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Mother Jones: Inside the Fight to Topple Lindsey Graham--and Trump's Senate Majority   |   Beaver County Times: As cost of living rises, Pennsylvanians fight to make ends meet   |   Labor Press: Housing Works Employees File For NLRB Election Confident in Union Victory   |   Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington   |   American Prospect: Financial Engineers Ravage American Newspapers--McClatchy's Turn   |   How the Republican-controlled Senate is putting the pensions of 1.3 million Americans at risk   |   AFL-CIO: The Trump Budget: The Other Shoe Drops   |    American Prospect: When Nurses Strike--and Get Locked Out   |   Blue Green Alliance: President's Budget is a Travesty for Workers, Environment   |   NNU: Veterans and RNs Demand Congress Protect Veterans' Health Care   |   Common Dreams: 'Victory for Workers!': House Praised for Passing Landmark PRO Act to Strengthen Unions and Labor Rights   |   The Stand: Hundreds rally to protect safety and privacy   |   On Labor: Ringing the Alarm at the National Labor Relations Board   |   Common Dreams: Over 60 Green Groups Call on House Dems to Pass Sweeping Worker Rights-Boosting PRO Act   |   NW Labor Press: More workers go union at Cascadia Behavioral Health   |   Bloomberg Law: Union Oversight Agency Adds Staff Entrenched in Labor Opposition   |   2020 Working Families Party State of the Union Response: Rep. Ayanna Pressley   |   Raw Story   |   The Stand: What the BlueGreen Alliance is fighting for in 2020   |   Clean Slate for Worker Power   |   Working In These Times: Trump's NLRB Quietly Makes It Riskier To Wear Union Schwag at Work   |   AFL-CIO Blog: No Más! Campaign Calls for Chilean Government to Protect Human Rights   |   Dissent: Belabored Podcast #192: Unions for All, with SEIU Local 26   |   American Prospect: An SOS Call for America's Workers   |   Iowa-Des Moines Register: Endorsement: Elizabeth Warren will push an unequal America in the right direction   |   Labor Press: Trump Attacks Federal Workers; EPA Under 'Systemic' Threat   |   Common Dreams: 'Hobnobbing With Billionaires in Davos,' Trump Admits-If Reelected-He Will Seek to Cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare

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

AFL-CIO Now Blog

LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns

Campaign for Postal Banking

People Over Profit...
Public Services International

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

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

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

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

U.S. Mail Not for Sale...
American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers

Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK

One Fair Wage...
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Committee for Better Banks...
coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations

Making Change at Walmart...
United Food and Commercial Workers

Robin Hood Tax Campaign...
it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States

Justice for Port Drivers...
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Union Yes

ILO Labor Standards

The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

Unions say Fresenius is in violation of Korean Labor Law

21 February 2020:   UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger called on the Korean government to take a hard look at the Korea National Pension Fund's investments in the German healthcare company Fresenius and the American technology corporation Oracle for their repeated abuses of workers' rights protected by international law.

"We have just heard from the representatives of two unions about the challenges workers are facing in Korea when they want to exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining," said Boessiger at a press conference in Korean National Assembly on Friday is support of the Korean Democratic Pharmaceutical Union (KDPU.) "Only companies that comply with national and international labour rights should receive government investment.The government should use its influence and demand change."

At Fresenius Medical Care, which is part of German-based multinational Fresenius, 20 rounds of negotiations have produced zero results because the company refuses to even agree to the most basic demands by the union such as providing necessary time-off for labor activities as recommended by Korean law.

"The problems in Korea, along with obstacles faced by workers in other countries, show a systemic and global problem at Fresenius. FMC Korea and its German mother company Fresenius should immediately engage in meaningful negotiations with unions in Korea to remedy this ongoing denial of workers' rights," said Boessiger.

Oracle has been called out by the union for violating Korean labour law by not proving its employees with correct employment contracts. The company is also denying workers their hard-earned overtime pay and annual leave compensation.

Headquartered in Bad Homburg, Germany, Fresenius is a healthcare giant that employs 290,000 workers around the world and records about 30 billion euros ($32.3 billion) in annual sales. In Korea, the company operates Fresenius Kabi Korea, mainly selling nutrients, and Fresenius Medical Care, marketing kidney dialysis machines, dialysis fluids, and services.

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

UK: university staff walk out for fair pay, conditions and pensions in the largest strike to date

20.02.2020:   With negotiations undermined by uncompromising university heads, the University and College Union has launched a third wave of strikes which will affect 74 universities in the UK over the next 14 days.

The University and College Union (UCU), affiliated to Education International (EI), has called for strike action starting today, 20 February, and lasting at least a fortnight. It is the UK's biggest ever university strike. The number of universities affected by the action is the largest since a nationwide two-day action in 2016, while the number of strike days is unprecedented.

The walkout was announced after negotiations between the union and the employers (Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association) stalled over pay, equality, casualisation and workload disputes. In an official statement, UCU has said vice-chancellors are to blame for blocking the negotiations. According to UCU General Secretary Jo Grady, "vice-chancellors have had months to come up with serious offers...They refuse to talk about the pay issue and have [failed] to come up with an offer on pensions."

