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ITUC Global Rights Index
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 2021 Global Rights Index rates the world's worst countries for workers -- 149 countries on a scale from 1 to 5+ relevant to respect of workers' rights.
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
Canada Goose workers vote to join a union
13 January, 2022: 86 per cent of the workers making luxury jackets Canada Goose in Canada, have voted to join IndustriALL affiliate, Workers United Canada Council. This is the largest private sector victory for manufacturing workers in Canada in 30 years and is a culmination of a three-year effort by the workers, most of whom are immigrant women sewers.
According to reports, there had been issues with terminations and discipline, and some workers felt the piece-rate system was unfair. The union win on 1 December last year will result in 1,200 garment workers at Canada Goose's two factories having representation and a voice in their workplace.
"This is a wonderful moment for our workers. We work so hard to make this company a success. Now we feel we have a real voice in the company to share in that success," said Alelie Sanvictores, a sewer who has worked for the company for five years and is a leader of the union effort.
The organizing campaign was led by a diverse and large committee of Canada Goose workers who spent hours after work talking to their co-workers about forming their own local union. Students, community leaders, and immigrant rights group also joined the campaign to urge Canada Goose to respect workers' right to organize.
"I want to congratulate the workers of Canada Goose for this amazing victory. I also want to salute the company. No employer wants a union but Canada Goose management stayed neutral and allowed the workers the right to exercise their democratic vote," said Richard Minter, international organizing director for Workers United.
Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary, says "Organizing in the garment supply chain is a priority for IndustriALL and this great union win is a testament to our affiliates' continuous efforts to fight for workers' rights."
Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, represents 10,000 workers across Canada. In the United States and Canada, Workers United represents more than 86,000 workers in the apparel, laundry, food service, hospitality, non-profits, warehouse distribution and manufacturing industries.
Edgar Romney, secretary treasurer of Workers United said, "I want to congratulate the workers of Canada Goose for this amazing victory. It shows that when workers stand together to fight, we win!"
Eswatini: International trade union cooperation and solidarity to support educators
11 January 2022: International trade union cooperation was at the heart of recent activities by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). It has successfully engaged with the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) and the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ). This cooperation will allow the Swaziland/Eswatini education union to strengthen its structure and demonstrate the full support of educators at global level. It comes at a time when the union is being confronted with threats to human and trade union rights.
Engagement with South African colleagues
The SADTU branch in the neighbouring province of KwaZul-Natal (KZN) was tasked with strengthening unions in Eswatini. It entered into bilateral cooperation with SNAT, through a programme set in motion in August 2021, after a brainstorming session between the SNAT National Executive Committee and SADTU.
Objectives of partnership
Guidelines for cooperation
Time to counter union bashing
He added that "this partnership will enable the SNAT leadership to adequately guide the membership into a political education programme that will support educators in better understanding the current political climate in the country, so that they can better participate in national political debates and processes as they join in the national call for the attainment of a multiparty constitutional democracy in this country".
SADTU: Struggle against oppressive and abusive employers
The two unions have agreed that "recognising the significance of international solidarity will help us define the nature of the class revolution that we have to pursue through popular collaboration as workers", Caluza concluded.
Solidarity from Finnish educators
SNAT members "have faced a very dfficult situation" in the union and in Eswatini in general, given the way the COVID-19 "pandemic has changed our everyday life, teaching, and the status of the teachers in many ways around the globe", she added. "We have had to face the restrictions at many levels and areas of life in the name of the pandemic - and, in some cases, the restrictions seem to have come to stay.' Addressing SNAT members, Arnkil insisted that "the crisis you have faced concerning the struggle for democracy, trade union and human rights is something that we have been following with growing concern and we wish to express our solidarity to you, teachers of Swaziland".
ILO and UN principles of democracy and human rights
As Eswatini is a member of International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations (UN), it has committed itself to the ILO's and UN's principles of democracy and human rights, she emphasised. The acknowledges four categories of rights, i.e., 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, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, Arnkil explained.
She also mentioned the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "something that the UN member states should be true to every day". Article 23 of this Declaration includes significant principles concerning work:
OAJ: You are not alone
U.S. Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board sign partnership agreement to enhance information sharing, enforcement, training, and outreach
January 06, 2022: WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced today that the department's Wage and Hour Division and the NLRB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding strengthening the agencies' partnership and outlining procedures on information-sharing, joint investigations and enforcement activity, as well as training, education and community outreach.
