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coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations
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it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States
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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.
Council of Global Unions Joint Solidarity Statement - Justice for Lee Cheuk Yan and ensuring fundamental rights in Hong Kong
The Council of Global Unions (CGU) - representing more than 200 million workers from across the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Union Federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) - wholeheartedly condemns the unlawful arrests of trade union and prodemocracy leaders and activists by the Hong Kong police, attacks on working people in Hong Kong, and proposals for a new National Security Law.
01-07-2020: On 15 June 2020, Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), and fourteen other pro-democracy leaders and activists appeared in court, charged with participating and organising illegal assemblies demanding the withdrawal of the extradition bill and universal suffrage in 2019. Similar charges were made against Lee on 28 February 2020, and on 11 June 2020 for his leading role in the June Fourth candle vigil.
The UN Human Rights Committee has repeatedly urged the Hong Kong government to revoke the prior notification to public assemblies and excessive restrictions under the Hong Kong Public Order Ordinance for contravention of Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Continuing assaults on journalists as well as prosecutions and open threats made by the Hong Kong government against trade union leaders, healthcare workers, teachers, social workers and civil servants for exercising their professional role and trade union rights are in contravention with the principle of freedom of association. We oppose the adoption of the national security law on Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 30 June. The legislative process failed to respect transparency and the basic right of the people of Hong Kong to participate and be consulted. The law has been inserted into the Basic Law of Hong Kong and shall take effect on 1 July.
The CGU shares the grave concerns held widely in Hong Kong and the international community about the broad scope of the crimes stipulated in the law, its enforcement and the accountability of the mainland Chinese national security apparatus to be established in Hong Kong. The legislation has seriously undermined the One Country Two Systems principle and poses tangible threats to the fundamental rights and freedoms which lie at the core of the principle of freedom of association.
We recall the ILO request that such legislation must be compliant with ILO Convention No. 87 on freedom of association. As the UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned on 19 June, such laws must never be used to criminalise conduct and expression protected under international human rights law. The CGU unreservedly supports the right to free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association for the independent Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and the people of Hong Kong.
The CGU calls for:
Source: International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates
2020 ITUC Global Rights Index: violations of workers' rights at seven-year high
The breakdown of the social contract has been exposed in the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index with violations of workers' rights at a seven-year high.
18-06-2020: This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions. An increase in the number of countries that deny or constrain freedom of speech shows the fragility of democracies while the number of countries restricting access to justice has remained unacceptably high at last year's levels.
A new trend identified in 2020 shows a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders in an attempt to instill fear and put pressure on independent unions and their members.
The General Secretary of the ITUC, Sharan Burrow, said: "These threats to workers, our economies and democracy were endemic in workplaces and countries before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted lives and livelihoods. In many countries, the existing repression of unions and the refusal of governments to respect rights and engage in social dialogue has exposed workers to illness and death and left countries unable to fight the pandemic effectively.
"As we look towards the recovery and build resilient economies, the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index is a benchmark against which we will hold governments and employers to account. "If the findings of the Rights Index are not shocking enough, we are already seeing some countries take things further. Under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, they are advancing their anti-workers'-rights agenda. This has got to stop and be reversed.
"The Global Rights Index exposes a breakdown in the social contract that governments and employers have with working people. There's a trend to restrict working rights through violations of collective bargaining, withholding the right to strike and excluding workers from unions.
"But the Rights Index is not just a list of violations. It is a stark picture of the rights deficits we need to address as we build the new economic model the world needs as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. It must be a resilient global economy built on a New Social Contract: a new commitment to workers' rights, renewed investment in compliance and the rule of law, and a foundation of workplace democracy."
The Middle East and North Africa is the worst region in the world for working people, for seven years running, due to the ongoing insecurity and conflict in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Libya, coupled with the most regressive region for workers' representation and union rights. The ten worst countries for working people in 2020 are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.
The seventh edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 144 countries on the degree of respect for workers' rights. Key findings include:
Source: International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates
Indian cement unions decide on joint action
19 June, 2020: Indian cement unions met virtually on 16 June 2020 to assess how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the industry and agree on common action. Over 30 union leaders and activists participated, from the Indian National Cement Workers' Federation, All India Cement Employees' Federation and Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh.
