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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. Relevant NEWS and ARTICLES

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UNI Equal Opportunities launches new programme to train women leaders in South and Southeast Asia

12.08.22:   UNI Global Union's Equal Opportunities department recently launched an exciting new mentoring programme for women activists in South Asia and Southeast Asia. In partnership with the DGB Bildungswerk, the federal education institute of the German trade union confederation, UNI Equal Opportunities held a series of four workshops national and regional at UNI Apro region with leaders from 9 countries-Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan.

The programme's goal is to deepen these activists' involvement in their unions as well as help them develop their leadership skills. The last of the series of workshops was just wrapped up in Bangkok, Thailand, and included training sessions on gender mainstreaming, improving communications, ending violence and harassment on the job and building an action plan for leadership development.

In total, the 102 women activists who took part in the Southeast Asia workshops created 51 tandems-partnerships that reinforce the skills learned through one-on-one mentorship.

"The mentoring programme was a life changing experience for me. It helped me to develop as a leader to help others. Additionally, the opportunity to network was a great advantage which we all received from the programme," says Shanika Silva from the Ceylon Bank Employees' Union in Sri Lanka, who acts as a mentor.

UNI Asia & Pacific Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya said, "The mentoring programme we have been conducting is instrumental towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Five on gender equality. Attaining equality is integral to other development outcomes, and in recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the critical importance of gender equality and women's empowerment to sustainable development. As a result, there has been increased commitment to institutionalizing gender mainstreaming approaches across the workplaces."

The UNI Mentoring Program is a program created by UNI Equal Opportunities as part of the That's Why campaign, to inspire and empower more women to join the trade union movement. This new workshop increases the number of women taking part in mentoring to over 1,200 women in 56 countries around the world.

"There is nothing more rewarding than working with a group of strong, hard-working women who feel empowered to share their stories with each other," shared Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Head of UNI Equal Opportunities. "Women who laugh together and are not afraid to cry, women who are strong, tireless and enterprising; women who share the same obstacles and who work together to find solutions make our societies fairer and more equal."

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

10 workers still trapped following Mexico mine collapse

11 August, 2022:   10 workers remain trapped underground following a mine collapse on 3 August in the municipality of Sabinas, in Coahuila, northern Mexico. The mine workers were excavating with hand tools in a 60-metre-deep shaft in the Coahuila coalmine when the walls caved in, causing a 34-metre flood in three connected shafts, and trapping 10 mine workers.

Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel Lopes Obrador, said at a press conference on 9 August that the federal government had been working since the date of the collapse to rescue the workers trapped in the mine and that divers could be brought in to rescue in the coming hours. He reported that while 10 miners remained trapped, five workers who were rescued received medical attention.

The president gave assurances that he was acting in coordination with the Coahuila state government and the municipal authorities. He stressed that power plants had been installed at strategic points to access the mines, and pumps had been placed in each of the shafts to extract as much water as possible, to ensure immediate access to the mines and to rescue the workers as quickly as possible.

He also said that investigations into the incident were underway, and that information had already been gathered on who manages the mines, holds the permits, conducts the inspections, and sells the coal.

Meanwhile, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, a Mexican senator and general secretary of the IndustriALL-affiliated Los Mineros union, said that the labour authorities were failing to meet their obligation to inspect or supervise employers in the coal sector, which explains why such tragedies are so frequent. Urrutia also explained that although he had pressed the Senate of the Republic to approve the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 176, which obliges companies to guarantee health and safety in mines, its ratification has been pending since 1995.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in Mexico's mining sector. Sixty-three men are still buried at the bottom of a coal mine that exploded 16 years ago in Pasta de Conchos, also in Coahuila. Sixty-five miners died in the incident.

IndustriALL general secretary, Atle Høie, deplored the incident, and said: "We urge the Mexican government to continue the efforts to get the workers out alive, to investigate the collapse and to hold those responsible to account, to ratify ILO Convention 176 and to ensure proper inspections of coal mining companies."

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

UNITE HERE Stands With Unfairly Fired Union Leaders in Peru

09.08.22:   In a powerful show of international solidarity, Las Vegas-based Culinary Workers Union Local 226, part of UNI affiliate UNITE HERE, is calling on the top leadership of Chilean gaming multinational Dreams, S.A., to stop union busting at its Fiesta Casino in Peru. The Las Vegas union also makes clear that similar anti-worker behaviour is not acceptable in the United States, where Dreams hopes to expand.

The letter, from Culinary Local 226's President Diana Valles-who is also President of Gaming for UNI Americas-and its Secretary Treasurer Ted Pappageorge, comes after Dreams management in Peru fired the leadership of the Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de Entretenimiento, Casinos y Afines (SUTECA) the day after it registered for recognition with the government.

The Culinary leaders write: We express our solidarity with the leaders and members of SUTECA. Please investigate the reports that new union officers and members were fired by the casino after the union filed its formative documents with the Peruvian Ministry of Labour on July 19, 2022, and ensure that Fiesta Casino reinstate immediately any workers fired for union activity. We also ask you to let Dreams employees at your several properties in Peru know they may join SUTECA without risk of intimidation or retaliation.

UNITE HERE is the largest hospitality and gaming union in the United States, and Culinary Local 226 is a powerhouse, who has helped workers win high standards through 90 per cent representation of the Las Vegas gaming industry.

