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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.
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The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Relevant NEWS and ARTICLES
UNI to march in solidarity with CGIL after far-right attack
15 October 2021: Trade unionists from across Europe and the world, including representatives from UNI Global Union, will descend on the streets of Rome Saturday, 16 October, to condemn the far-right attack on the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) headquarters and to send a message that the global labour movement will not be silenced.
"UNI Global Union is standing shoulder to shoulder with our CGIL brothers and sisters to reject this fascist act of terror and to defend democracy," said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. "An injury to one is an injury to all is a central tenet of our movement, and we are responding to this assault with a reinvigorated sense of unity, of solidarity and commitment to trade union values.
Last week, following an anti-vaxxer rally in Rome, members of far-right party Forza Nuova joined the unauthorized protest and marched to the union's offices, breaking windows and pushing their way into the union's building. Once inside, they caused further damage, including smashing computers.
UNI Europa's Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig quickly condemned the attack: "Whenever fascism raises its head, trade unions are one of the first targets, because the collective of workers are guarantors of democracy, freedom and justice. History will not repeat itself. 2021 is not 1922. We will not be intimidated. This attack only strengthens our determination to push back united and fight the enemies of democracy - in Italy, Europe and worldwide; at the workplace, in politics and in elections."
Across the Atlantic, UNI Americas' executive committee also issued a statement in supporting CGIL, and union activists the world over spoke out against the raid.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi denounced the incident as well: "Trade unions are a fundamental defence of democracy and workers' rights. Any intimidation against them is unacceptable and must be rejected with absolute firmness."
Unions campaign for recognition at Chinese-owned textile and garment factories in Uganda
14 October, 2021: After recruiting and organizing most of the workers in the Chinese-owned textile and garment factories in Mbalala Mukono, the Uganda Textile Garment Leather and Allied Workers Union (UTGLAWU) is shocked by the continued refusal by the employers to recognize the union, in violation of Uganda labour law.
The factory owners refuse to sign recognition agreements for purposes of collective bargaining as required by the law when a union organizes more than 50 per cent of workers in a factory. According to the IndustriALL Global Union National Coordinating Council of Uganda (INCCU), made up of IndustriALL affiliates in the country, the factories, which include Bode, Euro Vision, Fine Spinners, Jinguo, Sunbelt Textile Company, Tonyong, Unistar, and Wilima are ignoring letters from the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development instructing them to recognize UTGLAWU.
To push for recognition, the unions are conducting joint campaigns under the East Africa Union Building Project which is supported by the Danish Trade Union Development Agency (DTDA) and the Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (TEKNA). The unions met with the labour ministry on 30 September to demand that the government enforces the labour regulations and for the Industrial Court to speed up the cases. Further, they are planning to meet with the Minister of State for Labour, Charles Okello Engola.
"We appreciate government efforts in coming out boldly to order the employers to recognize the union. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the number of employers retrenching workers without informing the Ministry of Labour is increasing, yet they are getting stimulus packages from the government. Other employers are frustrating union efforts to collect dues from its members. "However, we are calling upon the government to organize a meeting with non-complying Chinese employers - some of whom claim not to understand English - to give them a chance to respond to our demands before we take court action. The employers must respect the union, and the fundamental and constitutional rights of the workers," wrote the unions in a statement.
Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa says: "Textile and garment factory owners in Uganda must recognize national and international labour standards by recognizing the union, and we support the campaign by Ugandan unions for the respect of trade union and workers' rights."
Unions that are participating in the campaign in support of UTGLAWU are the Uganda Printers, Paper, Polyfibre, and Allied Workers Union (UPPAWU), Uganda Chemical, Petroleum, and Allied Workers Union (UCPAWU), National Union of Clerical Commercial Professional and Technical Employees (NUCCPTE), and Uganda Hotel, Tourism, Supermarket and Allied Workers Union (HTS-U).
Currently the garment industry is dominated by small to medium scale enterprises. According to the country's National Development Plan III, Uganda aims to increase cotton production, domestic value addition, and to create over 50,000 new jobs along the cotton to clothes value chain.
Farmindustria union in Peru signs first collective bargaining agreement
13 October, 2021: After a 30-day strike, workers at Farmaindustria-Abbott International in Peru signed their first collective bargaining agreement on 4 October, achieving economic and social benefits as well as major improvements in working conditions for all.
In the last meeting between the union and the company at the Department of Labour, the company committed to evaluate proposals for an agreement which would benefit workers and the strike was halted.
The collective bargaining agreement valid for two years was signed on 4 October. Although a wage increase was not directly included in the agreement, given that the company had already raised wages for the two years, workers attained other benefits. The company showed itself open to various items which benefit workers. The union's advisor Gilmer Ibáñez Melendrez, general secretary of FETRIMAP-CGTP, played a crucial role in reaching the agreement.
During the strike, the union was supported by unions affiliated to the Manufacturing and Related Services Workers Federation of Peru (FETRIMAP-CGTP), the General Workers Confederation of Peru (CGTP) and IndustriALL Global Union. FETRIMAP-CGTP unions carried out a fundraising campaign to cover the strikers' expenses. The union, which has 67 affiliates at the company with more than 1200 workers, thanked the 43 union branches of FETRIMAP, CGTP, IndustriALL Global Union and FNV for their support and solidarity.
FETRIMAP CGTP's secretary of economy and finance Julián Alfaro, said: "The effort of the workers of Farmindustria-Abbott has paid off. This is their first collective bargaining agreement, which improves their working conditions. I salute and congratulate the collective bargaining team, Gilmer Ibañez Melendrez and all the members of the union of Farmindustria workers for this achievement. Without a fight, there are no victories."
The attack on the CGIL in Italy is an assault on democracy
Education International condemns the assault by neo-fascist groups on the CGIL union headquarters
12 October 2021: David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International, the global federation of teachers and education workers, expressed his outrage after the headquarters of the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), the largest union confederation in Italy, was ransacked by neo-fascists. The violence broke out on Saturday, October 9, during demonstrations opposing a "green pass" which requires employees to show proof of COVID vaccination, negative test, or recent recovery from the virus.
"As educators and unionists, we condemn the assault on the CGIL, and express our continued solidarity with our union sisters and brothers in Italy. This act of violence by avowed neo-fascists is a clear attack on democratic institutions, and an effort to intimidate those who stand in the way of extremism and authoritarianism," stated David Edwards, Secretary General of Education International. "We stand with our affiliate FLC-CGIL, and with all our member organisations in Italy and trade unions in the country as they continue to represent the voice of workers and work for an inclusive democracy," Edwards added.
Following the incident, twelve individuals, including top leaders of Forza Nuova, a small political party that describes itself as neo-fascist, were arrested in connection to the violence.
"The assault on CGIL's national headquarters is an act of fascist thuggery, an attack on democracy and on the world of work. No one should think that they can return our country to its fascist past," stated Maurizio Landini, General Secretary of the CGIL.
Press reports based on information from official sources indicate that those who perpetrated the violence in Rome are part of an extreme right group whose strategy and actions were inspired by the January 6 assault on the US Capitol in Washington DC. In both cases, there is evidence that social media driven by extremist groups was used to manipulate anger and dissatisfaction based on lies and distortions.
"When facts are debatable, then you don't have facts, you don't have truth and you can't have trust. Without all of these things then you don't have a shared reality, you can't have democracy." This quote by Maria Ressa, a friend of Education International and recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, illustrates the key role established, representative organizations such as unions have in safeguarding healthy democracies.
Just as journalists and a free press have a vital role in supporting democracy when it is fragile and under attack, so do teachers. The role of teachers is fundamental in cementing the values of democracy, developing competences such as listening, observation, critical thinking, free discussion, and active citizenship. These skills help young people separate facts from propaganda and serve as guiding principles for their actions as adults.
"The value of trade unions in building and maintaining democracy, as well as the irreplaceable role of journalists and educators must be understood and supported in order to prevent the type of violence and extremism which led to the attack on the union hall in Rome." Edwards concluded.
Education International will join the national antifascist demonstration organised on Saturday 16 October in Rome by all three major trade union confederations, the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), the Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori (CISL), and the Unione Italiana del Lavoro (UIL).
Drivers' court action wins US$30 million in XPO misclassification settlement
12 Oct 2021: XPO Logistics is to pay a group of drivers US$30 million after it wrongly classified them as contractor companies rather than employees. A California federal court has approved settlements by the firm after workers brought class actions. This type of misclassification is widely used by XPO but is illegal under Californian law.
"It is a triumph for these drivers," said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). "It shows workers united can fight back against XPO"s brutal underhand cost-cutting tactics. It gives hope to XPO workers all round the world that they too can get a fair deal if they stand together."
Settlement will be paid to each of the 784 current and former California port drivers part of their class-action lawsuit victory. These allege that they were willfully misclassified, left unreimbursed for truck costs and received less than minimum wage. A California federal judge granted preliminary approval of two settlements, one between XPO Cartage and its drivers; the other between XPO Port Services and its drivers.
Union network tackles XPO
"We commend these brave XPO drivers who fought hard to demand XPO pays them the money they are rightfully owed," said James P Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and ITF Road Transport Section Chair. "This is more than a victory for XPO drivers in California - it's huge for workers around the world to see that by standing together, working people can take on enormous companies and win."
XPO has a shameful record on worker rights. In the US, XPO warehouse workers have been subject to pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. In Europe, some drivers have been forced to live out of their trucks for months on end. Unethical contractual arrangements are widely used by XPO to reduce their costs at the expense of employee rights. These also tend to have devastating consequences for worker safety. The list goes on.
"All around the world, managers in companies like XPO are scratching their heads wondering why they have driver shortages," said Cotton. "The answer is obvious - it isn't a shortage of drivers, rather a shortage of decent work. It's clear from our perspective - give workers a fair deal, treat them like human beings, and suddenly, the pressures on your businesses disappear.
Pandora Papers Show Where The Funding for Decent Work and Public