With the assistance of IndustriALL, union leaders developed a number of demands of the government and Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA), to improve health and safety, end the extensive use of precarious workers and underpayment of wages and arrears.
India is the second largest cement producer in the world after China. The country faces an enormous challenge due Covid-19. During the pandemic, cement production fell by 86 per cent from 29.2 to 4.1 megatons yearly. Women workers, migrant and contract workers have paid the highest price and have been the first to lose their jobs.
The unions denounced exploitation at cement companies, including LafargeHolcim and HeidelbergCement. While these companies have fully restarted production, manpower has been reduced by up to 30 per cent. This trend, combined with concerns over health and safety, leads to serious health problems and unsafe working conditions.
Many cement enterprises, including ACC and Ambuja, are not renewing third-party contracts and have started working with new contractors at reduced commissions. According to unions, the result is that those third-party workers who do not lose their jobs often see their already low wages reduced by 30 per cent. Cement production workers are not the only victims: 320 white collar employees lost their jobs at Bangalore based OneIndia BSC, an ACC and Ambuja Cement joint venture.
On 12 June, the Supreme Court of India asked employers to negotiate terms and enter into settlements with workers and trade unions on the payment of wages for the 54-day lockdown period. However there are no sanctions on employers who take advantage of the situation and fail to pay the wages or give regular jobs to contract workers. Contract workers saw their wages slashed by 50-60 per cent at Maratha cement works in Ambuja, ACC (Bargarh), Ambuja (Bhatapara), ACC (Jamul), and Mangalam cement. Despite a signed wage agreement, arrears and wages have not been paid at Ultratech cement in Uttar Pradesh.
Unions demand that the CMA and all cement companies:
Deoraj Singh, general secretary, Indian National Cement Workers' Federation (INCWFV) said, "The time is really challenging for workers and trade unions, but we cannot afford to keep our workers out of job and income and allowed unsafe working environment. Cement workers actively participated in the 22 May nationwide struggle and will participate in the 3 July nationwide non-cooperation movement, to engage the government and CMA to respect the labour and social rights and engage with unions to make the roadmap for the cement industry."
Alexander Ivanou, IndustriALL materials industries and communications officer said, "Underpaid and overexploited workers in Indian cement industry is simply shameful. This industry is one of the biggest contributors to the national GDP. Yet, the workers on whose shoulders this is all built are again the last in line. We will not abandon our members in India in their fight for fair compensation and decent conditions in the cement sector. IndustriALL will apply all our efforts and help Indian unions to repel the anti-worker labour law changes that bring unfair dismissals and wage cuts."
BWI supports Ukrainian unions' fight against anti-union law
15 June 2020: BWI joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Ukrainian trade union federations in voicing their strong protest against the Ukrainian government's attempt to pass a measure to amend its trade union law which will strip workers of their rights and weaken trade unions as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson sent a letter to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reminding him that in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, democratic rules and governance are keys in overcoming the crisis. Yuson said that trade unions are important actors in Ukraine's democratic infrastructure. He urged the Ukrainian government to create the necessary enabling environment for trade unions to operate properly rather than putting barriers in front of them.
BWI affiliates in the country said that the proposed measure is in contravention of the Constitution of Ukraine, the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), particularly the Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, and the provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
"Our union will continue to fight the government's anti-union policies. We are mobilising our members to stop all attempts to destroy trade unionism and workers' rights in Ukraine," said Vasyl Andreyev, President of the Construction and Building Materials Workers Union of Ukraine (PROFBUD).
At the start of the year, BWI has already thrown its support to its Ukrainian affiliates' struggle to oppose the government's "labour reform" which essentially threatened trade unionism and workers' rights. The government's labour reform comprised of several laws. While the proposed measure to amend the Labour Code was withdrawn from the parliament, amendments to the country's union law remained in the parliament and was recently included in the agenda for voting.
Brazilian unions: We're facing a double pandemic
10 June 2020: "A double pandemic."
This was how Brazilian trade unions described their current situation as they confront the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and President Jair Bolsonaro's troubled governance.
In a "How are you?" webinar hosted by BWI, 27 trade union leaders, representing different BWI-affiliated unions in Brazil, met online to share their experiences and difficulties in confronting the COVID-19 crisis. Saúl Méndez, President of the BWI Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean and Secretary General of SUNTRACS-Panama, led the online conversations.