The union hopes of resolving the unjust firing of union leaders in Peru can be the beginning of a productive relationship in the United States as well, saying: We understand that [Dreams Chairman of the Board] has long sought to enter the casino industry in the U.S. and has been approved to purchase a 10-acre parcel on the Las Vegas Strip. We also understand you are planning to develop a major resort on that parcel. We look forward to meeting with you soon to discuss how your new project here can provide good union jobs and other important benefits to the Las Vegas community. These would be issues of great interest to the Clark County Commissioners, who have zoning and planning jurisdiction over the Strip, and the gaming licensing regulators of the State of Nevada as well. We do hope our discussion can begin with news regarding Dreams' commitment to positive labour relations at its properties in Peru and elsewhere.

In recent days, the minister of labour of Peru has also come out in support of SUTECA members.

"We are energized by this solidarity in our fight for justice at Fiesta, and we feel stronger knowing that UNITE HERE has our backs. We simply want what the members of Culinary Local 226 have-a wage with dignity, a voice at work and the protections of collective bargaining," said Silvia Choqque, a Fiesta worker. "Together, we will keep fighting until we win that."

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

Unions want social dialogue on the Just Transition for workers

4 August, 2022:   There is emerging consensus amongst trade unions on what they expect from a Just Transition, and this is confirmed by country case studies from Australia, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, and Spain, that were made at the Just Transition and the energy sector initiative meeting on 29 July. The initiative, which is organised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), LO Norway and IndustriALL Global Union held a workshop on country cases and is a platform for unions globally to exchange information on the Just Transition in the oil and gas value chain.

In Australia, the new labour government is now likely to agree to unions demands for the creation of a national Just Transition Authority. The longer-term role of natural gas in the energy transition is still being shaped.

ITUC General Secretary and former Australian Council of Trade Unions President Sharan Burrow said: "There is cause for optimism with the new government. Australian unions are doing a lot to make sure that they are part of this process and are pushing government to focus on investment and a Just Transition for workers."

Indonesia, whose government will host the G20 this year, has a net zero roadmap to phase out coal fired power by 2060. However, unions are concerned that there is no clear plan on how to reach these targets or what they mean for the 1.2 million workers in coal mining. Unions want a tripartite social dialogue to shape this plan and to include discussions on the future of the oil and natural gas industries.

In Iraq transition plans and investment have come to a halt due to instability in the country, while government remains hostile to union collaboration. Hashmeya Alsadawe, International Secretary of the Iraqi electricity sector unions, said: "There is so much opportunity for renewable energy in Iraq, yet there is flaring of gas all over the country. Climate change and global warming are universal problems, and we need global pressure on the Iraqi government."

Japanese unions reported on the country's ambitious roadmap to tackle climate change. Cooperation between unions and the government is strong. With tight electricity supply and high natural gas prices, the government and unions see roles for solar power and nuclear energy. To maintain security of supply, the Japanese government is seeking for natural gas suppliers.

New Zealand is the first country to announce a phaseout of offshore oil and gas drilling with an inclusive Just Transition plan for workers and communities. Further, there is support from unions on plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. But the E tu is optimistic. "We have the right framework and there are many positive developments. We are still learning; the transition process is not perfect... If there is a change of government, we are concerned about what it might mean for the process. said Irina Freilekhman, researcher at E tu.

"Just transition in the energy sector should not throw any worker under the bus, the human aspect is important" said Ayuba Wabba, President, ITUC and Nigeria Labour Congress who insisted that social dialogue, social protection, decent sustainable jobs, investment and innovation are key to ensure that workers see a real Just Transition no matter where they are in the world. In Nigeria, trade unions are part of a tripartite social dialogue process on delivering the country's commitments to the UN climate process, but more needs to be done especially on what unions can do collectively to have a seat at the table.

Afolabi Olawale, General Secretary of the Nigerian oil workers' union NUPENG, said: "We will not support an unconditional transition without decent jobs. He explained that despite the energy transition plan with many renewable energy jobs, the government still invests heavily in oil and gas exploration. Oil and gas exports account for 65 per cent of Nigeria's national revenue. While oil jobs are below 5 per cent of direct employment, they are the best quality jobs available.

In South Africa COSATU and its affiliates have developed a Just Transition Blueprint for Workers for the coal-energy value chain, agriculture, and transport. The Blueprint provides policy, collective bargaining, and other tools for unions to ensure that workers can drive the agenda of a radical transformation of the economy. South Africa's energy mix going forward is under discussion after recent announcements by the government. There will be more renewables, and potentially a greater role for natural gas.

Spain's Just Transition strategy for the energy sector is part of a larger decarbonization effort for the whole economy. Social dialogue is a big part of this process and unions are closely involved. Union confederations CCOO and UGT reported a complex yet positive start to the process, which started with a coal phaseout and a rapid buildup of renewable energy and last year expanded to include a ban on new oil and gas drilling.

The next workshop on country cases will be on 31 August 2022.

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

Commerce Organizers and Union Leaders in Nepal Get a Boost in Organizing Skills

03.08.22:   The Union of Commerce Employees (UNICOME) Nepal recently organised a workshop for over twenty union organisers and leaders from Nepal's Commerce Sector from 31 July to 2 August 2022. They were oriented on key topics during the program held at the Hotel Easton Blue in Ilam District. These include the organisers' role, tactics for organising, and how global trade union federations and solidarity organisations support trade union organising on the ground.

