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Labor Press: Facing Filibuster of PRO Act, Senate Democrats to Add Employer Fines to Budget Bill   |   Guardian: 'We're not animals, we're human beings': US farm workers labor in deadly heat with few protections   |   Common Dreams: Bernie Sanders Adds Voice to Supporters of Cook County Strike   |   Labor Notes: 'We Want to See Our Families': Frito-Lay Workers Strike Over 84-Hour Weeks, Meager Raises   |   In These Times: Shrugging Off Anti-Union Campaign, New York Times Tech Workers See a Chance to Make History   |   American Prospect: The Teamsters Are Taking On Amazon   |   Wisconsin: Rally with Hufcor Workers to Save Jobs - Wednesday June 30, 2021   |   UCOMM Blog: Biden Picks Union Lawyer for NLRB   |   Guardian: 'When is this going to end?': US factory town devastated by jobs moving overseas

2021 International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index

USA: Petition: Write Your United States Senators - Pass the PRO Act

News and Articles Relating to the Insurrection Against the United States of America on January 06, 2021

RadioLabour DailyRadio Labour:  International Labour Movement's Radio Service, Bringing Labour's Voices to the World

AFL-CIO Now Blog

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

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

Ukrainian uranium miners fight for their jobs

22 July, 2021:   Two Ukrainian affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union are fighting to protect decent jobs and timely wage payments for 8,000 workers of the only Ukrainian enterprise that extracts and processes uranium ore for Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

The publicly-owned Eastern Mining and Processing Plant, SkhidGZK, has been in crisis for some time and recently halted operations, putting at serious risk the jobs of 8,000 workers as well as the safety of the mines, with potentially devastating environmental consequences.

On 7 July, Atomprofspilka, the Nuclear Power and Industry Workers Union of Ukraine, picketed the ministry of energy in Kiev, demanding immediate solutions to ensure the sustainable operation, maintenance and development of the plant and to preserve the jobs of its 8,000 workers.

The Independent Miners Union of Ukraine (NPGU) mobilized its members for a protest in the Kirovograd region, where uranium mine workers and their family members blocked the road from 12 to 16 July, while other miners refused to enter the uranium mines, demanding the sustainable operation of the company and the elimination of wage arrears that have reached UAH 89 million (US$3.26 million).

The unions' demands are as follows:

  • Prevent the undermining of the strategic nuclear sector, which is the basis of Ukraine's energy independence
  • End the current crisis by finding and allocating the resources necessary to prevent the halt of any of the enterprises or mines of the complex
  • Prevent ecological catastrophe due to the halt of operations
  • Maintain social dialogue with trade unions operating in the nuclear energy sector, not only in the bargaining process, but in the fulfilment of the decisions adopted
  • Maintain the international obligations of Ukraine in the sphere of nuclear safety regulation, sustainable development and environmental legislation, as ratified by Ukraine.

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches, in a letter to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, called on the government: " act immediately to ensure the development and implementation of sustainable industrial policy, including energy policy, with genuine social dialogue with unions as the only way to solve issues while reforming the energy sector, and to ensure, in particular, the sustainable operation and development of the SE SkhidGZK and timely wage payments for its workers".

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

Unions allege severe violations of workers rights at eyewear giant Luxottica

15 July 2021 (Washington/Geneva):   National and international labour groups today filed a complaint under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises alleging severe violations of workers' freedom of association rights at the Luxottica manufacturing and distribution center in McDonough, Georgia.

The Communications Workers of American (CWA), joined by the AFL-CIO and two Geneva-based global unions, say that Luxottica plant managers in Georgia have unleashed an aggressive, fear-inducing campaign to thwart workers' organizing rights, and that global management in Paris and Milan have failed to exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with OECD Guidelines. Those guidelines require multinational firms not to interfere with workers' organizing rights, according to standards of the International Labour Organization. Instead, they call for "a positive approach towards trade unions and an open attitude towards organizational activities of workers."/p>

Luxottica is a division of the EssilorLuxottica group, the world's largest provider of vision care and eyewear products, serving a global market with over 150,000 employees around the world. The company was formed by the 2018 merger of France-based Essilor, the world's largest lens manufacturer, and Italy-based Luxottica, the world's largest eyeglasses manufacturer and distributor. The Luxottica manufacturing and distribution center in Georgia employs 2,000 U.S. workers.