The trade unionists zeroed in on the failure of Bolsonaro's authoritarian governance to contain COVID-19 and his administration's attempt to conceal the true magnitude of the crisis to the public.
"We are facing a double pandemic. On one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic and its ill effects on the health, safety and employment of workers; and on the other, the neoliberal policies promoted by Bolsonaro," said Claudio da Silva Gomes, President of CONTICOM-CUT.
As a response, trade unionists highlighted the need for innovative activism, unity, creation of new protocols on occupational health and safety (OSH), social dialogue and collective bargaining to shield workers from threats of dismissals and reduction in wages and benefits.
Participants also shared their unions' various initiatives to protect their members from the health crisis. Some of these efforts are their respective COVID-19 awareness and prevention campaigns, safe workers' transportation, handwashing centers, negotiations with local governments and trade union cyber-activism. Aside from trade unionists, Waldeli Melleiro from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES-Brazil) attended the event as a special guest.
Meanwhile, Méndez took the opportunity to warmly welcome Adalberto Galvão of SINTEPAV-BA, who fully recovered after being hospitalized a month ago due to COVID-19.
Don't Call Us Heroes-Join Our Fight!
9 June 2020: Cleaner and security workers from the five continents will be commemorating International Justice Day this June 15 with a set of demands to protect essential workers on the job and a reminder that the fight for justice in the workplace comes hand in hand with the struggle for racial dignity.
"In 2020, just like in 1990, our chant in response to poverty wages, police brutality and systemic racism is: Sí, se puede! Yes, we can. We will overcome, we'll continue fighting for justice for all. The workers who sacrifice day in and day out with their labor should share in the wealth they create and enjoy a life with dignity and respect -in the workplace and on the streets," said Christy Hoffman General Secretary of UNI Global Union.
As union members from across the world continue voicing their support for Black Lives Matter and the victims of racist violence everywhere, it's worth noting the anti-racist origins of International Justice Day.
On June 15, 1990, a peaceful Justice for Janitors march and protest in downtown Los Angeles' turned into something more powerful. When workers linked arms to cross a street, police officers confronted these men and women, beating them with batons and injuring dozens of marchers. This dramatic moment only strengthened the resolve of the janitors, galvanizing public support and spurring a movement that forced multinational companies to recognize the janitors' right to have a union contract that provided workers a living raise with health insurance and guaranteed benefits.
As we celebrate this victory 30 years later, we are proud of the many victories won by cleaners, security workers and others who dedicated their lives to make service jobs better for all. We also want to redouble our commitment to fight for working people and communities of color, who just like the L.A. janitors in 1990, continue to suffer the consequences of institutionalized racism in their workplaces and on the streets.
Safety crisis in Indian mines call for ratification of ILO C-176
5 June, 2020: 268 workers were killed and 748 workers suffered serious injuries in India's mines between 2016 to 2019. A series of accidents in May suggest that 11 coal miners were killed and many more injured.
Four contract workers were killed and five seriously injured on 2 June at the Godavarikhani open cast mine of Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana. The accidents occurred as workers were engaged in blasting operations. According to union sources, six workers have been killed at SCCL during the Covid-19 lockdown.
A vehicle operator was killed at Rajapur open cast mine of Bharat Coking Coal Limited on 29 May. On 27 May, there was an accident at Dudhichua project of Northern Coalfields Limited as a machine fell on a dumper. According to the union, a similar accident occurred a few days before, violating safety norms.
One worker was killed and two others injured on 25 May at the Parascole mine of Kajora Area in Eastern Coalfields Limited due to a roof fall. On 22 May, a contract worker died while four others escaped unhurt in an accident while cleaning a clogged chimney at a coal mine owned by Steel Authority of India Limited in Chasnala. An internal enquiry has been launched and three managers have been suspended pending the enquiry.
One worker was smashed by a dumper on 19 May in the Nandgaon project of Western Coalfields Limited. A worker at the Ananata open cast project of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited was killed on 3 May while filling diesel into heavy earth moving machinery.
Nathulal Pandey, president of Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation and S Q Zama, secretary general of Indian National Mineworkers Federation, say: "A shortage of manpower, high production targets, unplanned extraction of coal, outsourcing coal production to third parties, engagement of a large number of untrained contract workers in critical areas, not fully using safety budgets for the past three years, a shortage of safety equipment for all workers and negligence of safety measures continue to cause avoidable accidents and a loss of workers' lives in the mines of CIL and in SCCL. "The government's attempts to allow commercial mining and privatisation of CIL may actually worsen the safety situation."
