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International Workers Memorial Day - April 28, 2021

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LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns

People Over Profit...
Public Services International

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

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

Union Member Candidate Program...
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations

Campaign to Organize Digital Employees...
Communications Workers of America

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. Relevant NEWS and ARTICLES

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

MAY DAY - International Workers Day - May 01, 2021

International Workers Day

Canadian Pension Plan dollars are being used to fund Bolsonaro's water privatization in Brazil

APR 13, 2021:   Over $266 million of Canadians' public pension fund could be used to take water and sanitation out of public control in Brazil. If successful, Canadian workers' public pension would be funded directly by Brazilians that already suffer from fragile and unequal access to clean water and sanitation.

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board CPPIB is in the process of acquiring a 45% stake in a Brazilian sanitation company called Igua Saneamento for $266 million. Igua Saneamento is seeking this capital to participate in the privatization and auctioning of public water services in the state of Rio de Janeiro scheduled to take place on April 30.

PSI's Brazilian affiliate, the National Federation of Urban workers, FNU is engaged in a fight to keep water public across Brazil, with PSI's support. The focus of this struggle right now is the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The experiences of all of PSI's affiliates in every region around the world maintain the same pattern. Privatization deepens already unequal access to essential life-sustaining services, leads to deterioration of the quality of services and infrastructure, introduction of new and increases to existing fees, and leads directly to increases in violations of workers' basic rights. PSI's local affiliate has already reported that 4000 of the 5000 workers would immediately lose their jobs if Rio de Janeiro's public water company, CEDAE is privatized.

Organizing collective resistance to this specific privatization is urgent for several reasons:

  1. This privatization effort is a completely illegitimate result of the 2016 political coup that ousted former President Dilma Rousseff and whose developments led directly to the election of Jair Bolsonaro to the Presidency of Brazil in 2018. The interim government that was installed after the coup organized a national program of debt renegotiation for public entities. In a totally illegitimate decision, the public water company in Rio (CEDAE) was included in this program despite maintaining a profit of over $1,2 billion Brazilian reais ($264,504,000 Canadian dollars) per year. For this reason, PSI's local affiliate, the FNU is currently contesting CEDAE's inclusion at the Brazilian supreme court.
  2. A successful privatization would support the agenda of the Bolsonaro government and strengthen his position. The opposite is also true - blocking the privatization would weaken this incredibly destructive government. PSI is currently engaged in similar fights against opportunistic privatizations of essential public infrastructure in the middle of a global pandemic.
  3. Water is an essential service absolutely necessary to survival. This fact has become even more starkly clear during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 36,000 Brazilians have died from this disease in the city of Rio de Janeiro alone. Access to clean water and sanitation services are key indicators of what could happen when someone becomes infected with the coronavirus.
  4. Any investment in Brazilian infrastructure is inherently risky. In the case that the Lula da Silva's Workers' Party returns to power in the 2022 national elections, there is a substantive possibility that key infrastructure sold off during the Bolsonaro's term will be brought back under public control.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 154 countries

Belarusian independent unions receive 2021 Arthur Svensson prize

9 April, 2021:   The Arthur Svensson international prize for trade union rights has been awarded to the independent trade union movement in Belarus. They get it for their fearless struggle for democracy and union rights in Europe's last dictatorship.

This year's winner of the Arthur Svensson international prize for trade union rights is the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliated unions, including three IndustriALL affiliates; Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU), Free Metal Workers Union (SPM) and Belarusian Radio and Electronic Industry Workers' Union (REP).

Says Industri Energi president Frode Alfheim: "The independent trade union movement has been central in the fight against the falsification of election result and the fight for democracy. Trade union representatives and activists have been fired and many have been imprisoned or forced to flee the country. Nevertheless, the unions in the BKDP have recruited new members, formed new local unions and continued the struggle. This will be crucial for the Lukashenko regime to fall in the end."

"We are grateful that our work to protect the rights of working people has been noted at such a high level. It inspires us and stimulates us to continue. Despite severe repressions, 17 members of our union were sentenced to different prison terms only this year, REP continues to fight for the workers. I am sure that no amount of repression can stop our struggle freedom, independence and solidarity," says REP leader Gennady Fedynich.