The unions' complaint cites management's use of company-issued app called "LiveSafe." It was meant to inform workers on Covid-19 issues in the workplace, but instead management uses it to send anti-union broadsides about purported "risks" of union organizing, including that workers might lose pay and benefits if they succeed in forming a union. In addition to the app, management has created an anti-union website vilifying unions and suggesting dire consequences if workers sign a union card or choose representation. The company also has hired anti-union consultants and required workers to attend mandatory, union-bashing "captive-audience meetings with no opportunity for response by union supporters.

The Paris-based OECD is a policy coordinating body for advanced industrial democracies and key trading partners. The OECD Guidelines aim to promote ethical behavior by multinational corporations in their foreign operations. Each OECD country maintains a National Contact Point (NCP) to serve as a forum for confidential mediation and conciliation in disputes over the Guidelines.

With the organizing efforts in Georgia and corporate headquarters in Paris and Milan, the labour group is filing their complaint simultaneously with the National Contact Points of the United States, France, and Italy. The latter two venues are important because OECD Guidelines require due diligence by global "home country" headquarters to ensure responsible business conduct in "host country" locations. The three NCPs will coordinate their handling of the case. The OECD Guidelines are a "soft law" mechanism and NCPs are administrative bodies, not courts. They do not impose sanctions for violations, but rather sponsor mediation and conciliation that can lead to resolution of the dispute.

"I have been an employee at Luxottica for 4 years, I am proud to work hard at my job every day," said Lisa Ragsdale, a worker at Luxottica in McDonough, Georgia. "My co-workers and I are fighting to form a union so we can have a voice on the job. We are coming together to fight for respect, safe working conditions and fair wages. We want to join with our sisters and brothers at Luxottica in Italy, who already have a union. We believe Luxottica should support a union for its workers, whether they are in Italy, or in the U.S."

"We're turning an international spotlight on Luxottica's interference with workers' organizing rights in Georgia," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "Luxottica workers in Italy have long been represented by trade unions, who have a positive, mutually respectful and productive relationship with Italian management. We want to ensure that Luxottica workers in the United States are treated with the same respect," he said.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, "What's going on at the Georgia plant - the fear-mongering and the ratcheting up of pressure on workers - confirms the need for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act now before Congress. In the meantime, workers and our unions will use every available mechanism, including the OECD Guidelines and ILO standards, to hold companies accountable for violations of international standards on freedom of association."

IndustriALL Global Union is the Geneva-based global union federation for the manufacturing sector worldwide, representing more than 50 million workers in 140 countries, including thousands of EssilorLuxottica workers. General Secretary Valter Sanches said, "Unions affiliated with IndustriALL enjoy good-faith collective bargaining relationships with EssilorLuxottica management around the world. The U.S. should not be an exception. We are calling on European headquarters management to exercise due diligence to bring their American management into compliance with OECD Guidelines and ILO standards."

UNI Global Union is the global federation in retail, finance, communications, and other service sectors in the global economy. UNI-affiliated unions represent more than 20 million workers in 150 countries, including thousands of EssilorLuxottica retail workers worldwide. General Secretary Christy Hoffman said, "Having been an American union organizer for many years, I know how the aggressive, fear-promoting anti-union campaign by Luxottica's U.S. management frustrates employees' organizing rights. We hope that mediation under the OECD Guidelines and their 'positive approach' toward union organizing can restore respect for workers' freedom of association in McDonough. With the potential acquisition of the Dutch retailer GrandVision, the company is set to expand its footprint in the industry-making it even more important that it respects human rights throughout its operations."

OECD Guidelines call for NCPs to decide within three months whether to accept the case for review and sponsor mediation of the dispute, after giving workers, unions, companies and investors an opportunity to submit their views. "We hope that a mediation sponsored by the NCPs can align U.S. management policy with Luxottica's home-based policy of bargaining with unions on a mutually respectful basis," said Carl Kennebrew, president of IUE-CWA, the union's manufacturing division, who is overseeing the organizing effort at the McDonough, Georgia facility.