The agreement is an effort by the agencies to improve the enforcement process of the laws they administer and reaffirms their commitment to ensure the rights and protections of workers. The partnership will help ensure that employers pay workers their rightful wages and that workers can take collective action to improve their working conditions without fear of retaliation.
"Workers across this nation put food on our tables, and keep our families well and our neighborhoods safe. In return, they deserve equity, fair pay and our respect," said Acting Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman. "The Wage and Hour Division works tirelessly to ensure workers receive their hard earned wages and job-protected leave without fear of harassment and retaliation. Collaborating with the National Labor Relations Board will expand both of our agencies' impact and effectiveness in enforcing workplace protections and combatting misclassification, and preventing retaliation against them."
The Wage and Hour Division and NLRB's collaboration will strengthen their interagency relationship by creating mechanisms to share information efficiently and establish a process for referral, joint investigation and cross training of personnel. The agreement will also allow for better enforcement against unlawful pay practices, misclassification of workers as independent contractors, and retaliation against workers who exercise their legal rights.
"All too often, workers face adverse action for speaking out about their compensation, whether it is discussing their wages, fighting back against wage theft, or advocating for higher wages. The National Labor Relations Act makes it illegal for employers to interfere with, or retaliate against, workers for taking these actions," said National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. "These issues frequently cut across multiple worker protection agencies, which is why it is so important to work collaboratively to prevent and address them."
In addition to enhanced enforcement, the agencies will use the partnership to increase the public's understanding of the laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division and the NLRB through increased community outreach, shared compliance materials, joint presentations and training events. The cooperative agreement will support the joint goals of the WHD and NLRB to protect workers who exercise their workplace rights and educate employers about their legal responsibilities under federal laws.
Historic victories for Just Eat and Deliveroo workers in Europe
5 January 2022: Food delivery workers at Just Eat in Spain and Deliveroo in the Netherlands will now be covered by collective agreements providing a host of benefits and rights, thanks to major wins by UNI Global Union affiliates in both countries.
The collective agreement between Just Eat Spain - the country's biggest delivery platform with 2.5 million users - and Spanish unions CCOO and UGT, is the first of its kind and comes under Spain's new Riders' Law which classifies food delivery couriers as employees. The agreement guarantees 30 days annual leave, a maximum working day of nine hours and health & safety protections for delivery workers at the company.
Under the agreement, which took effect from the start of January 2022, delivery workers will also have the right to disconnect and privacy from digital surveillance.
Elsewhere in Europe, a judge in the Netherlands ruled in favour of a case brought by UNI's Dutch affiliate, FNV, against multinational food delivery company, Deliveroo. It means that Deliveroo riders are now covered under FNV's collective agreement for the transport of goods, enabling riders to benefit from a fixed hourly wage, holiday and sick pay and payment during waiting time, as well as other benefits. The ruling applies retroactively to all delivery workers who currently or previously worked at Deliveroo, and riders are invited to report to FNV to jointly claim an employment contract under the new collective agreement.
The verdict comes after another appeal case ruled that the deliverers are employees and not freelancers, as Deliveroo claimed.
Willem Dijkhuizen, manager FNV Transport & Logistics, said: "This ruling is again good news for the meal delivery workers. Because they now fall under this collective labour agreement, their employment conditions are regulated properly and they have certainty about their income."
Global solidarity of Sanofi trade unions
21 December, 2021: The strong international network of unions of Sanofi employees from over 30 countries continues working together to build unity and solidarity at the global pharmaceuticals company.
The latest global meeting of the IndustriALL network was conducted on 16 December. The group analyses the company's operations, plans, and policies and develops joint responses.
The IndustriALL Sanofi Network exists at the global and regional levels, with three regional structures existing in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The Chair at European and global levels is Aline Eysseric of the FCE-CFDT in France, the company's home country.
On 16 December the network decided to call on the company's management to conduct dialogue with the global union group, in order to address a number of priority issues, and to hold information sessions on the important restructuring, new strategy rollout and new global HR Guidelines of the company. Sanofi's restructuring and relocations of operations have affected hundreds of union employees over the past two years, at a time of very successful business performance and high returns to shareholders.
