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International Federation of Journalists in the News this week   |   Dissent: Belabored Podcast #124: College Dreams and College Schemes, with Tressie McMillan Cottom   |   Daily Kos: Got laid off? Republicans plan to make you pee in a cup for your unemployment benefits   |   On Labor: Those Job Crushing Regulations   |   Stronger Unions UK: Unions unite across borders against Murdoch media merger

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LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns



World Day For Decent Work

Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK
Re-Run the Vote: No World Cup Without Workers Rights...
International Trade Union Confederation
Decent Work...
three minute web movie overview of the concept of decent work in 29 languages...International Labor Organization
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
Fix My Job...Working America AFL-CIO
Warehouse Workers United...
Change to Win Coalition
T-Mobile Workers United...
Communications Workers of America
Let's Get America Working...
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

AFL-CIO

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.

The Union Edge
Workers Independent News

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union


ITUC Demands Release of Algerian Trade Unionists

Brussels, 22 March 2017 (ITUC OnLine):   The ITUC has demanded the immediate release of 9 Algerian independent trade unionists who were arrested by security forces in a 6am raid on a hotel where they were staying, on 21 March. The nine, including the President of the SNATEGS union, which is affiliated to the ITUC member organisation CGATA, were preparing to take part in a national march from the state-owned SONELGAZ energy group.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "once again, independent trade unionists in Algeria are facing state repression, this time for involvement in a peaceful march. We call on the government of Abdelaziz Bouteflika to ensure the immediate release of those who were arrested and to cease the systematic repression of independent unions."

During the raid, police vehicles blocked the roads into the city of Tizi Ouzou and stopped buses and cars bringing people to the march. Union banners and posters were also seized by the police.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories and has 333 national affiliates

Lactalis/Parmalat lift lockout as Australian workers win an important victory

21 March 2017:   Lactalis/Parmalat have lifted their 61 day lockout and withdrawn proceedings to terminate the existing enterprise bargaining agreement after the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union struck a new agreement with the company which strengthens protection against precarious work.

The company was seeking more flexible provisions to hire agency workers but direct hire employment will now apply to all workers including casual workers. The engagement of maintenance contractors will remain subject to consultation with the union in line with previous practices.

Union rights have been protected and extended in the new collective bargaining agreement. The three year agreement provides for annual wage rises at or above the rate of inflation and a 'sign on' bonus which will assist in compensating workers for the time they were locked out.

The IUF affiliated AMWU expresses its heartfelt thanks for the international solidarity and practical support received through the long days of a difficult lockout.

Source:  International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco, and Allied Workers' Associations --IUF uniting 12 million workers in 416 affiliated organizations in 126 countries

Brazilian trade unions and social movements hold day of action against pensions reform

20.03.2017:   More than one million workers from all sectors joined forces on 15 March to strike or protest at labour and pensions reforms that threaten their rights.

The street demonstrations were especially impressive in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo. Thousands of people unfurled multi-coloured banners bearing the same demand: no to pensions reform!

There were protests of one kind or another in at least 23 of Brazil's 27 regional capitals: some workers set up roadblocks, public transport and other workers took strike action and some local businesses closed.

The day of action was the culmination of a campaign organized by IndustriALL affiliates in Brazil (in turn affiliated to the various trade union centres) to inform the public about the consequences if congress approves the PEC287 constitutional amendment to reform the pensions system, which was submitted to the national congress in December 2016.

The campaign aims to put pressure on congressmen and senators to vote against the reform. The government claims that the bill's approval is indispensable to recover the trust of the markets and reactivate the economy, but the workers say this is not true and that the reform will reverse historic working class victories.

For example, the amendment proposes a minimum retirement age of 65 for both men and women and extends the period for which workers must pay contributions. Forty-nine years of contributions will be required for a full pension. At the moment, women can retire with 30 years of contributions and men with 35. The minimum retirement age is 50 for women and 53 for men. A table calculates an average that takes into account salary levels and life expectancy.

One thing is sure: the workers have no intention of giving up the fight. They say they will continue to oppose the reforms proposed by Michel Temer's government and defend the rights they have won.

IndustriALL's assistant regional Secretary, Marino Vani, had this to say about the day of action organized by Brazilian workers: "It was a major show of force by the working class. It has given renewed impetus to the workers in the battle over the country's future that began with the coup that took place in Brazil. There is no 'reform under way.' The coup leaders are planning to put an end to pensions to the advantage of the bankers. Forward comrades! We are in solidarity with you in the fight to defend all your rights, restore democracy and retain the social and cultural policies won over the last decade".

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 600 unions in 140 countries

Governments should reject Qatar's false and misleading claims at the ILO

Over 2 million workers continue to suffer under system of modern slavery

Brussels, 15 March 2017 (ITUC OnLine):   A submission by the government of Qatar to the International Labour Organisation in the lead up to next week's ILO discussion on a complaint lodged by the ITUC on Qatar's "kafala" system of modern slavery, is full of false and misleading claims, according to the ITUC. More than two million migrant workers there are still subjected to pervasive violations of their fundamental rights, forced to seek their employer's permission to leave the country or change jobs, denied the right to form unions and bargain for decent pay and conditions, subjected to dangerous working environments and made to live in squalid labour camps with up to 12 people per room sleeping on makeshift bunks.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "The most outrageous claim in Qatar's deceptive report to the ILO is that the notorious exit permit system has been repealed. This is a blatant lie - the truth is that workers still have to ask permission from their bosses to leave the country. In addition, figures provided by Qatar to the ILO on deaths and injuries to workers are highly misleading, ignoring for example the tragic deaths of 11 workers and injuries to 12 others in a company labour camp fire in June 2016. The truth is that hundreds of migrant workers die each year in Qatar due to the appalling working and living conditions. Qatar is putting in a huge public relations effort and using its financial power to try and compel governments to close off any possibility of an ILO Commission of Inquiry, but it continues to treat migrant workers as the property of their bosses and to suppress the truth behind the facade of the 2022 World Cup preparations. None of the benchmarks for reform already set by the ILO have been properly met. Governments need to stand up to Qatar's bully tactics and show that they will not accept the evil of modern slavery in one of the world's richest countries."

A briefing for ILO Governing Body members prepared by the ITUC provides a detailed rebuttal of the claims of the government of Qatar. Along with the fact that migrant workers still have to ask their employer's permission to leave the country, other key issues include:

  • Employers are still able to stop workers changing to another employer for a period of up to five years;
  • The government's report contains no information on any dissuasive sanctions against any employer for non-compliance of the existing weak regulations;
  • Confiscation of workers' passports remains commonplace. More than 230 migrant workers interviewed in an Amnesty International report published in 2016 said they were not in possession of their passport;
  • The report refers to five key areas of possible technical cooperation between the ILO and Qatar discussed during an ILO mission to Qatar in February 2017, concerning non-payment of wages, labour inspection and occupational health and safety, recruitment and contracts, protection from forced labour and "voice" for workers. The only possible reason for this is that Qatar is still not compliant in these areas; and,
  • The government is actively blocking the signing of agreements between multinational construction operators in Qatar and the global union federation for the construction sector, BWI, concerning company operations in Qatar.

"The ILO Governing Body will consider a proposal next week that would require Qatar to undertake real reforms, and to defer until November any decision on initiating a Commission of Inquiry. Qatar thus has another six months to demonstrate stop the use of modern slavery and meet its international legal obligations on workers' rights. Millions of migrant workers and their families are hoping that governments at the ILO will stand with them in ending slavery, and the international trade union movement will hold governments to account," said Burrow.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories and has 333 national affiliates

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