For the past 26 years in Belarus, normal union work, like organizing and retaining new members, registering new unions, collective bargaining, organizing strikes or protests, has been subject to complete or partial limitation by Lukashenko regime, trying to control the independent trade union movement. Belarus is considered one of the worst countries in the world for violating workers' rights. However, the independent trade unions BITU, SPM and REP, refuse to give up and continue fighting for their members, even in the face of increasing difficulties.

"This is a great honour, we believe that this award belongs to all Belarusian workers who have shown the strength of solidarity over the past year. We will do our outmost to ensure that the next reward is be the observance of rights in Belarus, in particular, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and the right to strike," says BITU chair Maxim Poznyakov.

After the rigged presidential election in August 2020, the situation further deteriorated. Any form of protest was met with mass repression, including unjustified detentions and harsh prison sentences. A number of union activists and leaders have been fired and arrested, their homes and union offices have been searched. REP chair Vasily Zavadsky was forced to flee Belarus. Nevertheless, Belarusian independent unions continue their daily struggle for democracy, workers' and human rights.

"SPM is grateful for the recognition of Belarusian independent unions' role in the struggle for democratic transition and protection of workers' rights. We have always felt the support of IndustriALL and the international labour movement. The struggle continues, and we will make sure that workers in Belarus get rid of the political dictatorship and can freely unite in their organizations to protect their rights," says SPM chair Aleksander Bukhvostov.

The Prize Committee states that in shaping a new political and economic regime after the fall of Lukashenko, a vibrant trade union movement, independent of political authorities, will be crucial in creating a society that serves the vast majority.

IndustriALL supported the nomination and congratulates the recipients IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says: "All three unions have fought tirelessly for workers' rights. We admire their continued courageous struggle for democracy in Belarus in general, and for genuine workers' representation in the workplace in particular. These unions will play a key role in drawing up a new political and economic agenda for Belarus, safeguarding the social and economic interests of the whole population."

Arthur Svensson international prize for trade union rights was established by Norwegian union Industri Energi to promote and strengthen trade unions and trade union rights internationally.

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

Belarus: ILO and UN Human Rights Council speak out

The ITUC has welcomed an International Labour Organization (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association report that calls the Belarus government to account over serious violations of workers' rights, including freedom of association and the right to strike.

06-04-2021:   The recommendations of an ILO Commission of Inquiry in 2004 have largely been ignored by the government, which is continuing its campaign of anti-union repression after working people rejected the falsified election results through which Alexander Lukashenko retained power last August.

Repression of the independent trade union movement in Belarus has continued unabated, with:

  • union representatives detained;
  • union offices raided;
  • threats against protesting workers;
  • and the confirmation by an appeals court of prison sentences of up to three years against three former employees of the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant (BMZ): Alexander Bobrov, Igor Povarov and Evgeny Govor for supporting strike action and protests.

Police have been forcing unions to hand over personal information about their members, causing serious concern about action against people who have exercised their right to join a union.

The UN Human Rights Council also adopted a strong resolution on the repression of human rights, including freedom of association, in Belarus. Several countries with the support of the EU have now launched a Belarus Accountability Platform, to track and document human rights violations in the country.

"The focus of the ILO and other UN bodies on Belarus is extremely important, and the moves to document violations and those responsible will mean transparency and the basis for human rights violators to be held to account," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "The government has failed to implement key recommendations of the ILO Commission of Inquiry and is now intensifying its suppression of freedom of association. We will be raising this at the ILO Conference in June and looking at other steps to ensure that Belarus complies with its obligations. The ITUC stands with our sisters and brothers in the BKDP and will continue to organise international solidarity for their fundamental rights," added Sharan Burrow.

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

Trade unionist killed in the Philippines

31 March, 2021:   35-year old trade union leader Dandy Miguel was killed on 28 March in Calamba city, after taking cases of extrajudicial killings to the Commission of Human Rights. His death adds to the more than 50 trade unionists that have been killed since Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016.

Dandy Miguel was shot eight times by unknown assassins while riding a motorcycle home from his workplace. Just before, Miguel had lodged a complaint with the Commission of Human Rights, criticizing extrajudicial killings of nine labour and NGO activists on 7 March, also called Bloody Sunday, in Calabarzon. The Bloody Sunday happened after Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte openly called on security forces to gun down communists if they carried guns. But all of the victims were unarmed rights activists and community organizers attached to legal organizations.