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

Hashem Foods factory fire: Bangladesh government must establish inquiry

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is supporting the call for an independent public inquiry into the devastating fire at the Hashem Foods factory in Rupganj, Bangladesh.

13-07-2021:   An unknown number of people died in the blaze. The police and fire service have confirmed that the factory exits were locked and that children were working there.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: "Firstly, our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy, and we're horrified by the loss of life and the reports that people couldn't escape because doors and gates were locked. Medical treatment must be provided to injured workers, and they must be fully compensated, along with their families, without delay.

"It's appalling that children were working there and, due to the hidden nature of child labour, we may never know the number of children who died in the fire or their names. "The ITUC stands with our affiliate, the ITUC Bangladesh Council, and the IUF in their fight for justice for the victims of this disaster."

Clear demands

The ITUC is supporting the Sajeeb Group Workers' Justice Committee, formed by the victims' families, to demand compensation and to prevent similar tragedies. Furthermore, the ITUC is backing the IUF and ITUC Bangladesh Council in their call for an independent public inquiry that covers:

  • the criminal negligence of the factory owner that created the deadly working conditions;
  • how the company could ignore health, safety and fire regulations;
  • why no factory inspection had identified the lethal work environment; and
  • the prevalence of child labour in the factory, in violation of ILO Convention 138 and the Fundamental Principles of Rights at Work.

"We support the call for urgent inspections of all food factories in Bangladesh to check they are safe and not abusing children through using child labour.

"The independent public inquiry and its outcomes should include an expedited implementation of the labour reform road map following the Article 26 complaint on Bangladesh at the ILO. This fire is another reminder that the ILO must recognise occupational health and safety as a fundamental right at work. "It's clear that to ensure occupational health and safety and the elimination of child labour, all workers in food factories must be guaranteed access to their right to freedom of association.

"Only independent, democratic trade unions of working people can enforce the right to a safe workplace that does not use child labour. Unions make work safer," added Sharan Burrow.

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

Bangladesh factory fire deaths demonstrate need for new Accord

12 July, 2021:   The death of at least 52 workers at the Hashem Food juice factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, shows that factory safety continues to be a major issue in the country.

A fire broke out on the evening of Thursday, 8 July, in a seven-story building where fruit drinks, packing material and plastic packaging are made. An estimated 200 workers were in the building. At least 49 workers burned to death on the third floor. Three others died jumping from the building, and 25 workers were rescued from the roof. Relatives allege that the only exit to the factory was locked. At least 16 children are missing. There are allegations that children as young as 11 were working in the factory.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches said: "The combination of child labour and workers locked into an unsafe factory has led to a particularly heartbreaking and distressing result. This horrific case of industrial homicide brings home to us the barbaric conditions and complete lack of safety in some Bangladeshi factories.

"The factory owner has reportedly been arrested, and relatives will receive compensation. But the focus of the Bangladesh government on punishment and compensation will not bring back the lives that have been lost. "So much progress has been made over the years in terms of safety in the textile and garment sector in Bangladesh thanks to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. This must be ensured into the future through a successor legally binding agreement between the brands sourcing from Bangladesh and the trade unions."

UNI Global Union general secretary Christy Hoffman said: "Eight years after Rana Plaza, this shocking and needless tragedy shows that deadly working conditions in Bangladeshi factories persist. While huge strides have been made in garment industry safety - thanks to the Bangladesh Accord - it is a reminder that without robust and independent systems to enforce safe working conditions, the very worst can happen.

"A locked fire exit is a disaster waiting to happen and we cannot afford to be complacent. We must continue to push for credible and enforceable commitments from companies sourcing in Bangladesh - workers' lives depend upon it."

Bangladesh has a long history of fatal factory accidents, mostly in the country's large garment sector. In November 2012, 112 workers died in the Tazreen Fashions fire after being locked in the building. In April 2013, 1,133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed.