One action, two disputes

The actions organised by UCU aim to put pressure on two separate disputes.

  • The first one is failing pay, the gender and ethnic pay gap, precarious employment practices, and unsafe workloads. Since 2009, pay has been effectively cut by nearly 20% in real terms, while "staff are being asked to work harder and longer than ever before," according to UCU. Casual contracts remain another major area of concern.
  • The second dispute focuses on changes to the pensions scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). University employers are "ignoring pension experts" according to the union and "want [staff] to pay more based on a flawed way of assessing the scheme."

Both situations could hamper the future of higher education, according to the union, with growing inequality affecting students as well as staff. "Poor working conditions mean poor learning conditions," the union has declared. You can follow the UCU live action page for updates here

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million members in 391 organizations in 170 countries and territories

KHMU scores a victory at Youngnam University Hospital

17 February 2020:   The Korean Health and Medical Union (KHMU) announced the end of a 23-day hunger strike by its President Sister Na Sun-Ja and Sister Kim Jin-Kyung, President of Youngnam University Hospital Union.

The hunger strike helped put an end to 14 years of strained industrial relations between the Youngnam University Hospital's management and the union.

Through mediation earlier in the month, the two parties reached a final agreement guaranteeing Sister Park Moon-Jin and Sister Song Young Sook's reinstatement, the management's consenting to union activities, and a path to improving industrial relations. Additionally, the agreement ends all legal disputes the sides had against each other.

Sister Na said, "The agreement is a historic moment to move past the 14 long years of painful memories and also an opportunity to create a better way of industrial relations."

This breakthrough agreement came, in part, thanks to the support and momentum from Korea's trade union movement, which gathered in solidarity for Sister Park Moon-Jin and Sister Song Young Suk. The two leaders held their ground, in protest on the hospital's roof-top for over 200 hundred days. Several thousands of union members and community supporters from around the nation came forward over the last seven-and-a-half months to participate in sit-ins and marches to show full support for the two leaders' fight.

The hunger strike began when hospital management wavered and reneged in late December 2019 on previously agreed conditions. To highlight the cause, Sister Na Sun-Ja, KHMU President, together with Sister Kim Jin-Kyung launched an indefinite hunger strike at the hospital itself. Sister Kim added, "The reinstatement of dismissed workers is an important concern for both the union and the management. It came through with the nationwide support that helped us carry on the struggle through the end."

On February 12, several hundreds of union members of Youngnam University Hospital union, many other unions and community organizations had gathered in front of Respiratory Center building of the hospital to celebrate the victory and welcomed Sister Park and Sister Song as they emerged from their roof-top hunger strike.

Rajendra A. Kumar, Regional Secretary of UNI Apro, congratulated KHMU, he said, "I am very proud of the struggle that our Sisters in KHMU put up, and I am very glad that it has led to this positive outcome." Adrian Durtschi of UNI Global Union also congratulated KHMU's victory saying that "For KHMU, nothing is impossible! We fully admire the courage and commitment of our sisters."

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

Breaking news: working people form new rail and metro union in Bangkok

14 Feb 2020:   Bangkok has seen a historic moment today as a new workers' union has been launched.

Working people on the city's metro and rail system have come together to form the Metro and Rail Transport Workers' Union (MRTU) and held their first general meeting at the offices of the State Railway Workers' Union of Thailand (SRUT). The MRTU represents workers in Siemens Mobility Company Thailand, and has the backing of the workers' union at Siemens in Germany.

Suporn Larsuprom is a track worker at Siemens Mobility Company Thailand, and is the president of the MRTU: "We realise that forming a workers' union is not easy, but we will all try our best because we know it's the right thing to do for everyone who works in the company. It is our right to do this and we won't give up. With the backing of the ITF and IG Metall we will succeed."

In a letter to the MRTU, representatives on the Siemens supervisory board and from the German metalworkers' union IG Metall said: 'We support the introduction of union representation at the Siemens facilities in Thailand and will do our best to protect the union against any anti-union interference from the company's side.'

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton welcomed the launch of the MRTU: "Everyone has a right to a good job so they can support their loved ones. That's what these working people can now fight for through their union. Congratulations to them for forming the MRTU and welcome to the ITF family - we will be there to provide support and solidarity."

"We all have a right to cleaner, safer cities, and public transport is a big part of this. It's great that so many cities in the Asia-Pacific region are investing in metro systems. But the new jobs created must allow people to support their families and enjoy good lives. The best way to ensure this is for workers to organise into unions to win and defend their rights."

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 18.5 million members from 147 countries

After a four-year struggle, workers at VEON's Bangladeshi subsidiary win recognition for their union

12 February 2020:   They faced intimidation, firings, and numerous other obstacles to organizing, but workers at Banglalink, a subsidiary of Amsterdam-based telecoms company VEON, won the registration for their union from the Bangladeshi government on Monday. The legal registration came one day before the Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD concluded that VEON and its subsidiary failed to follow the OECD Guidelines in Bangladesh.