Speakers from the local labour office and the ILO Nepal office, respectively, provided input on relevant provisions of the Labour Act and the importance of Occupational Safety and Health. The participants were also provided with practical methods and training on workplace mapping techniques as part of a new module on Digital Organising. At the end of the three-day workshop, the participants received their certificate of completion from the Deputy Chief of the Ilam District Coordination Committee.

Ms Ritu Giri, a UNICOME member from Pokhara, said, "The training was very helpful to understand the key areas of organising skills, which is equally beneficial to union development as well as personal growth."

UNICOME Nepal expressed confidence that the skills and relationships built from the workshop would contribute to organising enterprise-level unions in departmental stores and expanding social dialogue coverage at the provincial level.

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

Solidarity With CWU Members Striking at BT Group

29.07.22:   Some 40,000 members of UNI Global Union-affiliate Communication Workers Union (CWU) are striking at UK telecoms company BT Group on 29 July and 1 August. It is the first strike at the company in 35 years and is the latest in a worldwide wave of worker unrest in response to a global cost-of-living crisis.

The two-day national walkout comes after BT has refused to negotiate a pay rise that would compensate for increasing inflation. The company's current offer of £1,500 per year would be a dramatic real-terms pay cut when compared to inflation levels of over 11 per cent in the country. This effective pay cut comes as BT made £1.3 billion in annual profit, and its CEO Philip Jansen gained a fat £3.5 million pay package--a 32 per cent wage increase--while BT offices have reportedly established food banks to assist employees.

Those striking are largely Openreach engineers and BT call centre workers. Openreach is a subsidiary of BT, formerly British Telecom, that maintains the telephone cables, ducts, cabinets and exchanges that connect homes and businesses to the UK national broadband and telephone network. These members look after most of Britain's telecoms infrastructure, from mobile phone connection, broadband internet and back-up generators to national health systems, cyber security and data centres.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: "These are the same workers who kept the country connected during the pandemic. Without CWU members in BT Group, there would have been no home-working revolution, and vital technical infrastructure may have malfunctioned or been broken when our country most needed it. Our members worked under great difficulty--and got a real-terms pay cut as a reward.

"The reason for the strike is simple: workers will not accept a massive deterioration in their living standards. We won't have bosses using Swiss banks while workers are using food banks. "BT Group workers are saying: enough is enough. We are not going to stop until we win." The announcement followed a strike ballot, in which Openreach engineers voted for action by 95.8 per cent and members in BT returned a 91.5 per cent majority for the walkout.

CWU Deputy General Secretary and Global President of UNI's ICT & Related Services sector Andy Kerr said, "The decision to take strike action was not made lightly. From the very beginning of this dispute, we have repeatedly expressed our wishes to sit down and negotiate a pay deal that treats BT Group workers with the respect they more than deserve."

Noting that the "hot strike summer" is not just a UK phenomenon, UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig said, "People realize that with no action, they will face dramatic cuts in their real term income, in what they can afford to pay for. By acting together, workers change that dynamic. By bargaining collectively through their unions, workers across the UK and Europe are winning major pay increases."

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

Hong Kong: UN Rights Body calls for end to repression of unions

In a wide-ranging report on violations of civil liberties in Hong Kong, the UN Human Rights Committee has called on the authorities to end their repression of trade unions.

28-07-2022:   It specifically called for the government to repeal the National Security Law (NSL), the NSL Implementation Rules and the sedition provision in the criminal law, and to discontinue all cases against trade unionists charged in connection with their union activities. This is the Committee's first report on the implementation of the ICCPR in Hong Kong since the NSL was imposed by China in July 2020. To date, 8 trade unionists have been imprisoned pending trials in relation to national security and sedition charges.

The Committee's report calls on the authorities to:

  • refrain from taking any action that is likely to curb the exercise of the freedom of association and ensure a safe environment for the activities of civil society organizations, including trade unions and student unions;
  • remove all the restrictive measures imposed on trade unions and discontinue all cases against trade unionists charged in connection with their union activities;
  • review the Societies Ordinance and other relevant legislation with a view to removing the procedural and substantive obstacles to register and run a society and bringing them in line with article 22 of the Covenant;
  • ensure that members and representatives of civil society organizations will not be charged under the National Security Law or victimized in any other form as a result of their engagement with the Committee for the current review as well as with other international human rights mechanisms, including other treaty bodies, the human Rights Council, the Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Report as well as with international NGOs.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said "this is a stinging rebuke to the Hong Kong authorities, who have, at the behest of Beijing, imprisoned trade union leaders and other democracy supporters and eradicated workers' rights to trade union representation by de-registering unions and repressing legitimate trade union activities. The government's actions have made a complete mockery of the notion of 'one country, two systems', leaving workers without vital protections of their livelihoods and health and safety. We call on the government to respect international law and restore fundamental rights, including freedom of association, in full. The NSL is disgraceful and has to go, and the trade unionists and others who have been wrongfully imprisoned must be released and allowed to carry out their legitimate activities in full freedom."

The Human Rights Committee's report also calls on the government to respect other fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and assembly, rights of LGBTQI+ people and migrant workers, an independent judiciary and the right to vote in a democratic system.