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary, says: "These fatal accidents underline the safety crisis in Indian mines and the government can no longer ignore it. Before losing more lives, we reiterate that it is urgent that India take steps to ratify ILO Convention C176 on safety and health in mines. "National laws should be in line with C176, and unions should be involved in decision making processes to create a robust safety culture in Indian mines."
Online campaign on ILO Conventions 190 and 183 in Cambodia
20 May, 2020: IndustriALL South East Asia office and Cambodian affiliates have joined forces in an online campaign, creating awareness on ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment and Convention 183 on maternity protection.
Since ILO C190 was adopted in June last year, IndustriALL's office in South East Asia has prepared leaflets and posters in various languages for affiliates in the region.
IndustriALL regional secretary Annie Adviento says: "The pandemic has significantly restricted the movement of trade unionists and our ability to create awareness on the convention has also been restrained. So we have to find creative ways to continue the campaign on ratification of C190 and C183. "People reduce outdoor activities and communication is concentrated on online platforms. So sharing the message on social media is very effective."
Even though the Cambodian government has expressed its commitment to women's rights by ratifying United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination of All Women (CEDAW), the current maternity protection falls short of international standards. Currently, women workers are entitled to 90 days maternity leave with half wages.
Annie Adviento says that ratifying C183 to realize 14 weeks maternity leave is crucial: "Women workers must receive full wages during maternity leave. C183 clearly states that the maternity benefit shall ensure women and their children to remain healthy and enjoy adequate standard of living; the current 50 per cent of the national minimum wage, US$190 per month, is not enough for mothers and babies."
IndustriALL urges Madagascar to ratify C176
24 March, 2020: IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates in Madagascar are intensifying demands for the ratification of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 176 on safety and health in mines.
Last year, the affiliates wrote to the Minister of Labour, Employment, Public Services, and Social Legislation urging the government to ratify C176. None of the ILO conventions signed by Madagascar protects mine workers safety and health. The concerns regarding the regulation of the state of health and safety in the mining industry came under the spotlight at a well-attended panel discussion organized by IndustriALL in Antananarivo on 11 March.
Mining in Madagascar, which has vast deposits of ilmenite, graphite, limestone, gypsum, dolomite, silica, mica, titanium, quartz, gold, platinum group, silver, iron, copper, zinc, nickel, cobalt, chromite, is a huge source of foreign direct investment. Considering the magnitude of the mining sector, mining's contribution to the country's GDP and the growth of the extractives relative to the primary, secondary or tertiary sector, Madagascar is potentially a resource-rich country.
Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL director of mining, diamonds, gems, ornaments and jewellery production, said: "Occupational health and health and safety in mining in Madagascar is hopelessly unregulated which is inconsistent with mining's role in the economy."
Brian Kohler, IndustriALL director of health, safety and sustainability concurred: "Convention 176 provides the necessary basis for a sustainable mining industry that ensures that its workers return to their workplaces safe and healthy."
The panel discussion event, moderated by Hanta Andrianasy from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Madagascar, followed a two-day training workshop on 9-10 March for IndustriALL affiliates. Kohler ran the training workshop.
The panellists included the IndustriALL directors and representatives from the two major global multinational mining companies, Rio Tinto's QMM ilmenite mine and Sheritt International's Ambatovy Sherritt Madagascar. Government of Madagascar representatives from the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Public Service and Social Legislation, director-general, Jerson Razafimanantsoa and Yvan Rakotomalala, the director of health and social action also presented.
The panellists were unanimous on the importance of ratification to ensure the safety and protection of mineworkers. Razafimanantsoa made a positive contribution to the panel discussions, committing the government of Madagascar to eventual ratification of C176. The ratification due process will include a gap analysis of the legislative occupational health and safety regime and will involve all tripartite stakeholders.
Mexico must ratify ILO C176
18 February, 2020: On 19 February 2006, 65 workers died following a methane gas explosion at the Grupo Mexico mine in Pasta de Conchos, Mexico. Only two bodies were recovered before the company sealed the mine. As the 14th anniversary of the mining tragedy approaches, IndustriALL is calling on the Mexican government to ratify ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines.