A number of flashpoints for Sanofi unions currently include: the Indonesian IndustriALL FARKES decries their management taking advantage of weaker labour laws to cut severance pay; Pakistani affiliates were shocked to learn that the company plans to pull out of the country; European unions have been particularly affected by the major restructuring programs of the company and have concerns including around transparency and work life balance; Bangladeshi unions are still campaigning for a fair settlement for 52 employees affected by the company's sale of operations to Beximco; and other union issues were reported from Canada, Turkey and Latin America.
Tom Grinter from the IndustriALL Secretariat, together with Network Chair Aline Eyserric are clear on the way to address the raft of challenges: "Dialogue at the international level between our representative network and the headquarters management will provide the space to deal with all grievances. Both the company and the unions need this dialogue mechanism to support the maneuvering through of the pandemic and current historic period for the company and its employees. We expect the company to engage."
Carnage continues in Pakistan's mines as IndustriALL meets with government representatives
17 December, 2021: Representatives of IndustriALL Global Union met with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Pakistani government at the Permanent Mission in Geneva on 14 December, to address the ongoing carnage in the country's coal mines.
The meeting came just days after three miners lost their lives in the killing fields of Pakistan's coal mines on 10 December, Human Rights Day, bringing home the irony of the merciless assault on coal mineworkers. The latest deaths are in addition to the never-ending roll call of deaths.
IndustriALL is campaigning on health and safety in Pakistan, and is calling on the country to ratify and implement ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines (C176). IndustriALL has worked with the government, employers, affiliated unions in Pakistan, the ILO headquarters in Geneva, and the ILO country office in Pakistan to promote the ratification of C176.
IndustriALL general secretary, Atle Høie, accompanied by assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan and the director for mining and DGOJP, Glen Mpufane, met with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Pakistan government at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan in Geneva to push for ratification of C176. The Labour Minister at the Permanent Mission, Madam Farhat Ayesha, accompanied the Ambassador Mr. Khalil Hashmi.
Özkan briefed the Ambassador, saying that it was unacceptable that the government of Pakistan was delaying the implementation of the ILO gap analysis presented to the government and submitted to the Federal Tripartite Consultative Committee (FTCC). "The gap analysis is an important step and milestone in the ratification process and there needs to be follow through to this milestone because these deaths keep IndustriALL awake at night," he said.
Mr. Hashmi explained that Pakistan's federal constitution presented challenges, and that the governance structure of Pakistan devolved decision-making to provinces. He outlined the role of the labour ministry - the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development - in mobilizing resources needed for the ratification and implementation of C176. He gave assurances that these challenges are discussed and addressed at the FTCC.
Høie reiterated IndustriALL's demand on the urgency and imperative for finalizing the ratification process and protocols in order to submit them to the ILO. He added: "While the wrangling and discussions are going on, workers were dying at an alarming rate - this points to a systemic problem within the legislative and governance system of coal mines in Pakistan, and to a situation of lawlessness."
The productive meeting ended with agreement on the next steps, including a commitment to the ratification process by both parties, agreement to assist in the resolution of bottleneck regarding implementing the recommendation of the gap analysis, and resource mobilization towards ratification that includes capacity-building efforts. The parties would continue the dialogue and sharing of information.
Unions build pressure to implement convention for domestic workers
Ten years after it was agreed, ITUC affiliates are building pressure on governments to ratify and implement the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189 for domestic workers.
10-12-2021: C189 was negotiated in 2011 and requires that countries ensure domestic workers have the same rights and freedoms as other workers. However, a new report by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a body co-founded by the Commonwealth Trade Union Group, has found that only nine Commonwealth countries have ratified, or are in the process of ratifying, C189. This leaves 45 countries who have not, including India, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
The EU C189 Alliance, which includes global unions, has found that only eight EU members states have ratified C189.
Other ITUC affiliates across the world are pushing for governments to urgently ratify and implement in national law the rights enshrined in C189. Globally, 35 countries have done this.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, said: "Ratifying and implementing C189 is a moral duty of all governments to show that they value the work of domestic workers. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic many have kept working and caring, despite the risks to their own health. "They are too often forgotten and as they are mostly women migrant workers, they are too often exploited.
"I encourage the unions involved in campaigns to ratify C189 to keep up their important work. It is a scandal that ten years after C189 was agreed it is not more widely implemented. But with their efforts C189 will be put in place more widely and domestic workers will enjoy the rights and freedoms they deserve."