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

National Labor Relations Board and Department of Justice Announce New Partnership to Protect Workers

July 26, 2022:   Today, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer A. Abruzzo and the Justice Department (DOJ)'s Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) creating a formal partnership between the two agencies to better protect free and fair labor markets and ensure that workers can freely exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

The Department of Justice and the NLRB share an interest in promoting the free flow of commerce and fair competition in labor markets, including through protecting American workers from collusive or anticompetitive employer practices and unlawful interference with employees' right to organize. The Agencies' collaboration will focus on protecting workers who have been harmed or may be at risk of being harmed as a result of conduct designed to evade legal obligation and accountability (such as misclassifying employees or fissuring workplaces); interference with the rights of workers to obtain fair market compensation and collectively bargain (through labor market concentration/labor monopsony or other anticompetitive practices); and the imposition of restrictive agreements or workplace rules, such as noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure provisions.

Through greater coordination in information sharing, enforcement activity and training, the Agencies will maximize the enforcement of federal laws, including the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), under the NLRB's jurisdiction and the antitrust laws enforced by the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. In particular, this MOU will allow the Agencies to refer cases of potentially illegal activity to each other, as appropriate, and to coordinate on enforcement.

"Under the NLRA, workers have the right to organize to improve their pay and working conditions," said General Counsel Abruzzo. "When businesses interfere with worker organizing, either through creating structures designed to evade labor law or through anticompetitive practices, it hinders our economy and our democracy. This MOU will strengthen the federal government's ability to effectively stop this kind of unlawful activity, and therefore to better protect workers' right to freely associate with one another to improve their wages and working conditions and to collectively bargain through freely chosen representatives."

"Protecting competition in labor markets is fundamental to the ability of workers to earn just rewards for their work, to live out the American dream, and to provide for their families," said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter. "By cooperating more closely with our colleagues in the NLRB, we can share information on potential violations of the antitrust and labor laws, collaborate on new policies, and ensure that workers are protected from collusion and unlawful employer behavior. As the Department noted in the amicus brief we submitted in the NLRB's recent Atlanta Opera matter, we support the Board's ongoing efforts to update its guidance to ensure that workers are properly classified under the labor laws. Protecting the right of workers to earn a fair wage is core to the work of both our agencies, and it will continue to receive extraordinary vigilance from the Antitrust Division."

In February, General Counsel Abruzzo issued a memorandum to all field offices, committing to working closely with other federal agencies to ensure the government is co-functioning and co-enforcing all related laws in the most effective and efficient way to ensure workers are fully protected, while minimizing employers' compliance burdens.

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

National Labor Relations Board and Federal Trade Commission Forge New Partnership to Protect Workers from Anticompetitive and Unfair Labor Practices

July 19, 2022:   Today, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer A. Abruzzo and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina M. Khan executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) forming a partnership between the agencies that will promote fair competition and advance workers' rights.

The agreement enables the NLRB and FTC to closely collaborate by sharing information, conducting cross-training for staff at each agency, and partnering on investigative efforts within each agency's authority.

The MOU identifies areas of mutual interest for the two agencies, including: labor market developments relating to the "gig economy" such as misclassification of workers and algorithmic decision-making; the imposition of one-sided and restrictive contract provisions, such as noncompete and nondisclosure provisions; the extent and impact of labor market concentration; and the ability of workers to act collectively.

"Workers in this country have the right under federal law to act collectively to improve their working conditions. When businesses interfere with those rights, either through unfair labor practices, or anti-competitive conduct, it hurts our entire nation," said NLRB General Counsel Jennifer A. Abruzzo. "This MOU is critical to advancing a whole of government approach to combating unlawful conduct that harms workers."

"We're committed to using all the tools at our disposal to promote free and fair labor markets in which companies must compete with each other to attract and retain workers," said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. "This agreement will help advance our mission to crack down on anticompetitive mergers and unfair practices that deny workers and their families the pay, benefits, and conditions they deserve."

The NLRB also recently joined the FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN). CSN is an investigative online tool and complaint database for law enforcement agencies. It contains millions of consumer complaints about scams, identity theft, Do Not Call Registry violations, and more.

In February, General Counsel Abruzzo issued a memorandum to all field offices, committing to working closely with other federal agencies to fully effectuate the mission of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and take action on interagency collaborations outlined in the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment report.

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

Stop Union Busting at Teleperformance Poland

19.07.22:   Today 19 July, workers, trade unionists and members of parliament took action outside the Teleperformance offices in Warsaw, in opposition to union busting at the Polish arm of the world's biggest contact centre company.

Protesters from Polish trade union, Stronger Together in Teleperformance, which is affiliated to UNI Global Union through the NSZZ 'Solidarność' federation, alongside two MPs - Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk and Maciej Konieczny - gathered in solidarity with the union's Vice-President, Agnieszka Paterak, who has been targeted by the company.

Protected in her position under Polish labour law, this has not stopped Teleperformance Poland doing everything in its power to undermine the union leader even though the harassment and discrimination of trade union leaders is also illegal. Agnieszka is one of 55 people on her account, where she was employed to work remotely, as do all the other staff servicing the multinational company. However, last month she was singled out and told she could no longer work from home and that her new workplace was now the call centre offices in Warsaw.

Agnieszka lives 300km away from the capital with her parents. She earns 2,700 PLN (US$570) net a month while the average rent in Warsaw costs around 2000 PLN (US$421) a month. Now that she has moved to the capital, she is desperate as she struggles to make ends meet.