At the time of the tragedy, the leader of Los Mineros, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, accused Grupo Mexico of "industrial homicide". In response, the authorities unleashed a campaign of political persecution that forced Gómez into exile. In 2018, Gómez was elected to the Mexican Senate on the ticket of the Morena party led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and returned to Mexico where he is now President of the Senate Labour Commission.
Mexico is now working with international experts to attempt the recovery of the 63 workers whose bodies remain in the mine. Grupo Mexico continues to control its Mexican workforce through company-imposed protection unions; it also faces a four-month strike by unions at its US subsidiary Asarco in response to the company's unfair labour practices. In November 2018, the Mexican Senate approved a point of agreement presented by Senator Gómez requesting the Executive to submit ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines for ratification, but this has yet to be acted on.
IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says: "IndustriALL and its predecessing organizations have supported Los Mineros' fight for the families' right to rescue the bodies of the 65 mineworkers that were killed in Pasta de Conchos. Although we recognize that the Mexican government has made important progress on workers' rights, many challenges still remain. This is the case for the mining industry, dominated by corporations like Grupo Mexico with a long history of violating workers' rights, including the right to secure and safe workplaces at its operations around the world.
"IndustriALL is calling on Mexico's government to ratify ILO Convention 176 as soon as possible in order to guarantee occupational safety and health in the mining industry."
Uruguay becomes first country to ratify ILO Convention 190
16 January, 2020: Uruguay is the first country in the world to ratify the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 190, which recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation.
The new Convention and Recommendation were adopted at the International Labour Conference in June, 2019. The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment are a threat to equal opportunities and are unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.
The government of Uruguay submitted the ratification bill to Parliament in September 2019, and the House of Representatives unanimously adopted the bill on 17 December 2019, making Uruguay the first ILO Member State to ratify C190.
"As it has now ratified the ILO Convention, Uruguay will have to adopt an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. This will apply to both the private and public sectors, to the formal and informal economy, and in both urban or rural areas," said an official statement released by the Office of the President of Uruguay. The statement also said that legislation will require employers to take appropriate steps to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work.
The ratification process was facilitated by the fact that Uruguay already has laws in place to address some of the issues covered by C190, such as legislation on sexual harassment in the workplace and concerning student-teacher relationships, as well as on gender-based violence against women.
In November last year, IndustriALL Global Union launched a campaign to encourage affiliates to work together to ensure the ratification of the Convention and incorporation into domestic law. Through the gender office of Uruguay's central union PIT-CNT, IndustriALL's affiliates in Uruguay were actively involved in the tripartite talks on the ratification process.
Gender office representative and UNTMRA member Fernanda Ceballos says on the recent ratification: "We promoted the ratification of C190 in Uruguay from the gender equality and diversity office of PIT-CNT. We have worked on the issue of sexual harassment and zero tolerance of violence in the workplace for a long time, and we are very aware of the issue of raising awareness with the different unions through workshops on gender violence.
"In turn, we work on gender clauses, in conjunction with companies and the labour ministry. Once C190 was ratified, we held assemblies with UNTMRA to inform people of its scope. Many workers affiliated with UNTMRA have faced of sexual harassment at work, so we believe that ratification is very important to fight for a world of violence-free work."
IndustriALL's regional secretary, Marino Vani, says: "Convention 190 is an important tool for fighting discrimination and inequality in the workforce. We congratulate our affiliates in Uruguay for their tireless efforts to tackle gender-based violence, and the government for ratifying the new convention, which will help to create a world of work that is free of violence and harassment."
190 reasons and more for ratifying ILO C190
25 November 2019: Today we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The strongest message and best possible way of celebrating this International Day would be the announcement by several governments of the ratification of ILO Convention C190 on Violence and Harassment.
This new international instrument - Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 - on violence and harassment in the world of work was adopted at the Centenary International Labour Conference in June 2019.
Much progress has been made but we still have a long way to go. It is exactly two decades since the United Nations officially designated 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in memory of the three Mirabal sisters, assassinated in 1960 in the Dominican Republic. Public Services International (PSI) celebrates the adoption of Convention 190 as a major milestone and strongly urges all ILO Member States to ratify and implement it.