"The assassins of Miguel must be arrested and brought to justice immediately. The family of Miguel and other victims must be entitled to state remedy and reparation," says IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches.

"IndustriALL joins the calls of the Commission of Human Rights that all crackdowns against human rights defenders, such as illegal arrests, harassment and terrorist tagging of trade unionists in the country, must end."

Last year, the Council of Global Unions staged a global day of action against the extra judicial killings and red-tagging of trade unionists in the Philippines. The Philippine government has yet to respond.

Miguel was president of Fuji Electric Philippines Union and vice chair of Pamantik-KMU, affiliated to IndustriALL through MWAP.

MWAP spokesperson Julius Carandang, says: "We vehemently condemn the killing of Miguel, who was fighting for workers' rights in the province. His murder is further proof of a widespread culture of impunity and a hostile climate for independent trade unionism in the country. "The anti-terrorism law, the national task force to end local communist conflict has enabled the military, police and followers to label trade unionists and unarmed activists as terrorists. We join unions in the country to fight against violence and lawlessness."

An ILO high-level mission on the killings of trade unionists is still pending due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

Occupational health and safety: Progress at the ILO

A significant step towards making occupational health and safety a fundamental workers' right has been taken at the International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body.

30-03-2021:   At its meeting last week, governments overwhelmingly supported worker members of the Governing Body to move ahead with the process and it is expected that the decision will be formalised at the ILO Conference in 2022.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: "We would like to have seen this year's ILO Conference add health and safety to the list of fundamental rights, but we appreciate the support of governments for it to happen next year. This will mean greater accountability for governments and business for saving lives at work. "It is all the more important given the terrible toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe workplaces mean greater safety for workers and for the public as well. Clear evidence is emerging around the world that most Covid outbreaks are occurring in workplaces, including schools."

Support for the people of Myanmar

Other important developments at the Governing Body meeting included:

  • agreement that the ILO will develop a Biological Hazards Convention;
  • progress in ensuring decent work in global supply chains with the ILO to carry out a 'gap analysis' to address governance challenges;
  • progress made in the development of a road map to secure respect for international labour standards in Bangladesh, which is rated as one of the ten worst countries for workers in the ITUC Global Rights Index.

The Governing Body also overwhelmingly expressed support for the people and workers of Myanmar as the military's onslaught against them continues and called for the restoration of the democratically elected government. The Workers' Group of the Governing Body also adopted statements on Myanmar and on vaccine equity.

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

Building union power at Stellantis, Morocco

24 March, 2021:   With solid support from IndustriALL, Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT), has succeeded in organizing the Stellantis, former Peugeot Citroën (PSA), factory in Kenitra.

The auto industry in Morocco is booming and its supply chain widening fast with the arrival of new players from across the world. With its 135,000-strong workforce, the industry has become primary export sector and plays a pivotal role in the country's development. The Stellantis plant in Kenitra comes out of a major investment by French auto giant PSA in recent years. Since 2019 the workforce has grown to 3,000 employees, and there are plans to make it the largest automotive operation in Morocco.

Often unions face difficulties in organizing and operating in the special economic zones (SEZ) as employers try to keep them out. UMT reached a first major breakthrough in 2012, when organizing the Renault factory in the Tanger SEZ. In both the case of Renault and that of Stellantis, the global framework agreements IndustriALL has signed with the car manufacturers, together with global solidarity, played important roles. There was a first meeting between the PSA management in Morocco and the unions in 2018, during the IndustriALL MENA auto network meeting in Casablanca.

UMT general secretary Miloudi Moukharik says: "This success is the result of our continuous work to strengthen union work in the relatively new industries in Morocco, including aerospace and automotive, where large numbers of multinational companies and their supply chains operate. International solidarity from IndustriALL has been important. We are prioritizing a fruitful dialogue with the company with the aim of developing a collective agreement that promotes stability and cooperation between the union and the management."

After years of groundwork, UMT Kenitra leaders and young union leaders who have been trained within the framework of the IndustriALL youth programme, have played an active role in organizing at the factory. At a crucial moment of wining the recognition, the new union successfully organized a general assembly with the participation of 300 workers, as more members joined the union. Trainings for the new union members are expected to start next month.