"In my hand I hold a complaint to the National Labour Inspectorate describing the events that have recently happened to me and others," said Agnieszka speaking to the press outside Teleperformance's Warsaw offices. "The complaint will be filed today, but I hope that, thanks to you, the situation that I have been put in will end immediately, and above all, that we will come to an agreement with Teleperformance on the subject of employee demands and we finally start earning more."

The change of working location came after the Head of the Legal Department requested a meeting with Agnieszka in June, during which she was denied the right to be represented by another union activist. Agnieszka also reports that workers on her account, and in particular her immediate entourage, have been harassed, intimidated and discouraged from continuing to work at Teleperformance by their immediate supervisors over the past weeks.

French-based contact centre multinational, Teleperformance, employs around 1,800 people in Poland with clients including Amazon and Microsoft. The union has been seeking to negotiate a pay rise since September last year but talks have ground to a halt and the company has even refused to engage with the government-appointed mediator. The union is also seeking to hold health and safety elections without interference from the company, which is a legal right.

UNI Global Union, General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said: "It seems clear by Teleperformance's actions that Agnieszka has been singled out for her trade union activity and the company is making every attempt to force her out of her job. We urge Teleperformance Poland to respect union rights, stop targeting Agnieszka and her colleagues, and meet with the government-appointed mediator to work with the union and resolve worker issues."

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

Union wage offensive in the face of soaring inflation

13/07/2022:   Inflation rates continue to hit levels in many countries which have not been seen for decades. Much of this inflation is being driven by rising energy and food prices, with many food and beverage companies passing along cost increases to consumers to maintain or even increase their often already high profit margins.

In general, wages are not keeping pace with inflation. But workers and their unions are fighting back in many parts of the world. Recent examples include:

  • Dutch IUF affiliate FNV successfully negotiated an inflation indexation provision as part of its new collective agreement with UK-based ingredients company Tate & Lyle. This indexation provision is tied to provisional consumer price index figures in the Netherlands and is capped at 6.5% per calendar year; this provision is on top of other negotiated wage increases which were also achieved following a 15-day strike in June 2022 by FNV's Tate & Lyle membership. The Netherlands' inflation rate stood at 9% in June 2022;
  • In July 2022, UK IUF affiliate Unite the Union successfully negotiated a two-year pay deal boosting pay up to 17.5 % in total for more than 1,000 Cadbury workers at Mondelez' Bournville, Birmingham, Chirk, Wales and Marlebrook sites. The UK inflation rate hit 9.1% in May 2022;
  • The IUF affiliated FTPSRCHPYA (the Federation of Pastry, Fast Food, Confectionery, Pizza, Ice Cream and Alfajores Worker) signed a collective agreement in June 2022, which provides for a 60% increase in the basic wages of workers employed in pizzerias, churro and empanada houses in Argentina. The agreement contains a review clause to ensure that wages keep pace with inflation. Argentina's inflation rate hit 60.7% in May 2022;
  • In Ireland, IUF affiliate SIPTU announced in April 2022 that its members in more than 2,500 companies across Ireland will urgently seek minimum rises in line with the rate of inflation which is expected to reach 8 per cent over the coming weeks and months. Ireland's inflation rate was 8.2% in May 2022;
  • Sue Longley, IUF General Secretary, commented, "In this challenging economic situation across much of the world, the value of being a union member has never been more clear. IUF affiliated unions are fighting back and negotiating wage increases that speak to the huge price increases and inflation being seen in many countries right now."

    Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 423 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

    Belarus: ITUC demands immediate end to anti-union trials and access to imprisoned union leaders

    The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has demanded urgent action to stop the next stage in the systematic persecution of independent trade unions in Belarus.

    07-07-2022:   This month, the trials are due to continue in the Supreme Court of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates: the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP), the Union of Radio and Electronics Workers (REP), the Free Trade Union of Belarus (SPB) and the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers (SPM). The government wants to declare the BKDP and all independent unions "extremist organisations" as it now seeks to terminate their activities after arresting leaders and activists. The ITUC understands that criminal trials against detained union leaders will also start in July.

    ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "These sham trials are particularly worrying. The Belarusian authorities and judiciary have shown a total disregard for due process and the basic rights of working people, as they seek to eradicate the independent trade union movement.

    "All international bodies and governments with influence in Belarus must intervene and call on the authorities to stop this judicial harassment of trade unions and their leaders. This also means the release of all trade union leaders and members arrested for carrying out legitimate trade union activities and the dropping all related charges. "Most urgently, any trials must be observed by ILO officials who must be allowed to visit the detained trade unionists to ascertain their state of health, the conditions of arrest and detention."

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

    UNI Americas Conference: Building a Better Future for Workers

    01.07.22:   This week, over 600 union leaders from across the region came together for the UNI Americas Regional conference in Fortaleza, Brazil to build a better future for workers and trade unions. The conference featured several prominent political figures and trade unionists who called for renewed urgency in the fight for workers' rights.

    Across the region, this has been a time of great social and political upheaval. Although recent victories for left wing political parties in Chile, Colombia and Argentina have been encouraging, unions need to work together to continue to build worker power.