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary: "Violence and harassment is not part of life, it is not something you have to go through because you are a woman. The campaign for C190 was initiated by women trade unionists many years ago, fighting for the elimination of gender-based violence at work. It gathered momentum and obtained global consensus culminating with adoption of a new international instrument for everyone, dealing with violence and harassment in the world of work. This goes to show that the struggle for women's rights can advance the rights for all".
Call for ratification of ILO C87 in Malaysia
16 September 2019: Together with other unions in the country, IndustriALL's affiliates in Malaysia are calling on the government to immediately ratify ILO convention 87 on freedom of association and the right to organize.
Unions are saying that since the new government has taken steps to reform the Trade Union Act (1959) and the Industrial Relations Act (1967) by removing restrictive provisions that violate the principle of freedom of association, there are no obstacles for the government to ratify the convention, as domestic laws will soon be in compliance with the convention.
"The Malaysian union movement has been been urging the government to ratify the convention, and past leaderships of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) have tirelessly campaigned for its ratification. Saying that unions don't support the ratification is wrong and the call for a ten-year moratorium doesn't make sense," said Gopal Kishnam, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industry Workers (NUTEAIW) and Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) co-chairperson at a press conference during an LLRC Symposium on Freedom of Association on 8 September. Around 100 national union leaders and worker organization representatives attended the meeting.
"There is a misunderstanding that C87 promotes multiplicity of trade unions in workplaces and would add to disunity among Malaysian workers, but in fact the convention is instrumental in protecting workers' right to organize without interference from governments and employers. Effective and democratic unions will definitely have the unanimous support of workers," added Gopal.
"We believe that with the implementation of C87, Malaysian workers will prefer to join industrial union rather than enterprise union, as industry-wide bargaining has greater leverage safeguarding workers' interest and general well-being."
The LLRC was established in the wake of the first regime change at federal level in Malaysia in 2018, and is a coalition of 58 trade unions and NGOs and formerly known as the decent work working group. The coalition organizes consultation meetings with union leaders on reforming the Employment Act, Trade Union Act and Industrial Relations Act.
Trade Unions in South Korea for Ratification of ILO Core Conventions
15 April 2019 Today the Korean Construction Workers' Union (KCWU) affiliated to the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) held a rally demanding the government guarantee construction workers basic labor rights in front of Namdaemun on April 13th. Then they marched to join more than 20,000 at the main rally organized by its national center, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). The key demands of the main rally included ratify ILO core conventions including conventions 87 and 98; amend Article 2 of the Labour Union Act; and guarantee specially-employed workers such as self-employed, contractor, and "misclassified" workers basic labor rights."
In addressing the protesters, KCTU Chairman Kim Myeong Hwan stated, "President Moon Jae-in promised to guarantee specially-employed workers basic labor rights even before he took office, but he has failed to do so after three years from in office and now he is attempting to eliminate the right to association for specially employed workers. We call on President to keep his promise to workers in South Korea."
Lee Young Cheol, Chair of the Specially Employed Workers' Association and the Vice President of the KCWU added, "We must not forget the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the rights of workers for the past two decades. We will continue to fight and mobilize until the ILO General Assembly in June to ratify the ILO core conventions and revise the labor union law. The specially employed workers, will take the lead in this important struggle."
Following the rally, participants marched to the Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
The BWI along with UNI and ITF sent letters to the South Korean government this week calling for the immediate ratification of the ILO core conventions to ensure basic labor rights.
In the letter, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson urged President Moon Jae In to live up to his campaign promises to South Korean workers. He stated, "This is the 100th anniversary of the ILO. It would be only fitting that South Korea shows its commitment to abide by international standards by ratifying the core ILO conventions."
PSI supports KCTU's general strike for ratification of ILO Core Conventions without regression
05 March 2019: Social dialogue towards ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) in the Republic of Korea appears to be moving in the direction of actually weakening fundamental labour rights.
Public Services International (PSI) expresses its support for the KCTU General Strike and concern that social dialogue towards ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) in the Republic of Korea appears to be moving in the direction of actually weakening fundamental labour rights.
Discussions on ratification of ILO conventions and revision of labour law are currently taking place in the Committee on Improvement of Labour Relations Law and Practice of the Economic, a subcommittee of the Social and Labour Council (ESLC), a social dialogue body established by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The committee is scheduled to issue recommendations on labour law revision on March 7.