"Organizing workers at Stellantis is an important step forward and the result of many years of work with the support from union building programmes, global framework agreements and company networks. "IndustriALL will continue to support UMT's efforts for the establishment of a national metal federation, bringing together the auto and wiring, electronics and ICT, steel and aerospace sectors," says Ahmed Kamel, MENA regional secretary.

Throughout the organizing drive in Morocco we had no doubts that PSA management would honour the fundamental rights of freedom of association," says IndustriALL automotive director, Georg Leutert.

Stellantis N.V. was formed in January 2021, through the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA. IndustriALL is currently in preliminary talks with the new company regarding continued transnational social dialogue and the application of fundamental labour rights.

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

ILO: World's leading experts call for occupational health and safety to be made a fundamental right

The world's foremost experts in occupational health and safety have called for the International Labour Organization (ILO) to designate workers' health and safety as a fundamental right on the eve of a 23 March ILO Governing Body debate on the issue.

22-03-2021:   Unions are calling for the ILO Conference in June 2021 to elevate health and safety to the highest level of international labour standards, to increase the accountability of governments and employers in saving lives at work and to get more countries to ratify vital health and safety Conventions. This would fulfil a pledge in the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration, unanimously adopted by governments, workers and employers, to ensure occupational health and safety for all workers.

Collegium Ramazzini, the premier independent international body of experts on occupational and environmental medicine, has called on the ILO, as a matter of urgency, to implement the decisions of the 2019 International Labour Conference, ideally at the 2021 Conference. The Collegium Ramazzini said: "Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are harmed each year by their work. Millions more die. This carnage is preventable, but only if the protection of workers from harm is given high priority and worker health and safety is recognized as a fundamental human right. The ILO must act at the earliest opportunity to recognize occupational health and safety as an ILO Fundamental Right at Work."

Save lives at work

Nick Pahl, CEO of the UK-based Society of Occupational Medicine, the professional body for occupational physicians globally, said:' "The Society of Occupational Medicine strongly supports the designation of occupational health and safety as an ILO Fundamental Right at Work. We urge the ILO Governing Body to act expeditiously to progress the decision of the ILO Centenary Conference (session 108) in 2019, with a view to having the designation of occupational health and safety as a Fundamental Right at Work (FRAW) on the agenda of the 2021 International Labour Conference."

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "Governments and employers should listen to these leading experts. For far too long, protecting workers from work injuries and illness has had a lower status than other fundamental rights at work. Some employers and even some governments seem to think that the costs of doing business can be traded off against workers' lives. Giving health and safety the legal status it deserves will right a historic wrong, and also boost efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control."

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

Algerian women trade unionists released thanks to international campaign

MAR 17, 2021:   More than 8000 letters were sent through the LabourStart campaign PSI launched in support of its affiliate, SNAPAP Women's Committee, resulting in the recent release of Dalila Touat and Namia Abdelkader, both teachers and prisoners of conscience. Dalila's trial has been postponed while Namia was acquitted this week.

Nassira Ghozlane, SNAPAP General Secretary, has written to PSI to say thank you for "an effective, influential and successful campaign".

Read the translation: We, members of the National Committee of Working Women affiliated to SNAPAP/CGATA with the Hirak Women's Collective, trade unionists, feminist activists, political associations, lawyers, whistleblowers, bloggers and other activists, engaged in the campaign of solidarity with the detained women, express our recognition and thanks to Public Services International PSI for the effectiveness of the campaign of solidarity with the women arbitrarily detained by the ruling junta.

Thanks to this international campaign initiated by PSI, international trade unions from all over the world have called on the Algerian government to release Dalila Touat and Namia Abdelkader and to stop the persecution of women trade unionists and activists. Thanks to this international campaign, the two activists were released and placed under judicial supervision, Dalila Touat's trial was postponed until the end of March, while Namia Abdelkader was acquitted this week thanks to PSI's campaign at her retrial in March 2021.

Once again, thank you for your support and commitment to our peaceful struggles for the right to freedom of expression and change towards democracy. - Nassira Ghozlane - SNAPAP General Secretary

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 154 countries

IndustriALL and H&M Group reinforce cooperation to support recovery of global garment industry

15 March, 2021:   The ongoing pandemic is putting enormous pressure on the global garment industry. IndustriALL Global Union and Swedish fashion giant H&M Group (H&M) are re-affirming their commitment to work together to support the economic and social recovery of the industry through the Covid-19 crisis.

Since the beginning of the crisis, H&M and IndustriALL have acted in different forms, both bilaterally and in multi-stakeholder initiatives. This cooperation has been integral in supporting the supply chain and sector through this period. IndustriALL and H&M have had a close cooperation on both global and national levels, not least within the national monitoring committees established in six countries under the global framework agreement first signed in 2015.

In order to minimize the impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic and strengthen the cooperation beyond, H&M and IndustriALL now publicly reaffirm and strengthen their commitments to work together with the suppliers.

"Manufacturing suppliers need stability and predictability to preserve the conditions for employment and income; that is the kind of commitment this joint statement brings. We are working together to help the industry develop strength to recover from the crisis, save jobs and preserve the rights and income of workers. "This clear sign from H&M to its suppliers is crucial so that our affiliated unions can fully exercise their role to defend jobs, rights, wages and working conditions of the workers along H&M's supply chain," says IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches.

Yosef El - Natour, head of production H&M Group, says: "The importance of meaningful and close collaboration between companies and trade unions has become even more evident during the pandemic. Only by joining forces - in particular at the factory floor - we can efficiently use our combined leverage and expertise to tackle challenges when it comes to safe-guarding workers' fundamental rights in the wake of Covid-19."

The joint agreement includes:

  • strengthening the environment for the respect of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights along H&M's supply chain
  • promoting social dialogue at all levels as the main way to solve conflicts
  • reaffirming the commitments for responsible purchasing practices through stable orders, fulfilling the payment terms and by fostering conditions that allow suppliers to honor payments to workers and to preserve the level of employment and income
  • requiring all direct suppliers and their subcontractors to implement necessary special protective measures and provide necessary protective equipment
  • working jointly with governments and business organizations to promote their engagement under the ILO Call to Action and similar initiatives

"This joint declaration confirms H&M's genuine engagement to continue and reinforce our close cooperation based on the global framework agreement. There are challenges ahead, but improved working conditions and a sustainable garment industry can only be achieved through cooperation," says Marie Nilsson, president of Swedish union IF Metall, co-signatures of the agreement.

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

USA: Labor Movement Applauds PRO Act's Passage in the House, Calls for Urgent Senate Action

March 9, 2021:   Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka after the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in the House of Representatives:

This is a historic moment in the struggle for working people's rights on the job, and it was delivered by a broad coalition that transcends any one issue, party or ideology. This fight is about strengthening fundamental civil rights. It's about making us safer on the job, creating fairer workplaces and building a stronger economy. In the wake of a devastating year for America's workers, that cause has never been more urgent.

Working people have been patient long enough. We aren't interested in excuses, and we aren't interested in waiting. The PRO Act is our litmus test. If progress is delayed or denied yet again, the suffering of the past year will only get worse and working people will continue to pay the price of failed leadership.

But if the Senate steps up to the plate and delivers generational change-the change we voted for-we will emerge from this crisis stronger than before. Everyone deserves the basic protections and dignities that come with a union card. The day the PRO Act is signed into law, tens of millions more working people will finally be free to carry that power in our pockets.

Source:  American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations

Pass Pro Act

Georgia: workers at Borjomi mineral water plant unite in trade union

02/03/2021:   After more than a year of intense effort, workers at the Borjomi mineral water plant have succeeded in forming a new, independent local trade union and have joined the IUF affiliate Georgian Agriculture, Commercial and Industry Workers Trade Union.

  • The organizing success comes in the face of double-digit unemployment, a general climate of repressive employers and recent political tensions across the country
  • The union will now address key workplace issues including inadequate wages, safety issues, staff shortages, overtime, and work breaks through collective bargaining
  • The Borjomi Georgia Company is a subsidiary of Borjomi International, the largest producer of natural mineral water in The Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic countries

The national union chairperson, Giorgi Diasamidze commented, "We will do everything possible to support the new trade union and its efforts to protect and advance workers' rights. One key priority will be to organize training for union members so they fully understand their rights and can achieve their collective objectives."

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

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