    The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, was the highlight of the conference - calling for unions to be the pillars upon which we build societies based on justice, equality, social progress, education and job growth. "Latin America is one the most unequal continents in the world, but we are here to change this. We need to fix the model which perpetuates inequality, and we cannot wait any longer to do so. Latin America is ready to fight for workers, for people and for progress," said Fernandez.

    National Vice-President of the Workers' Party (PT) in Brazil, José Guimarães, called for unions and workers to fight to oust Bolsonaro at the general elections in October after years of regressive and repressive policies. "The Brazilian State has ceased to be a protector of the people and became a government which attack rights," he said. "We must urgently stop fascism in our country and elect a new government which is committed to democracy, decency and workers' rights."

    The President of the Constitutional Convention of Chile, María Elisa Quinteros, said, "With the new Constitution, we now have the right to strike, and each union has the space to grow towards its own objectives. I want to thank UNI Americas, who have worked tirelessly for labour rights - it's been a pleasure to work side-by-side with union leaders to improve rights in Chile."

    Luisa Alcalde, Mexico's Secretary of Labour, celebrated the moment the region is going through: "It is fundamental that as trade unions, we lead the way in the fight to democratize our societies, push back against ruthless governments and companies, and fight for workers' rights," said Alcalde. "We cannot depend on legal and cultural reform - we need trade unionism to be the innovative force for good that workers need."

    After the interventions from politicians, union leaders emphasized the achievements of the trade union movement and called to deepen trade union rights in the region. "We have to fight to redistribute wealth and build strong unions all over the world," said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. "Workers cannot take the economic hit of a cost-of-living crisis, particularly after a debilitating global pandemic. We must use all our collective power to build a better world for workers."

    Héctor Daer, President of UNI Americas, closed the conference calling for a deepening of trade union rights: "Now, more than ever, we need collective bargaining and strong unions. The political realignment to the left in Latin America means that we must take full advantage of this moment and strengthen worker power and organizations."

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

    A new social contract is needed to stop intensifying workers rights violations

    29 June, 2022:   The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index is raising alarm over the shocking violations of workers fundamental rights that include the right to strike, to form and join a union, to register a union, and the right to collective bargaining. The right to justice is also being denied as well as freedoms of speech and assembly. In some countries workers are excluded from labour protection that is provided for in national laws and international labour standards.

    The ITUC Index, launched online on 28 June under the theme - "Rebuilding trust with a new social contract" -- is an annual survey of 148 countries. Based on the findings, the Index is stressing that trade unions must fight against the push back on workers fundamental rights by employers and governments as seen in murders of trade unionists, violent attacks, arbitrary arrests, and detentions. Human rights and civil liberties are also being violated.

    The ITUC Index states that trade unionists were murdered in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iraq, Italy, Lesotho, Myanmar, Philippines, and South Africa. Further, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions took place in 69 countries with worst cases reported in Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Myanmar.

    The worst violations of workers' rights occurred in the Middle East and North Africa while conflicts and coup d'états worsened the conditions for workers. Additionally, restricted access to justice is also increasing in Africa with reported incidences rising from 76-95 per cent from 2021 to 2022.

    The world's 10 worst countries for workers identified in the Index are Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Eswatini, Guatemala, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Turkey. These countries are vicious against trade unions. They use regressive and repressive criminal laws, impede union formation, force unions to close, arbitrary and mass arrests of union leaders, anti-union discriminatory measures, union-busting and unfair dismissals of union leaders, violate collective agreements, murders and impunity, prosecution of strikers, violate freedom of assembly, police violence and brutal state repression of strikes and protests.

    Several speakers narrated what is happening in their countries as confirmed by the ITUC Index.

    Maung Maung from Myanmar said despite trade unionists having been killed, arrested, imprisoned, and harassed, "the revolution is holding on." However, most of the union leadership is in hiding or exile.

    "The government of Brazil is hostile to trade unions and there is regression on workers' rights which are violated daily without limitation, especially against Black women workers," said Rosa Souza Fernandes.

    Maksim Pazniakou said: There are unprecedented repressive measures in Belarus characterised by trumped up charges against union leaders. Further, the public prosecutor wants independent trade unions to be banned."

    "There is hostility against trade unions and protesters including workers. Workers have been killed when state security forces used live bullets to disperse protesters," said Mduduzi Gina from Eswatini.

    "It will take a new social contract with jobs, rights, social protection, just wages, equality, and inclusion to rebuild the trust that has been shattered by repressive governments and abusive companies. The social contract has been torn apart. But together we can write a new one," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary.

    She said the new social contract must address precarious work, job creation and the Just Transition. Further, the social contract must find solutions to the high inequality, climate emergency, and the post-Covid 19 economic downturn.

    "IndustriALL Global Union welcomes the ITUC Global Rights Index, which mirrors our campaigns against the gross violations of human and workers' rights in Myanmar, the arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of trade union leaders in Belarus, and the use of violence against striking workers in Bangladesh and Eswatini. "It is tragic to see that the situation for workers is worsening in country after country. Unions must be firm in their fight back, and IndustriALL will stand with our affiliates to win back the rights that have been taken from us, and to win new ones," says Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary.

    The ITUC Global Rights Index has 97 indicators, derived from ILO fundamental rights at work, especially Convention 87 (freedom of association and protection of the right to organize) and Convention 98 (right to organize and collective bargaining), as well as international human rights law. The current report is for the period March 2021 to April 2022.

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

    Multiple areas of crisis see workers' rights crumble: 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index

    Key measures of abuse of workers' rights have reached record highs, according to the 2022 edition of the International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC) flagship Global Rights Index.

    28-06-2022:   This ninth edition of the Index (available at ranks 148 countries by their respect for workers' rights. As a comprehensive review of workers' rights in law, it is the only database of its kind. Cases of violations and national ratings can be viewed by country and region.

    Nine-year highs have been recorded in several areas:

    • 113 countries exclude workers from their right to establish or join a trade union, up from 106 in 2021 to 113. Workers were excluded from workplace representation in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Syria and Tunisia.
    • 77% of countries denied workers the right to establish and join a trade union.
    • Authorities in 74% of countries impeded the registration of unions, up from 59%, with state repression of independent union activity in Afghanistan, Belarus, Egypt, Jordan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Sudan.
    • 50 countries exposed workers to physical violence, up from 45 in 2021, including a rise of 35% to 43% of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and 12% to 26% in Europe.
    • 87% of countries violated the right to strike. Strikes in Belarus, Egypt, India, Myanmar, the Philippines and Sudan were met with the arrest of union leaders or with violent repression.
    • Four in five countries blocked collective bargaining. This right is being eroded in the public and private sector in every region. In Tunisia, no negotiations can take place with unions without authorisation from the head of government.

    ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "We know that workers are on the front line of multiple and extraordinary crises: historic levels of inequality, the climate emergency, a pandemic destroying lives and livelihoods, and conflicts with devastating domestic and global impacts. "The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index exposes how this instability is being exploited with so many governments and employers attacking workers' rights.

    "We must expose the wrongdoing to make governments realise they have to rebuild with a new social contract: jobs, wages, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion."

    • The ten worst countries for working people are Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Myanmar, the Philippines and Turkey, with Eswatini and Guatemala entering the list for 2022.
    • Country ratings improved for El Salvador, Niger and Saudi Arabia, but worsened for Armenia, Afghanistan, Australia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Jamaica, Lesotho, the Netherlands, Tunisia and Uruguay.
    • Trade unionists were killed in thirteen countries, 41% of countries denied or constrained freedom of speech and assembly, workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detentions in 69 countries, and 66% of countries denied or restricted workers access to justice, including a rise from 76% to 95% of countries in Africa.

    "The world needs a new social contract to start to undo this damage. Fundamentally, this will put working people back at the centre of the economy. "Working people are the first to suffer the consequences of wars, authoritarian governments, exploitative employers and inaction on climate. Their interests must be put first in the decisions to tackle these crises, and they must have a voice in the decision-making through their unions.

    "Where there is abusive monopoly power or violations of human and labour rights or a struggle for peace and democracy, unions of working people are there to win justice, rights and representation. And without unions, there will be no just transition in the face of climate change and technological change.

    "The 2022 Index is more evidence that the status quo cannot continue. The economic model has supported a race to the bottom that disregards human rights and environmental standards. The nine years of data from the Index show that this is spreading.

    "Workers and consumers demand better. They demand jobs, wages, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion. They demand a new social contract that can start to rebuild trust and lives."

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

    Green aviation: trade unions demand strong international commitment with social sustainability and a Just Transition

    21 Jun 2022:   ITF, IndustriALL, ETF and IndustriALL Europe Joint Statement

    The transition to a more sustainable aviation sector will impact workers and trade unions are demanding concrete measures to ensure a just transition and a fair transformation of the sector which is inclusive and maintains and creates decent jobs.

    This week, International and European trade unions representing workers in the aerospace and aviation sectors met to discuss a united position ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in September, at which it is hoped that the future pathway towards sustainable aviation will be agreed by international governments and key industry stakeholders.

    At such a critical time, where the aviation industry faces the urgent challenge of responding the continued fallout from the Covid crisis, unions have identified the need for a coordinated industry-wide response from airlines, airports, governments, and unions to rectify capacity shortages, flight delays and beleaguered service levels that have plagued the industry for months.

    Workers' participation is critical, not just in fixing the underlying issues that are currently crippling the industry, but crucially in the addressing the long-term sustainability and decarbonisation of the industry. Workers' participation will be essential in the social management of such a major industrial change. Climate justice cannot exist without labor justice with decent work being created through freedom of association and collective bargaining.

    The meeting organized by IndustriALL Global Trade Union, International Transport Workers' Federation, and their European counterparts IndustriALL European Trade Union and the European Transport Workers' Federation follow successful collaboration on the Toulouse Declaration on the future sustainability and decarbonisation of aviation.

    The aerospace and aviation sectors are intrinsically linked. Global trade union federations are particularly important in these processes playing a key role linking common needs and are essential in turning them into an international vision and strategy. Trade unions from both sectors see significant opportunities offered by a combined and cross-sectoral approach, based on a supply chain-wide vision and an international industrial strategy that is built on foundations of sustainability and decent work.

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

    Progress for Domestic Workers' Rights, but most of the world lags behind

    Despite progress in several countries in protecting the labour rights of domestic workers, most of the world still lags behind.

    16-06-2022:   Thirty-five countries have now ratified ILO Convention 189, which was adopted 11 years ago today, along with Recommendation 201. These international standards provide vital protections for domestic workers, and provide a basis for trade unions and domestic workers' organisations to ensure that domestic workers are covered by labour legislation. Today, some 16% of the world's estimated 76 million domestic workers are covered, and only around 8% of countries, mostly in Arab and Asia-Pacific countries wholly exclude them from coverage.