Public interest members of the committee have already issued recommendations on labour law revision, which fall well below international standards by failing to guarantee trade union rights for self-employed workers, maintaining restrictions on freedom of association and political activities for government employees and teachers, and calling for new concrete limitations on the participation of dismissed and unemployed workers and officers of unions formed above the company level. Legislation based on these recommendations, but that is even more restrictive, has already been proposed in the National Assembly.
Further, PSI has learned that employers' representatives involved in the ESLC process have called for further revisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Adjustment Act (TULRAA), which put even greater restrictions on trade union rights, particularly the right to strike, while granting employers new powers, such as to make claims of 'unfair labour practices' against unions. The Moon Jae-in government has indicated willingness to accept many of these demands, claiming this is necessary to win support for ratification of ILO conventions.
PSI is particularly concerned that throughout committee discussions, guarantees for self-employed and precarious workers are being side-lined. The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has, on several occasions, recommended that the South Korean government take the necessary steps to protect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining for these workers. The European Commission, which is currently engaged in formal consultation over the Korean government's failure to live up to obligations under the EU-ROK FTA, has also raised the issue of the exclusion of self-employed, unemployed and dismissed workers from the right to freedom of association as an essential issue the South Korean government must address.
The question of a system of minimum services in line with ILO standards has been left out of the discussion. As it now stands, the broad and vague definition of 'public interest businesses' in South Korean labour law means that many public institutions and other sectors not considered 'essential services in the strict sense of the term' have set excessively high levels of minimum services to be maintained during strikes and that employers may freely use replacement workers to break strikes.
The ILO has also recommended on several occasions that restrictions on the right to strike in workplaces that are not 'essential services in the strict sense of the term', such as railway, airlines and energy companies be keep to a minimum and that unions be granted the right to participate on equal footing with employers in deciding these minimum levels.
PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli has expressed her concern over these developments, stating: "Since 1996 when South Korea joined the OECD, the government has made repeated promises to the international community to ratify ILO Core Conventions and improve the legal framework on trade union rights. PSI welcomed President's Moon promise to live up to these commitments when he first took office, but has been disappointed by what has followed since. The current discussions that tie regressive revision of the labour law to ratification of ILO conventions and ignore past ILO recommendations are unacceptable. Dialogue concerning ratification of ILO conventions should take place following a strict commitment to the principle of non-regression in existing laws and with a view towards actually improving the rights of workers in South Korea."
International Labour Organisation - 50 for Freedom
Malta has become the 30th country worldwide to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced labour, thereby committing to take effective measures to prevent all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, protect victims and ensure their access to justice and compensation.
The Government of Malta has ratified the legally-binding treaty that requires countries to take new measures to tackle forced labour and modern slavery with a keen focus on protection, prevention and compensation.
"As the International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates its Centenary, we are faced with the realisation that the work and values that the organisation stands for remain relevant and applicable more so in today's world", Ambassador Olaph Terribile, Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva said. "Malta shall continue to seek and promote the enhancement of labour conditions both at a national level as well as within the appropriate multilateral platforms, confident in the belief that decent work is undeniably linked to sustainability and prosperity", he added.
The Government of Malta has taken significant measures to develop the legal and institutional framework for combatting trafficking in persons, including by criminalizing all forms of trafficking as well as forced labour, with penalties of four to 12 years imprisonment. Malta has also strengthened its efforts towards the protection of victims of trafficking in persons by enacting the "Victims of Crime Act" in April 2015, which includes provisions regarding access to assistance services and compensation. Moreover, the Anti-Human Trafficking Monitoring Committee was set up in 2011 for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of anti-trafficking policies. A National Referral Mechanism has also been active in Malta since 2013 and is mainly involved in the identification of victims or potential victims of trafficking.
The ILO Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryder, welcomed the step: "With the ratification of the Protocol, Malta once again confirms its commitment to promoting and implementing fundamental rights and principles at work".
This ratification supports the effective promotion of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Target 8.7 to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, and represents a significant contribution to mark ILO's centenary. The ILO estimates that about 24.9 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, with 16 million people exploited in the private sector in activities such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million in forced labour imposed by state authorities. The ILO also estimates that this exploitation generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.
In November 2017, during the Global Conference on child labour and forced labour in Argentina, the European Union pledged to "promote actively swift ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol among EU members". Malta is the 14th EU member state to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour.