on freedom of association and political activities for government employees and teachers, and calling for new concrete limitations on the participation of dismissed and unemployed workers and officers of unions formed above the company level. Legislation based on these recommendations, but that is even more restrictive, has already been proposed in the National Assembly.

Further, PSI has learned that employers' representatives involved in the ESLC process have called for further revisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Adjustment Act (TULRAA), which put even greater restrictions on trade union rights, particularly the right to strike, while granting employers new powers, such as to make claims of 'unfair labour practices' against unions. The Moon Jae-in government has indicated willingness to accept many of these demands, claiming this is necessary to win support for ratification of ILO conventions.

PSI is particularly concerned that throughout committee discussions, guarantees for self-employed and precarious workers are being side-lined. The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has, on several occasions, recommended that the South Korean government take the necessary steps to protect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining for these workers. The European Commission, which is currently engaged in formal consultation over the Korean government's failure to live up to obligations under the EU-ROK FTA, has also raised the issue of the exclusion of self-employed, unemployed and dismissed workers from the right to freedom of association as an essential issue the South Korean government must address.

The question of a system of minimum services in line with ILO standards has been left out of the discussion. As it now stands, the broad and vague definition of 'public interest businesses' in South Korean labour law means that many public institutions and other sectors not considered 'essential services in the strict sense of the term' have set excessively high levels of minimum services to be maintained during strikes and that employers may freely use replacement workers to break strikes.

The ILO has also recommended on several occasions that restrictions on the right to strike in workplaces that are not 'essential services in the strict sense of the term', such as railway, airlines and energy companies be keep to a minimum and that unions be granted the right to participate on equal footing with employers in deciding these minimum levels.

PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli has expressed her concern over these developments, stating: "Since 1996 when South Korea joined the OECD, the government has made repeated promises to the international community to ratify ILO Core Conventions and improve the legal framework on trade union rights. PSI welcomed President's Moon promise to live up to these commitments when he first took office, but has been disappointed by what has followed since. The current discussions that tie regressive revision of the labour law to ratification of ILO conventions and ignore past ILO recommendations are unacceptable. Dialogue concerning ratification of ILO conventions should take place following a strict commitment to the principle of non-regression in existing laws and with a view towards actually improving the rights of workers in South Korea."

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

International Labour Organisation - 50 for Freedom

Malta has become the 30th country worldwide to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced labour, thereby committing to take effective measures to prevent all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, protect victims and ensure their access to justice and compensation.

The Government of Malta has ratified the legally-binding treaty that requires countries to take new measures to tackle forced labour and modern slavery with a keen focus on protection, prevention and compensation.

"As the International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates its Centenary, we are faced with the realisation that the work and values that the organisation stands for remain relevant and applicable more so in today's world", Ambassador Olaph Terribile, Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva said. "Malta shall continue to seek and promote the enhancement of labour conditions both at a national level as well as within the appropriate multilateral platforms, confident in the belief that decent work is undeniably linked to sustainability and prosperity", he added.

The Government of Malta has taken significant measures to develop the legal and institutional framework for combatting trafficking in persons, including by criminalizing all forms of trafficking as well as forced labour, with penalties of four to 12 years imprisonment. Malta has also strengthened its efforts towards the protection of victims of trafficking in persons by enacting the "Victims of Crime Act" in April 2015, which includes provisions regarding access to assistance services and compensation. Moreover, the Anti-Human Trafficking Monitoring Committee was set up in 2011 for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of anti-trafficking policies. A National Referral Mechanism has also been active in Malta since 2013 and is mainly involved in the identification of victims or potential victims of trafficking.

The ILO Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryder, welcomed the step: "With the ratification of the Protocol, Malta once again confirms its commitment to promoting and implementing fundamental rights and principles at work".

This ratification supports the effective promotion of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Target 8.7 to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, and represents a significant contribution to mark ILO's centenary. The ILO estimates that about 24.9 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, with 16 million people exploited in the private sector in activities such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million in forced labour imposed by state authorities. The ILO also estimates that this exploitation generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.

In November 2017, during the Global Conference on child labour and forced labour in Argentina, the European Union pledged to "promote actively swift ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol among EU members". Malta is the 14th EU member state to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour.

Source:  Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, 50 for Freedom Campaign

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