    Despite the progress, exploitation and abuse of domestic workers, most of whom are women, remains widespread. Live-in domestic workers and migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to poor working conditions. Exploitation, abuse, gender-based violence and harassment persist for many domestic workers.

    Other decent work deficits persist as well, including excessive or undefined working hours, insufficient rest, low or non-payment of wages and lack of access to social protection. Globally, domestic workers earn around 56 per cent of the average monthly wages of other employees, and many of them are trapped in informal work.

    Sharan Burrow, ITUC general Secretary, said "We welcome and support the work of so many unions and domestic workers' groups to get governments to recognise this undervalued and often exploitative work, and bringing these tens of millions of workers into the scope of labour legislation is a vital step. We call on all governments to do so, including with ratification of Convention 189. This is one of the largest occupational groups in the world, and there can be no excuse for depriving them of rights and protections."

    The ITUC 4th World Women's Conference this year endorsed the care economy agenda as one of the critical pillars in its roadmap and outcome document, which embeds its commitment to ensure decent work for all care workers, including domestic workers.

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

    Unions reject poverty minimum wages in Zimbabwe

    15 June, 2022:   IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Zimbabwe that organize in the chemicals and plastics, energy, garment and textile, metals and engineering, mining, and other manufacturing sectors, are rejecting a minimum wage of ZWL $25,000 (US$77) that was announced by the ministry of public service, labour, and social welfare which they say is a poverty wage.

    The money can only buy two dozen loaves of bread. The unions say to avoid living in poverty, the workers must be paid over ZWL $130,000 or US$400, and that the government must engage trade unions through social dialogue platforms before making the wage announcements.

    The wage crisis in the country is leading unions to negotiate for shorter collective bargaining agreements with clauses stating that the wages must be adjusted to the inflation rate. Unions are also requesting employers to pay workers in the more stable US dollar.

    Some grocery stores have stopped selling goods in the local currency, which is fast losing value. This puts workers into in a dilemma as they are forced to buy the US dollars on the streets where the rate is higher. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, year-on-year inflation in May was 131.7 per cent while the current exchange rate to the US dollar is ZWL$325.56.

    The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, to which some IndustriALL affiliates are members, says the country's workers are the working poor as they earn below the poverty line. With high unemployment, estimated to be 47 per cent by Zimbabwe National Statistic Agency using the expanded rate, the workers are likely to be the breadwinners in their households. with most workers employed under precarious conditions in the informal sector, unions dispute the official unemployment rate as low.

    Joseph Tanyanyiwa, the chairperson of the IndustriALL National Council for Zimbabwe says: "It is our strong view that the gazette minimum wage is too paltry and in no way related to the prevailing macro-economic fundamentals in Zimbabwe. The reality on the ground is that the prices of basic commodities are rising while the ZWL continues to depreciate against the Unites States Dollar. It is with this gloomy scenario that we wonder what criterion the minister used to set such a low minimum wage. A minimum wage of ZWL $25,000 is unreasonable, inadequate and a slap in the face of the workers.

    "For years, Zimbabwean workers have been losing savings, pensions, and the value of their wages to hyperinflation and the unresolved economic crisis. When we thought the crisis was over, we are shocked to see that hyperinflation is again eroding workers' wages. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to implement sustainable economic policies that will protect the value of the workers' wages, improve living conditions, and stop the precarious working conditions prevailing in the country," says Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa.

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

    ILO: Major breakthrough on occupational health and safety

    Working people around the world are set to benefit directly from the decision today at the International Labour Conference (ILC) to recognise occupational health and safety as the fifth fundamental principle and right at work.

    10-06-2022:   The change by the ILC - the UN parliament for workplace issues - is the first extension of workers' fundamental human rights in a quarter of a century. Over 3 million workers a year die because of their work and tens of millions more suffer injuries and ill health. This victory, from a sustained three-year campaign by trade unions, professionals and practitioners and victims' families, will begin to turn that deadly tide.

    It adds the right to a healthy and safe working environment to the four rights adopted in 1998 by the International Labour Organization (ILO):

    • Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
    • The elimination of forced or compulsory labour.
    • The abolition of child labour.
    • The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

    The ILC, which brings together unions, employers' representatives and governments from the member states, also adopted ILO Convention 155 on occupational health and safety and Convention 187 on promoting health and safety as 'fundamental conventions' that all ILO member countries are obliged to uphold. Such conventions are also often included in trade agreements, international financing rules and global supply chain standards.

    ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "The COVID-19 pandemic showed beyond doubt that action was needed to protect workers who are all too often forced to choose between their health and their livelihood. No one should die just to make a living.

    "Workers and unions around the world have marked International Workers' Memorial Day every 28 April mourning the dead and fighting for the living. Now we should celebrate this win and get down to making these rights effective."

    Unions will now campaign to increase the number of countries ratifying and implementing all ILO health and safety conventions, giving workers the right to consultation over risk assessments, eradication of toxic chemicals and toxic work organisation including long hours, as well as free protective equipment and training and the right to refuse dangerous work.

    Unions will also campaign to extend access to occupational health services beyond the 20% of workers worldwide who currently have it, as well as universal sick pay from day one, more powers for union workplace safety reps and more joint safety committees.

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

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