The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety was created soon after to create a working environment where accidents can be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. The Accord is an independent, legally binding agreement between fashion brands sourcing from Bangladesh and trade unions to work towards a safe garment and textile industry.

The Accord is time limited, and a successor agreement is currently being negotiated. Since 2020, safety in the sector has been coordinated by a local tripartite body, the Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC). However, the RSC can only be successful as long as the brands are bound by their commitment to the unions through a health and safety agreement that is currently being negotiated as a successor of the Accord. The local manufacturing industry must live up to the standards established by the Accord.

120 brands have signed an agreement to extend the mandate of the Accord. The collective power of the brands and the unions puts tremendous pressure on the Bangladeshi government and on local factory owners to take safety seriously.

Although the Accord only covers the garment industry, it sets an important precedent for factory safety.

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

IUF files ILO complaint against the government of Turkey over failures to protect workers freedom of association

12/07/2021:   Today (July 12) the IUF filed a complaint with the International Labour Organisation's Committee on Freedom of Association regarding the government of Turkey's violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 which protect workers' rights to freely organize trade unions and to collectively bargain.

  • The complaint, which cites Cargill, Olam Group and Döhler Group, details how Turkish law and practice fail to provide both sufficient protection against and effective remedy in cases of anti-union dismissal; a loophole in Turkish law permits employers in Turkey to pay enhanced compensation, at their own choosing, to a worker unfairly dismissed for union activity rather than comply with court-ordered reinstatement
  • As the complaint demonstrates, employers, like transnational companies Cargill, Olam Group and Döhler Group, illegally dismiss union leaders, systematically exploit this loophole in Turkish law and opt to pay for their human rights violations rather than reinstate the victimized workers, all to prevent their employees from organizing a union

While the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association has on repeated occasions expressed that the appropriate remedy for a retaliatory dismissal because of trade union activity is reinstatement, the government of Turkey, despite its ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98, has allowed this legal loophole to remain; the complaint calls for the closing of this loophole and demands Turkey comply with international standards.

Dismissed Cargill Turkey worker Faik Kutlu stated: "The company would rather try to buy me off than respect my right to form and join a union. The government must close the loophole that makes this legal and ensure that my rights and those of my coworkers are respected, now and in the future."

IUF General Secretary Sue Longley added, "It is time to close the loophole in Turkish law & practice that allows companies to crush unions and workers' organizing efforts in violation of their fundamental rights. The Turkish government has ratified the ILO Conventions on freedom of association; it's time the laws reflect that."

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

Eswatini: Education International calls for democracy, freedom of association and respect for human rights

7 July 2021:   Education International, the global federation representing 32.5 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries, including Eswatini, is seriously concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths, abductions, and disappearances.

The people of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, are demanding political freedom and full democracy through the massive delivery of petitions in 59 constituencies. EI strongly condemns the deployment of the police and army to crack down on the protests, as close to 100 protesters have been shot dead and over 200, including 5 teachers, admitted to hospital with serious injuries.

Education International supports the leaders and members of its affiliate, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, in their efforts to promote peace and democracy and defend teacher professionalism and quality public education. EI calls upon the Eswatini Government to withdraw charges against all peaceful protesters. The citizens of Eswatini have the right to be heard and deserve a smooth transition of power from the current dictatorship to a full democracy.

Education International also urges the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ for Politics, Defence and Security to immediately involve civil society and education workers in its negotiations with the Government of Eswatini to implement the necessary reforms that would enable the country's citizens to enjoy fundamental freedoms and rights, including freedom of movement, association and expression.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million members in 391 organizations in 178 countries and territories

Kyrgyzstan: New law on trade unions must comply with international labour standards

7 July, 2021:   Despite a veto by the President of a controversial law on trade unions, on 30 June the Kyrgyz parliament adopted a new law on trade unions with provisions that breach ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

The international labour movement was pleased to learn that after two years of struggle by Kyrgyz unions, backed by massive international solidarity support, the law on trade unions was vetoed by the President in May this year. The law would have seriously undermined freedom of association in Kyrgyzstan and deprived unions of their independence.