The NCP's statement, released 11 February, was sparked by a complaint made by UNI Global union in 2016. UNI Global Union's complaint alleged that the company harassed workers to suppress organizing with the Banglalink Employees Union (BLEU). Despite the difficult conditions, more than 30 per cent of the workers indicated support for the union, the threshold required under Bangladeshi law. But registration was withheld based upon the company's unproven claim that there was a "mismatch" in the signatures, holding up registration for 4 years. In its decision, the NCP recommended several significant labour reforms to bring the company in compliance with the guidelines and promote freedom of association.

Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI, said, "This is a huge victory for Banglalink workers, but after four-years of struggle, the fight is not over. Banglalink workers should not have to wait another four years to have a fair collective agreement, and we call on VEON to adhere to the OECD Guidelines by negotiating in good faith and without delay."

Hoffman continued, "The timing of this registration, one day before the NCP's statement, is not a coincidence, and the Dutch NCP should be commended for dedicating extensive time and research to this case. Its job was made even harder by the fact that VEON became the first Dutch company to refuse mediation, a key part of the OECD process."

The Bangladeshi government's refusal to register workers' legitimate unions, has been a chronic problem in the country, drawing an ILO complaint in 2016. However, there have been some signs that the pressure is working. Late last year, workers at another Bangladeshi telecom, Grameenphone, also won registration for their union.

"Beyond garment factories, workers in all sectors of Bangladesh's economy are organizing because they want stronger protections, a dignified wage, and better conditions," said Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary of UNI APRO. "This victory hopefully shows that companies operating in Bangladesh and the country's government are starting to realize that collective bargaining is necessary social good."

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are principles and standards for responsible. global business conduct. OECD National Contact Points are government-supported offices established to advance the effectiveness of the OECD Guidelines.

VEON is an Amsterdam-based multinational telecom company with 235 million customers and operations in 12 countries.

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

France: Workers at Intercontinental Marseille hotel face management backlash for challenging abusive working conditions

11.02.20:   Workers at the Intercontinental Hotel Dieu in Marseille, supported by the FDS-CGT, face a management backlash after organizing to demand an end to poverty wages, unpaid overtime and under-staffing.

Room cleaners and other staff facing impossible performance requirements are on the receiving end of a chain of licensing and subcontracting arrangements which depend on gross exploitation. The city of Marseille granted Axa REIM, the giant French-based real estate investment manager, a 99-year lease to the property for the derisory sum of 2 million euros per year. Axa REIM in turn has contracted IHG Marseille, owned by Intercontinental Hotels Group, to manage the hotel, including staff. The exorbitant profit targets set by the financial arrangement between the Axa REIM and IHG, make it impossible to provide decent work for the hotel employees.

The union believes the situation qualifies as the abusive subcontracting (délit de marchandage) punishable under French law. And the city of Marseille, through the terms of the lease, is subsidizing exploitation.

Workers struck the hotel on November 15, 2019 but after a month of picketing had to call off the strike when Intercontinental initiated legal action to evict the strikers - an attack on the right to strike. Workers and their union continue the struggle by other means: filing legal charges, calling for labor inspections and promoting the struggle on media.

The IUF is organizing international support for the union at the hotel.

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 421 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

PSI denounces ongoing repression against independent unions in Algeria

On February 5, 2019, the police surrounded the office of PSI affiliate SNATEGS and the confederation COSYFOP located at the el-Herrache Commune in Algiers, and proceeded to make arrests and remove of all the COSYFOP posters and banners from inside the office. PSI affiliate SNAPAP has also suffered a similar incident in their office.

Feb 11, 2020:   The repression against unionists in Algeria is intensifying after months of protests against the government. The confederation has been officially informed of the prohibition of any kind of meeting inside their office, which has been sealed off by the military.

This is the latest information we have received about the continuing repression of independent trade unions in Algeria. Despite the popular uprising and the removal from power of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the current leader of the country, Abdel Majid Tebboune, is continuing the repression.

The repression of members of the Confédération Syndicale des Forces Productives (COSYFOP) is happening at the workplace, with dismissals of union members, and in their personal lives with arrests, court cases, death threats and torture.

The examples below have been communicated to PSI from the union:

  • The President of the Confederation, Brother Mellal Raouf, has been sentenced to prison in more than 12 trials and the official media have launched a campaign accusing him of espionage and other false accusations because of his action at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the subsequent issue of ILO resolutions and recommendations concerning the right to organise in Algeria. Such accusations can lead to the death penalty in Algeria.
  • The Secretary General of the Confederation, Brother Abdelkader Kouafi, was sentenced to three months in prison for the statements he made in favour of improving working conditions and the fight against precarious work in the industrial sector.
  • The President of the National Union of Health Care Workers, Hamza Kherroubi, who has been the victim of a systematic campaign on account of his trade union and political activities in support of the popular movement, was arrested in December 2019 and sentenced to one year in prison with conditional release in return for suspension of all publications and trade union and political activities.
  • Former Coordinator of the National Federation of Civil Servants in the Education Sector, Rym Kadri, was arrested in November in the wilaya of Ouargla, subjected to psychological torture because of her trade union activities and her support for political detainees, and placed under judicial supervision.
  • President of the Youth Committee, Mohammad El Amine Slimani, was harassed and summoned because of the media coverage of popular demonstrations in Algiers.
  • President of the National Federation of Social Security Workers, Merine Ayoub, was arbitrarily dismissed and prosecuted for her trade union activities and support for the popular movement.

The leadership of the confederation has been contacted by the government with a call to engage in dialogue, but the call was accompanied by a threat of imprisonment, falsification of charges and torture if the offer was rejected. COSYFOP could not accept any dialogue in such circumstances. The Confederation calls on the authorities to engage in a genuine, serious and transparent dialogue in order to overcome the political and social crisis in the country.

Public Services International, together with Global Union Federations IUF, IndustriALL and ITUC, has addressed a letter to ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, calling on him to insist that the Algerian authorities:

  • Guarantee the unconditional release of all those arrested for attempting to exercise their trade union and civic rights and provide guarantees of their safety
  • Immediately rescind the closures of the SNAPAP/CGATA and SNATEGS/COSYFOP offices and cease the surveillance of trade union activity
  • Take immediate measures to permit the registration and unhindered activity of the independent trade unions, in line with CAS conclusions.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 163 countries

Limit Amazon's power, says report

5 February 2020:   Key stakeholders at Amazon came together to demand action to limit the company's power at an historic symposium in Brussels in December 2019. Now, a report from the global symposium lays out the critiques and solutions to the company's growing control over today's economy and society. Amazon is now the world's biggest online retailer and largest provider of web services, making a profit of US$10.5 billion in 2019.

"Amazon has become too big and too powerful. It has trampled over workers' rights, crushed independent retailers and manipulated legal loopholes to avoid paying tax - all the while making billions of dollars in profits. Amazon must stop exploiting workers, customers and the environment, and start paying back into society," says the UNI Global Union report.

The symposium, organized by UNI and the International Trade Union Confederation, brought together trade unions, climate activists, tax experts, NGOs and legislators for the first time for a meeting on Amazon in Brussels on 2 December.

The report highlights stakeholders' mutual concerns over Amazon's poor record on labour rights, the marketplace, the climate crisis, privacy and digital rights, and tax avoidance. It calls for action to:

  • Break up Amazon, and for an urgent overhaul of competition legislation to adapt to global online platforms
  • Improve labour rights and working conditions through stronger social protections
  • Make Amazon recognize trade unions and engage in collective bargaining
  • Ensure Amazon pays tax where it earns
  • Pressure Amazon to reduce carbon emissions from e-commerce and data centres, and stop using its technology to empower the oil and gas industry
  • Establish comprehensive privacy laws that protect personal data and prevent surveillance capitalism

UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman, said: "Amazon's unparalleled control over the marketplace, the web and our personal data is a genuine threat to democracy. But this report shows that trade unions and civil society are coming together from across the world to challenge Amazon's power. It's time for action to make Amazon pays its fair share of tax, improve working conditions, and reduce its environmental impact."

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

Zimbabwe: government's international reputation in the balance as it puts workers' rights defenders on trial

Nineteen of the twenty-eight trade unionists still on trial in Zimbabwe are set to appear soon in front of courts across the country as the government pursues its repressive tactics in the courtroom. Trade unionists have been in the government's crosshairs following a 2018 call for a peaceful work-stoppage in response to escalating living costs. The international trade union movement calls for an end to the persecution.

04-02-2020:   During their prolonged trial, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' (ZCTU) General Secretary Japhet Moyo and President Peter Mutasa were called to appear before judges no less than 19 times. All charges were eventually dropped, notably following international trade union pressure, including through diplomatic channels and through mobilisations outside Zimbabwe's embassies. However, many grassroots trade unionists remain subject to long-drawn-out trials as a battle for the judicial independence continues, in the face of the government's politically motivated attacks.

"From violent repression to prolonged legal harassment, the government's aim remains to intimidate, discourage and sap the energy of the trade union movement. Their refusal to engage constructively and take on board the interests of working people in decision-making is driving profound distrust across society in Zimbabwe. It seems that the government hasn't yet realised that, as well as the freedom of trade unions, these cases are putting its own reputation amongst the international community on trial. It is never too late to change course: unions remain committed to a dialogue that respects people's freedom of association and of assembly and to ensuring that the government governs for the people," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

Those on trial hail from across the trade union movement, including the women's and youth sections. Amongst the twenty-eight still on trial, eight are energy sector representatives who are facing criminal charges for protesting the non-payment of wages.

Florence Taruvinga, ZCTU Vice-President, is also amongst those on trial. She said: "The ability of working people to have a fair representation is truly undermined. If the government dedicated even half the resources they are using in attempts to shut trade unions down, to actually engage them positively, we would be able to make real progress. The fact that women and youth members, groups that are under-represented, are also facing trial highlights the depth of the disregard the government is showing to an inclusive approach."

The international trade union movement remains in full solidarity with ZCTU, and national trade unions across the world are again raising the issue with Zimbabwe representatives as well as their own governments.

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

Martin Luther King

Using global framework agreements to organize

31 January, 2020:   Over a two-year period IndustriALL affiliates in Turkey and Bangladesh have successfully organized more than 50 supplier factories as part of a programme to effectively implement global framework agreements.

IndustriALL textile and garment director Christina Hajagos-Clausen says that the agreements contain a wide range of provisions to improve working conditions and to protect workers' rights, especially on freedom of association: "GFAs are instrumental in resolving conflicts and strengthening workers' voices. In addition they are a instrumental tool for our affiliates to increase union representation along the supply chain."

On 29 January, 36 trade union representatives from Indonesia's textile and garment sector met in Jakarta to learn more about how to effectively implement global framework agreements.

Participants committed to continue mapping trade union density and collective bargaining coverage in the supplier factories of GFA brands, like H&M, Inditex, Tchibo, Esprit and Mizuno. The results of a preliminary mapping, had identified that Garteks, SPN, FSPTK, GSBI and FSPTSK had established unions at 38 out of the 106 GFA suppliers in Indonesia. The union leaders discussed organizing plans to target the remaining non-unionized suppliers.

"The GFAs have evolved over the years, the latest features include setting up national monitoring committees in 6 countries with H&M, the establishment of a global union committee with Inditex and a GFA online app with ASOS. Trainings like this can help our Indonesian affiliates to increase union representation," says Christina Hajagos-Clausen.

According to SPN and Garteks, when textile and garment employers became aware of workers attempting to form a trade union, the union leaders were immediately demoted and refused approval for their overtime.

"It is not easy to overcome anti-union discrimination as authorities are slow in taking actions against employers violating labour laws. GFAs will be a useful instrument to negotiate with factories and organize more workers," says Trisnur Priyanto, Garteks general secretary.

IndustriALL's regional secretary Annie Adviento says the GFA workshop aims to enhance union leaders' knowledge on the agreements, and more trainings will be provided to strengthen Indonesian affiliates' capacity to organize textile and garment workers.

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

Online tool puts spotlight on progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4

28.01.2020:   To mark International Education Day, the Global Education Monitoring Report has launched a new online interactive tool to explore progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 and policy priorities for 2030. Available in seven languages, the Education Progress website brings together data from various producers, notably the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. It explores the progress made by countries towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Five themes

This tool, released by the Global Education Monitoring Report on 24 January, also underlines the bottlenecks and policy priorities from now until 2030 in five key themes: access, equity, learning, quality, and finance. For instance, it highlights that special efforts are needed to ensure all children and young people can benefit equally from education's transformative power.

It also reveals that around one in 60 children, most of them in low-income countries, will never go to school. Girls are still more likely than boys to never go to school, as discrimination against them means that they are expected to carry out childcare and other household responsibilities.

Education International report

The website echoes many findings from Education International's 2019 report, "Off Track: Educators Assess Progress Towards Sustainable Development Goal 4". The report was presented to the United Nations' High-Level Political Forum in New York reviewing progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 by Susan Hopgood, Education International's President in July last year.

Governments not on track

According to this report, governments worldwide are seriously off track in terms of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030. Not enough governments have taken the necessary steps to implement Sustainable Development Goal 4, and some have implemented policies that actively undermine the agenda.

The report was informed by the views of EI's member organisations, with educators believing that the challenges facing Sustainable Development Goal 4 are not insurmountable. Education International urges all governments to employ strong political will, good planning and coordination, and adequate investment to implement the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million members in 391 organizations in 170 countries and territories

IndustriALL and Michelin sign agreement for global works council

28 January, 2020:   On 27 January, IndustriALL and Michelin signed an agreement to set up the Michelin Global Works Council. The new council, representing the Group's workers, will draw heavily on the work, methods and positive outcomes of the Michelin European Works Council (MEWC).

On 27 January 2020, Valter Sanches, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary, and Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin Group, signed an agreement to set up the Michelin Global Works Council. For Michelin Group, the agreement signed with IndustriALL is a milestone in a process launched several years ago aimed at fostering open, constructive and responsible social dialogue in its operations around the world.

The Global Works Council was created to fulfil the following aims:

  • to create a new platform for social dialogue that represents employees in the countries in which the Group operates
  • to better prepare for the economic, social and environmental changes affecting Michelin Group throughout the world
  • to improve the social support needed in all countries in light of the Group's economic transformation

The Council will therefore have the following missions:

  • to share the Group's results and strategic goals transparently with workers in all countries in which Michelin operates
  • to help co-develop key policies to address the social implications of the Group's transformation, competitiveness, social protection, diversity (especially disability and inclusion), sustainable development, etc.

The Michelin Global Works Council will be chaired by Michelin Group's general secretary Remi de Verdilhac. Fifty council members will be appointed during the month of February in order to properly prepare for the council's first meeting, scheduled to take place on 1 April this year in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

With this agreement, Michelin recognizes the importance of the fundamental conventions of the ILO, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Group pledges to support and respect human rights and to develop a culture of vigilance on this matter. In particular, Michelin commits to comply with the principles of freedom of association and employee representation, and to protect the rights of employees and union representatives.

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says: "Global works councils are a strategic way of involving multinational companies in our action plan. Michelin is a leader in its sector, and the Global Works Council is another step in the process of enhancing industrial relations within the Group."

Michelin Group's CEO, Florent Menegaux, says that: "The Michelin Global Works Council will allow us to go further when it comes to fostering social dialogue and supporting workers as the company evolves. It will also help us to improve working conditions and strengthen the rights of our workers around the world."

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

UPDATE: Trial of STAS union leader at Fyffes Honduras dropped

27.01.20:   The scheduled January 22 trial of union leader Moisés Sánchez, general secretary of the IUF-affiliated STAS section at Fyffes' melon operations in Honduras, did not take place thanks to national and international pressure. An agreement was reached to resolve the complaints stemming from the construction of a road for the residents of the rural community La Permuta - a project approved by the municipal authorities - through direct negotiations between the parties (including the municipality) beginning in February.

The IUF regional organization has welcomed this first result of the strong pressure brought by STAS, the Network Against Anti-Union Violence in Honduras, the IUF and unions internationally, while warning that continued vigilance is needed.

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 421 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

Massmart must stop mass dismissal plans in South Africa

23 January 2020:   UNI Global Union has called on Walmart-subsidiary, Massmart, to halt plans to close up to 34 stores in South Africa, which could put around 1,400 jobs at risk.

At a meeting in Barcelona this week, the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee unanimously adopted a solidarity statement urging Massmart and Walmart to revise their decision announced on 13 January, and to engage in constructive consultation with UNI affiliate, SACCAWU (South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union).

Speaking at the meeting, Louise Thipe from SACCAWU said: "The loss of even one worker is too many given that the rate of unemployment in South Africa is very high. Such a massive dismissal would create more poverty in society. The history of Walmart is well-known, there might be more dismissals. We are asking for your support. More voices might turn things around."

In the solidarity statement, the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee called on company management and South African authorities to take action to save jobs, saying:

  • We urge the local management of Massmart and global management of Walmart to revise their decision to close stores and to engage in constructive and genuine consultation with SACCAWU in order to avoid job losses and minimize negative effects on workers.
  • We call South African authorities to step in and ensure that consultation process is properly carried out and all necessary measures are taken to avoid job losses.
  • We manifest our solidarity with Massmart workers and SACCAWU in their just fight to protect jobs.

Massmart, which is majority-owned by US retail giant Walmart, includes local brands such as Game, Makro, Builder's Warehouse and CBW. It is the second-largest distributor of consumer goods in Africa.

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

Honduras: Judicial persecution of union leader at Fyffes

21.01.20:   The IUF and unions internationally are mobilizing to stop the judicial persecution of Honduran union leader Moisés Sanchéz, who faces up to 30 years' imprisonment on ludicrous charges in a courtroom on January 22. Sanchéz is general secretary of the sub-section of our affiliated agroindustrial union STAS on the melon farms of the transnational company Fyffes in Choluteca.

Moisés will be tried on January 22 on criminal charges stemming from the construction of an access road by the rural community of La Permuta in November 2018. The community assembly of La Permuta voted to construct the road on the basis of assurances by the mayor that the land was public property. Before the road was built, La Permuta residents had limited access to the farms in Choluteca, and were cut off during the rainy season. Now a local landowner who leases property to Fyffes has brought charges for 'land usurpation' against Moisés and 5 elected community leaders. Sanchéz is not an elected community leader, but simply one of some 450 residents of La Permuta who voted for construction of the road.

Sanchez, who survived a machete attack by assailants in 2017, the year he was also fired by Fyffes, is among the victims of anti-union violence under government protection. Since October 2019, he has again been the target of surveillance and threats.

In tripartite proceedings over 2018-2019 the ILO documented the grave threats to the lives and security of trade unionists in Honduras, including Moisés and other members and officers of STAS, and enjoined the government to take strong measures to protect those threatened with anti-union violence and allow trade unions including STAS to exercise their internationally-exercised rights in an environment free of violence and threats.

This attempt to imprison him on spurious charges appears part of the longstanding campaign to decimate STAS at Fyffes' Choluteca plantations.

The IUF and its regional organization for Latin America, together with the Network Against Anti-Union Violence in Honduras and unions internationally, have called on the government to drop the charges against Sanchéz and provide all necessary protection to STAS and other unions facing persecution and violence. STAS President Tomás Membreño says "We will accompany Moisés and we will mobilize in front of the court to demand justice."

The IUF has called on Fyffes to immediately cease its campaign of intimidation and harassment against STAS, recognize the elected leadership of the STAS local at Fyffes, and end its refusal to collectively bargain with the democratically elected, legitimate, independent STAS local union.

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 421 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

Turkish affiliate Güvenlik IS files criminal complaint against Loomis, demands the company respects workers' rights

16 January 2020:   UNI's Turkish affiliate, Güvenlik IS, has filed a criminal complaint against Swedish cash-in-transit company, Loomis. The filing comes after several union activists were threatened by managers with dismissal if they continue their union membership.

The charges in the union's complaint, which has been accepted by a prosecutor, indicate that Loomis is breaking the commitment to freedom of association it made in the global agreement signed with UNI Global Union and the Swedish Transport Workers Union.

Loomis management in Stockholm denied that their local management is guilty of anti-union practices in Turkey and declined to step in or accept mediation. Their refusal to engage with the union left Güvenlik IS with no other options than the legal action, filed last year and accepted by prosecutors earlier this month.

The union, which represents private security workers, has been organizing workers to win recognition under Turkish law. However, as soon as the union filed for recognition, the union busting backlash began. Local Loomis managers started an anti-union campaign by intimidating, threatening and even dismissing 43 union members.

Workers at Loomis in Turkey have been calling out the company for harassment of union activists since it took over G4S's operations in the country. Despite widespread support from the workforce and crossing the legal threshold for recognition, the substandard working conditions and demands that the company addresses serious issues in the workplace have been ignored.

"These are serious violations that require an immediate action from the company," said Head of Property Services Eddy Stam. "However, the company has stonewalled us for months, even refusing the participation of our Turkish union representatives." "Güvenlik IS and UNI will keep pushing until the unlawful dismissals are compensated, and the company respects workers' right to freedom of association."

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

Indefinite strike for direct employment at Ibis Batignolles Hotel in Paris

15.01.20:   Hotel housekeepers at the Ibis Batignolles Hotel, one of the rare hotels directly owned by the Accor group, have been on indefinite strike since July 17, 2019. The housekeepers are employed by the subcontracted service provider STN. They are paid by the room rather than by the hour. The work load is excessive and wages poor. And workers are being posted to other hotels to weaken the union and the strike.

The workers and their union CGT-HPE, the Parisian branch of IUF affiliate FCDS-CGT, denounce the inequality of treatment of subcontracted workers, who do not benefit from the same employment status as workers hired directly by the hotel (higher wages, food allowance, profit-sharing, incentives, various bonuses, etc.).

"This social dumping practice is unacceptable, and, as no discussion is possible with STN, the strikers at Ibis Batignolles are seeking to be employed directly by Ibis Batignolles", explains the CGT-HPE trade unionist Claude Levy. The hotel housekeepers are also demanding the withdrawal of the Macron government's pension reform.

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 421 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

The privatisation of education under the spotlight in the Caribbean

13.01.2020:   On January 11-12 leaders of Education International member organisations in the Caribbean came together in Bridgetown, Barbados to develop a deeper understanding of Education International's Global Response to the privatisation and commercialisation of education and to consider the situation across their region.

During the two-day meeting, leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago shared their experience with commercialisation and privatisation trends in education in their countries.

The privatisation and commercialisation of education in the Caribbean will be mapped in a new research project, which will inform the development of national campaigns by member organisations of Education International. The research project will be a key element in helping to confront the threats posed by commercialisation and privatisation in education in the region.

"No part of the world is immune to the threat posed by commercialisation and privatisation," said Angelo Gavrielatos, Global Response Project Director. "In the interests of our students, members, and quality education for all, the expansion of Education International's Global Response to the commercialisation and privatisation of education across the globe is a priority."

Education International thanks the Canadian Teachers' Federation for the solidarity and support (financial and logistical) which has made this possible. Over the last four years, Education International's Global Response has driven the fight against the growing privatisation and commercialisation of education with member organisations in every region of the world.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million members in 391 organizations in 170 countries and territories

ITF backs unions against 'slavery law' in Ukraine

10 Jan 2020:   The ITF has joined with global unions and its Ukrainian affiliates to oppose a draft labour law that will severely undermine workers' rights and contravene national labour law and international labour standards.

Today, ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton has written to the president of Ukraine calling on his government to withdraw the law, which was introduced in Parliament on 27 December. Mr Cotton said: "With this new law, trade unions will become outsiders, they will be deprived of the right to participate in the development of policy in the area of labour relations, wages and social protection.

"The whole system of labour law and social protection is being dismantled. The law on labour has already been nicknamed a 'slavery law'. Massive transition to individual contracts will deprive workers of their rights, and every worker will have to individually bargain over their wages and working conditions... it is incumbent upon the government of Ukraine to withdraw this draft labour law without any delay."

In the letter, Mr Cotton reminds President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine's obligations under international law: "The draft law is in contravention of core international labour standards, undermines workers' fundamental rights and is a regression from the current Ukrainian national labour law."

The new law violates several International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that Ukraine has ratified including minimum wage fixing (no. 131), freedom of association and protection of the right to organise (no. 87) and right to organise and collective bargaining (no. 98).

Ukrainian trade union federations and ITF-affiliated unions are actively campaigning against the law, which has attracted strong international opposition from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Industriall global union and the European Public Services Union.

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 18.5 million members from 147 countries

Dockers' Clause: A deal is a deal - and we are defending it

09 Jan 2020:   Dockers unions, shop stewards and legal advisors from ten countries gathered in Rotterdam yesterday and pledged to take action to ensure that the new "Dockers' Clause" is correctly implemented, forming an international team of legal advisors to prepare for action against companies that do not comply with the clause.

The new agreement was signed in February 2018 by workers' and employers' representatives from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Employers' Council (IMEC). The amended clause (Article 4, Non-Seafarers Work commonly referred to as the "Dockers' Clause") which applies to all ITF approved agreements took effect worldwide in the same month, with two exceptions: Europe and Canada.

Europe and Canada were given almost two years additional time to prepare for the new rules - until 1 January 2020 - before the agreement entered into force on the explicit request of employers. Despite this generous arrangement, certain companies have refused to uphold the Dockers' Clause. Instead of contracting lashing companies, they waited until the clause entered into effect and now claim that enforcement is impossible.

Today workers' representatives in Europe (ETF) and globally (ITF) condemned the behaviour as unacceptable. "The Dockers' Clause was agreed for the health and safety of seafarers and dockers. Delaying its implementation jeopardizes safe working conditions and it constitutes a breach of the agreement" said Terje Samuelsen, ETF Dockers' section chair, commenting on the employers' actions.

"The Dockers' Clause, which came into effect on January 1, is important in two ways - for dockers to do the job safely and to ensure seafarers are no longer obligated to do a job that according to their CBA they're not supposed to be doing. I am surprised that shipowners - who knew this was coming for more than two years - still don't respect it," Samuelsen added.

Niek Stam, ITF Dockers' Section second vice chair said that it is important for seafarers as well as dockers that the clause is upheld.

"The Dockers' Clause secures safe working conditions for seafarers and for dockers. The clause was agreed that lashing work should be carried out by trained dockers! Trade unions are supporting the new Dockers' Clause and are ready and willing to defend it. A deal is a deal, and a signature is legally binding," affirmed Stam. "The agreement was negotiated and signed by both sides, and it is time for everyone to comply. The trade unions of Europe and Canada represented by ITF will keep their end of the promises, companies must keep their side of the bargain as well," said Stam.

An international team of legal advisors has been formed to make sure that companies will indeed comply. Delaying tactics on implementation of the agreement will not be accepted and the necessary legal measures are being prepared to ensure the deal is respected.

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 18.5 million members from 147 countries

Indian workers strike back against Modi government's anti-worker policies

8 January, 2020:   The nation-wide strike on 8 January witnessed the massive participation of over 250 million working people across India. In many states protesting workers were detained, but the strike remained peaceful.

The resentment against the Modi government and its anti-worker policies was evident as workers mobilized in large number throughout India. The joint trade union press release claimed that many provincial states in India, the strike was fully observed, while in some states there was a total industrial strike. IndustriALL India affiliates held joint protest demonstrations in the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Orissa and in many others.

Valter Sanches, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union said, "IndustriALL congratulates its Indian affiliates and the Indian trade union movement for mobilizing millions of workers and organizing a massively successful strike. In this genuine struggle to defend the rights of their members, IndustriALL stand shoulder to shoulder with the unions in India."

Earlier in a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Valter Sanches expressed serious concern over declining economic development, the rising retrenchment of workers across the country and a worsening employment crisis. He underlined that the charter of demands of the Indian trade union movement attempts to provide solutions to the problems of working people and called upon the government of India to immediately address the demands. He also sent a message of solidarity to Indian affiliates and urged IndustriALL affiliates around the world to support them.

Dr. G Sanjeeva Reddy, IndustriALL executive committee member and the president of INTUC said: "It is a very successful strike with full support from workers in organized and unorganized sectors and in rural and urban areas. We hope the government starts the discussion with the central trade unions to resolve our demands. If the government continues its intransigence, we are left with no option except to intensify workers' struggle. The future course of action will be decided jointly by all trade unions."

Sanjay Vadhavkar, IndustriALL executive committee member and general secretary of SMEFI said: "Workers active participation in the strike showed their anger against the governments anti-worker policies. More importantly, todays strike was joined by different sections of people all over the country. The government should change its course and address trade unions demands. If not, the government has to face strong resistance from workers."

The strike was jointly organized by central trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC. Financial sector associations and a large number of independent workers organizations participated in the strike. More importantly, the general strike also witnessed broad-based alliances with farmers, agricultural workers, students and teachers.

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

Draft labour law in Ukraine restricts union activities

7 January, 2020:   Ukraine has a new draft labour law, which is in contravention of national labour law and international core labour standards, and will seriously undermine fundamental workers' rights.

IndustriALL Global Union joins Ukrainian affiliates, Ukrainian trade union federations, and the ITUC in strongly opposing the imposition of a new labour law, which was introduced in Parliament on 27 December, without any prior consultation with trade unions.

Its current provisions would seriously undermine fundamental workers' rights, allowing for unfair dismissals; short-term individual labour contracts, and zero hours' contracts; overtime becoming the norm, being paid at a fifth of current rates, and with normal working hours likely to exceed eight hours a day; abolition of some social guarantees, and reduced protection for mothers with small children, making their dismissal even easier; the possibility of transferring an employee to another workplace without their consent; banning of collective bargaining; and excluding unions from the workplace.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches says: "We are extremely concerned about the impact of this labour law on workers. "IndustriALL is calling on Ukraine's government to immediately remove the draft labour law, and act in full accordance with the commitments made at the national level with social partners, and at the international level through the strict respect and implementation of international labour conventions, which have been ratified by Ukraine."

The draft law is in contravention of national labour law and international core labour standards, including ILO Conventions 131 on Minimum Wage Fixing, Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise , and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

The European Trade Union Confederation has pledged to raise the issue with the European Commission and Parliament on the basis that the draft law contradicts the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

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

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."

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

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."

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

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".

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 163 countries

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.

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

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."

Source:  Building and Wood Workers International--BWI uniting 12 million members in 334 trade unions in 130 countries

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."

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 20 million workers in 154 countries

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.

Source:  Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, 50 for Freedom Campaign

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