However, a new law on trade unions was hastily approved by parliament in the third reading on 30 June. While having a new structure and revised content, it still largely contradicts the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan and core international labour standards, including the ILO Conventions 87 and 98, ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

Parliament did not take into consideration the President's numerous comments on the inconsistency of the vetoed law with the Constitution of the Kyrgyzstan and core international labour standards, and has included the same violating provisions in the new law. Parliament also ignored the demand to include representatives of other unions apart from the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan (FTUK) in the conciliation group to work on the revised version of the law.

The new law on trade unions states that the FTUK is the only social partner, giving it a monopoly, in clear violation of ILO Convention 87, as it deprives workers from creating another union confederation if workers choose to. The new law deprives unions of their independence by setting accountability to the government and employers, and puts all unions in the country under the total control of the FTUK. Trade unions would be deprived of the right to independently determine the organizational structure, forms and types of associations, the right to establish their own charters and governing bodies.

Moreover, the new law on trade unions is full of technical contradictions and discrepancies, which clearly shows a very low level of legal examination by its initiators.

In the letter to the President of Kyrgyzstan, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says: "We call on the President of Kyrgyzstan to veto the new law on trade unions, adopted by the parliament on 30 June, and urge Kyrgyzstan to make sure any further amendments to the trade union legislation be prepared with the genuine participation of independent unions to ensure full compliance with core international labour standards."

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

Nursing home workers in Poland pledge organizing drive

6 July 2021:   A nursing home workers' union in Poland, affiliated to UNI Global Union through the OPZZ Konfederacja Pracy confederation, resolved to increase organizing, set up a strike fund and be a champion of women's rights at a congress meeting on 25 June.

Some 40 worker delegates from nursing homes across Poland gathered for the Inter-Union Organization of Care Workers meeting, where they backed their union's goals to increase membership and improve working conditions and wages throughout the care sector.

"The union for me is a reason to be proud that people are beginning to fight for their dignity, for the respect they really deserve, for decent wages so they don't have to work beyond their limits to survive for a month," said Joanna Szustakowska, a carer at a nursing home in Konstancin-Jeziorna.

Michal Lewandowski, President of OPZZ Konfederacja Pracy, said: "It is extremely encouraging when we see that workers finally recognize the need to organize. It is all the more important when they go beyond their own workplace; when the fight for their rights turns into a fight for the interests of the whole sector."

The long-term goal of the union is to implement the demands of the petition to the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and to increase the number of staff in relation to the wards, and raise wages to the national average instead of the national minimum.

Barbara Dors, a nurse from nursing home in Lipsko, said: "The union gave me the strength and confidence to take action in the fight for decent pay and improved working conditions not only in our nursing home, but in the whole country. Together we can change a lot for the better! This meeting with other union members only confirmed my decision to become a union member. Such meetings build community and give support and strength."

Another activist, Malgosia Leoniuk, a caregiver at the Konstancin-Jeziorna nursing home, said: "I met wonderful colleagues that I had only seen on Zoom. Together we can make sure that our work has dignified pay. I also know that it is important to fight for our cause by standing together."

"It is great to see what the care sector workers and their trade union OPZZ Konfederacja Pracy have achieved in less than a year since they formed," said Adrian Durtschi, Head of UNICare at UNI Global Union. "They have built the first sectoral trade union in Poland, which is both a union that organizes and fights for women's rights. Their victories in Torun and Konstancin are an inspiration to care sector workers around the world."

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

2021 ITUC Global Rights Index: COVID-19 pandemic puts spotlight on workers' rights

30-06-2021:   Abuses of the right to strike, the right to establish and join a trade union, the right to trade union activities and civil liberties and the right to free speech and assembly are at an eight-year high, according to the ITUC's annual Global Rights Index.

The 2021 ITUC Global Rights Index documents how governments and employers have exploited the pandemic to dismiss workers who exposed vital information about the spread of the virus in workplaces; violated collective bargaining rights; increased surveillance of workers and undermined the right to privacy; and restricted free speech and assembly.

  • Workplaces are becoming less safe, with more restrictions on trade union activity in Belarus, Colombia, Cambodia and Myanmar.
  • Surveillance of workers is increasing, with Amazon's surveillance of warehouses becoming a global scandal.
  • Rights are being dismantled as governments have passed repressive laws in Honduras, India, Indonesia, Slovakia and Uruguay.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated jobs, communities and lives. The Global Rights Index exposes a shameful roll call of governments and companies that have pursued an anti-union agenda in the face of workers who have stood on the front line providing essential work to keep economies and communities functioning.

"When COVID-19 hit, we learned who the heroes are. Workers everywhere cared for the sick, put food on our tables, and kept the economy moving. But despite all that, workers are under attack like never before. "Governments and employers exploited the pandemic to exploit the people the world depends on by increasing surveillance, breaking agreements, laying off workers, blocking and intimidating unions and resorting to violence and murder."

In Zimbabwe, union leaders were prosecuted after workers took strike action to secure outstanding pandemic allowances while Falabella, a multinational home retailer, dismissed 22 warehouse workers in Peru who had requested health and safety protections against the coronavirus.

2021 is a year when democracy has come under renewed attack as the number of countries which impeded the registration of unions increased from 89 countries in 2020 to 109 and the number of countries where freedom of speech and assembly was denied or constrained increased from 56 in 2020 to 64 this year.

Belgium, Canada, El Salvador, Haiti, Hungary, Jordon, Malaysia, Myanmar and Slovakia have all seen their ratings worsen in 2021. Myanmar has increased to category 5+, No guarantee of rights, due to the breakdown of the rule of law.

"Trade union leaders from Cambodia, Hong Kong and Myanmar were among those subjected to high-profile arrests - arrests that undermine the rights of workers to representation.

"While there have been some positive legislative developments - from the PRO Act in the USA, to processes for a due diligence legislation in the European Union which would hold companies to account - much more needs to be done. It will take a New Social Contract, with jobs, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion to rebuild the trust that has been shattered by repressive governments and abusive companies."

The Middle East and North Africa is the worst region in the world for working people for eight years running. Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen were still beset with conflict, and fundamental liberties and rights in those countries were trampled. The ten worst countries for working people in 2021 are Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Myanmar, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

The eighth edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 149 countries on the degree of respect for workers rights. Key findings include:

  • 87 per cent of countries violated the right to strike.
  • 79 per cent of countries violated the right to collectively bargain.
  • 74 per cent of countries excluded workers from the right to establish and join a trade union.
  • The number of countries that impeded the registration of unions increased from 89 in 2020 to 109 in 2021.
  • Two new countries entered the list of ten worst countries for workers (Belarus and Myanmar).
  • The number of countries which denied or constrained freedom of speech increased from 56 in 2020 to 64 in 2021.
  • Workers were exposed to violence in 45 countries.
  • Workers had no or restricted access to justice in 65 per cent of countries.
  • Workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detention in 68 countries.
  • Trade unionists were murdered in six countries: Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Nigeria and the Philippines.

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

CRH workers and the unions stay strong together

29 June, 2021:   Over 50 worker representatives from sixteen countries from all over the globe met online to discuss the social situation within CRH, the Irish origin building materials producer.

The meeting was called by IndustriALL Global Union, Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), and European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) and was a continuation of the work started at the conference in Dublin in 2019 when the network of union representatives and activists was formed. The participants exchanged their views on the challenges faced by their unions and workers in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the subcontracting, OHS, climate change, necessity of just transition and the state of social dialogue in CRH companies.

Opening the meeting Ambet Yuson, BWI general secretary, welcomed CRH union delegates, and said, "Over the last five to ten years CRH became a major player in the cement industry. The company established new operations in the Global South. Workers hoped the CRH arrival would be for the better, expecting investment, modernization and development. Unfortunately we witnessed the opposite. Violation of CBA in Ukraine, introduction of double shifts in Brazil in time of COVID-19 and excessive contractualization in the Philippines. They are not in conformity with international human rights standards and commitment of the company under the OECD guidelines. We need to join our forces and fight this injustice."

The conference delegates discussed the state of arts in the negotiations aimed at conclusion of a new agreement for the CRH European Works Council and expressed their support to the efforts at the European level.

Tom Deleu, EFBWW general secretary said, "In CRH we have some work to do. At the European level we have a clear legislative framework regarding the social dialogue within multinational companies. CRH has a voluntary agreement, but we believe it is substandard. Over the recent years they became a global player and they need now to engage with the unions at local, European and global level. We are aiming at improved dialogue under the binding rules of European directive and we will not accept anything less."

The delegates discussed a detailed plan of action focused on collecting the information about the situation in the company regarding union presence, digitalization, company response to climate change and other. While establishing and building social dialogue with the company, the delegates also decided to reach out to the company stakeholders and engage with them on crucial issues.

The participants also decided to prepare a joint statement, which after consultation with the delegates will be shared with the company and published here.

Kemal Ozkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary congratulated the participants with the successful conference and said, "It is the second global meeting focused on the problems of social dialogue in CRH. We are offering our hand and are seeking a transparent dialogue, as long as this reciprocal we will be happy to cooperate. But CRH must become transparent about their cooperation with us, and we will not tolerate other attitude. If the company accepts our offer we will do our best to build our relationship based on mutual respect, if not, we have other methods in our toolbox and have enough experience to conduct also campaigns if needed."

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

Organize, Fight and Win at General Mills Australia

28/06/2021:   Following a 3 week-long strike, members of IUF affiliate United Workers Union (UWU), employed at General Mills in Rooty Hill, Australia, endorsed a deal on June 25 which maintains all terms & conditions of employment, provides for a wage increase of nearly 9% over three years (retroactive to February 11, 2021), an AUD 1,500 net bonus and protection for all non-permanent labor hires and contract workers who participated in the strike.

Throughout the last two years, essential General Mills workers in Australia have worked long hours to keep up with increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic; when workers at General Mills Rooty Hill went on strike on June 4, they were facing a management offering an average pay rise of only 1.5% and seeking to slash workers' terms and conditions of employment.

IUF affiliates from the United States, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and across the entire IUF Asia Pacific Region stood in solidarity with the workers standing up to this global food giant.

Union members from across Australia also took actions to support UWU's fight, raised AUD 35,000 and held solidarity rallies at the strike.

IUF General Secretary Sue Longley welcomed the news, "Solidarity has no borders. When we fight together, we win together. The IUF congratulates UWU and its members at General Mills on their win at Rooty Hill."

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

Italian unions break off relations with BNP Paribas subsidiary BNL

25 June 2021:   UNI Global Union's five Italian affiliates in the finance sector announced on 24 June that they have broken off relations with BNL as the bank continues to block and delay attempts to negotiate over restructuring plans.

BNL, which employs around 11,500 workers in Italy, is purported to be considering outsourcing certain roles at the bank, meaning that affected workers would risk losing their important benefits, rights and working conditions under the collective agreement negotiated by UNI affiliates FABI, FIRST CISL, FISAC CGIL, UILCA and UNISIN.

"Let us be clear: under no circumstances will we allow BNP Paribas and its subsidiary BNL to bypass relations with trade unions and avoid negotiating with us," said Valerio Fornasari, FIRST-CISL National Coordinator.

BNL CEO, Elena Goitini, has refused multiple requests by the unions for a meeting to discuss the bank's plans. Instead, BNL has prescribed a compulsory calendar of consultations with management that may or may not lead to a meeting with the CEO at the end of July. However, unions have rejected this offer, which gives no guarantee of a meeting with the CEO or the opportunity for meaningful dialogue with the company.

Angelo Di Cristo, Head of UNI Finance said: "We urge BNL CEO, Elena Goitini, to stop disrespecting the bank's own workers and urgently convene a meeting with unions to discuss the future of employees. It's just not good enough that a bank with a 100-year history in Italy is rejecting all norms of social dialogue that should be standard for a company of its size and standing."

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

Public Services: More Essential than Ever

JUN 22, 2021:   On 23 June, United Nations Public Service Day, PSI reminds us all that it is public services and public sector workers who kept us safe during the pandemic and who will also play a crucial role in the post-Covid-19 recovery.

In the light of the pandemic, public services have proved to be more essential than ever. Many old myths, carefully established and promoted, are now cracking: that public services can be safely privatised; that spending cannot be raised for social measures; that the private sector is always better.

With the pandemic, people have reconsidered what they value: family, health, education, stability and how much they rely on public services to provide these. But "the applause" has not been translated into better salaries and working conditions - and we must keep on fighting for that to become a reality. Now, more than ever, there is an opportunity to create a new coherent narrative that galvanises broad support for re-empowered public services as the key driver of our recovery. And, in this sense, we need to keep reminding governments about the promises they made in the middle of the pandemic.

It is time for us to fight for more tax transparency so we can finally reclaim the billions flowing into offshore bank accounts and use this funding to rebuild our public services. The recent G7 proposal to create a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% is not enough -we must be bold and fight for at least 25%.

It is also time to recognise that most frontline jobs that kept our communities functioning are predominantly held by women: care work, health work, cleaning, and childcare - workers who are too often undervalued, underpaid and precarious and are often subjected to demands to work for free, and denied formal employment rights.

It has also become obvious that the discussion around public care services and gender relations must be at the centre of the pandemic recovery and viewed through an intersectional lens. We need to urgently rethink care work in our society and organise and consolidate it into an integrated gender-transformative, quality, universal and public health and care services system while denouncing and opposing the privatisation, commodification and financialisation of the sector.

PSI reiterates its call for crafting a global movement to rebuild the social organisation of care, adhering to the 5Rs and the Care Manifesto, noting and welcoming the current experience in Chile, where they are trying to include care as a human right in their new Constitution. On this Public Service Day, PSI commits to broaden the area of public services as a vital claim for a more inclusive, prepared, responsive and resilient society.

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

Tragic death underscores the need for peaceful negotiation

18 Jun 2021:   Adil Belakhdim was killed this morning (Friday 18 June 2021) by a truck that ran a picket outside a Lidl warehouse in Baindrate, near Milan, Italy.

He leaves behind a wife, Lucia and two children aged four and six. The thoughts of everyone at ITF and ETF are with his family and friends, and with his brothers and sisters at the Si Cobas. Belakhdim, 37, was a union representative for Si Cobas in the Novarese area.

Several others were injured in the incident with at least two being taken to hospital with reportedly minor injuries. An investigation into the circumstances of the death has been started by the Italian authorities. We join the call from our affiliated unions FILT CGIL, FIT CISCL and Uiltrasporti for the Italian Government to open dialogue on the state of the logistic sector in Italy, especially on the need to regulate subcontracting.

"Tensions can run high in this kind of dispute," said ETF General Secretary Livia Spera. "But both Adil and the driver of the truck are victims. They are victims of a corporate system that does not respond to the human needs of workers, and of a government that doesn't care to intervene.

Noel Coard, ITF Inland Transport Section Secretary responded to today's tragic events: "I hope we can all learn from Adil's heartbreaking death that peaceful talks are always the best way forward. This death is tragic because it was so unnecessary."

Local unions will extend the picket at Baindrate and workers in the Lidl warehouse will strike for 48 hours (19 and 20 June) to show solidarity with Adil Belakhdim and the cause he was fighting for.

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

Algerian trade unionist released

JUN 17, 2021:   Mourad Ghedia, President of the SNAPAP/CGATA Justice Sector Workers, had been arrested and placed under a detention order in El-Harrach prison.

Nassira Ghozlane, SNAPAP General Secretary, has written to PSI to inform us of the release of Mourad Ghedia after 2 months and 10 days of detention.

While he has been condemned by the court of Hussein Dey to 6 months suspended sentence he was released and "is finally reunited with his family and friends, thanks to those who joined the large campaign of solidarity and support of the friendly trade unions, LabourStart and the international trade union organisations that called on the Algerian decision-makers about the case of Mourad Ghedia" says Nassira.

SNAPAP/CGATA expresses its gratitude to all those who have called on the government and the presidency of the Republic about the case of Mourad Ghedia. It warmly thanks PSI and LabourStart for all the efforts invested in the international campaign for Mourad Ghedia.

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

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