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coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations
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it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States
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ILO Labor Standards
The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
USA: AFL-CIO: End the Government Shutdown
Belarusian trade union case raised with the EU
18.01.2019: Through a meeting with high-level officials on 16 January 2019 in Brussels, Belgium, IndustriALL Global Union, IndustriAll European Trade Union, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) through its Pan-European European Regional Council (PERC) and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) brought concerns of deteriorating environment for democracy and fundamental rights in Belarus to the European Union authorities.
Representatives of the international trade unions were received by Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia and Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and OSCE and his team. The union delegation expressed their anger and concerns over absence of democratic standards in Belarus resulting in demolition of civil society, including independent trade unions.
Belarussian authorities systematically deny registration of structures of independent trade unions under invented pretexts in violation of national legislation as well as international standards. For years Belarus remains under special scrutiny almost at every International Labour Conference. The ILO Committee on the Application of Standards cited Belarus in special paragraph of its report a number of times. This is a procedure reserved for consistent and serious violations of labour rights, including those enshrined in core labour standards.
"We expect that the European Union will continue to put human, trade union and workers' rights first in their conversations with the Belarusian government. The situation in Belarus is highly critical and the European Union has the key in hand to change the reality for Belarusian people and workers", said Luc Triangle, General Secretary of IndustriAll European Trade Union.
The international organizations raised the "Trade union case" where in an unfair trial and in the absence of convincing evidence, two union leaders from Belarus Radio & Electronics Industry Workers' Union, Gennady Fedynich and Ihar Komlik, were convicted for large-scale tax evasion and ordered to pay a large fine. Both are subjects to a four-year suspended imprisonment, and a ban on holding senior positions for five years.
In their joint letter, ITUC, IndustriALL, ETUC and IndustriAll Europe wrote to Vice-President Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union condemned this court's verdict, and the decision to reject the appeal. The international union organizations believe the verdict is politically motivated and done in retaliation to the union for its active stance within the society. The verdict is an attempt to seed fear among activists and block them from resisting the inhuman Decree "On promotion of employment of population" also known as the Decree on social parasites.
Fedynich and Komlik became prisoners in their flats, their moving around is undermined, and certain hours of the day, on weekends and public holidays they cannot go out.
"They are clearly political prisoners of conscience," said Kemal Özkan, "We once again urged the EU to raise the issue of political prisoners in Belarus with the authorities of the country and support our demand to review the verdict, and provide a full and unconditional acquittal for Fedynich and Komlik." The international unions expect that respect to democracy, human and trade union rights must be part of the priorities of the intended Partnership between the EU and Belarus, and jurisprudence of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights must be among the references.
In the meantime, as of 1 January 2019, the notorious Decree 1 entered into force. It contains elements of forced labour and creates supplementary ways to manipulate workers' rights in addition to fixed-term contracts system. In order to implement the new decree a special data base was set up, however a lot of concerns are risen due to its non-transparency.
Violent repression of worker protests reminds Zimbabwe of darkest Mugabe days
Brussels, 15 January 2019 (ITUC OnLine): Police have opened fire on working people protesting escalating living costs in Zimbabwe. The fierce crackdown occurred in response to a three-day peaceful work stoppage. The action was called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) following a unilaterally imposed hike in fuel prices by the government.
ZCTU reports an escalation of violence as well as the use of live ammunition, killing at least two protesters. The ITUC has received widespread reports of protesters who have sustained gunshot wounds while taking part in the ongoing nationwide protests. The government violence is the latest in a series of attacks on workers' rights.
"The repression of the government of Zimbabwe of its own people is outrageous. The hope that accompanied the fall of the Mugabe regime has turned to despair, anger and anxiety as working families pick up the bill for President Mnangagwa's failing economic policies. Salaries cannot keep up with inflation and are driving working families into poverty. The government must put an immediate end to the repressive violence against protestors and sit down with unions to find a peaceful solution," said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.
In a letter to the government dating 11 January 2019, ZCTU expressed grave concern at the escalating prices of goods and services. The letter outlined specific measures to remedy the situation and warned of the prospect of a general strike in the case of inaction. The following day, the government announced a 150% increase in fuel prices. "We were shocked that the government is adding another burden on the poor and ordinary men and women of this country," explained Peter Mutasa, ZCTU President. "With the price increases of fuel and basic commodities, we are now working just for transport," he explained. Recent government measures are increasing food insecurity and have rendered transport costs prohibitive.
The trade unions' call to action, which began on Monday, is supported by a broad alliance of civil society organisations, reflecting the generalised discontent with government policies that are driving workers and their families into poverty.
The ITUC calls for an immediate end to violence and stands in full solidarity with workers in Zimbabwe and their demands to:
Source: International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates
Moroccan unions launch "Month of Anger"
10.01.2019: Unions will hold a series of protest and strike actions across the country until the government meets its social dialogue commitments.
The Moroccan union federations Confédération Démocratique du Travail (CDT) and the Union Marocaine du Travail (UMT) have suspended all social dialogue and launched campaigns to force the government to respect trade union rights. Both federations have a number of unions which are affiliated to IndustriALL. The UMT will hold a series of protests, including marches, strikes and demonstrations, from 10-20 January, while the CDT plans a protest and motor vehicle convoy to the city of Tangier on 11 January.
The key demand is for the government to institutionalize tripartite social dialogue, respect trade union rights and comply with ILO Conventions, as agreed with the unions on 26 April 2011. Despite the agreement, trade union rights are frequently violated in Morocco. Unions are also angered by numerous social problems that the government has failed to address, including high living costs, the deterioration of the social services, the lack of opportunities for young people, the violation of the pensioners' rights, and a huge increase in the unemployment rate.
Unions are restricted in their attempts to defend workers by widespread violations of workers' and union rights by employers, which are disregarded by the authorities. In a number of cases, leaders of unions affiliated to IndustriALL have been dismissed for union activity. For instance, multinational auto components companies APTIV (formerly Delphi), YAZAKI and SEBN-MA dismissed dozens of members and leaders of a CDT and UMT-affiliated unions in recent months.
CDT vice general secretary Khaled Alami Haouair said: "We face a social crisis characterized by the deterioration of purchasing power, the violation of trade union freedoms and social gains. The CDT will continue its struggle until the government agrees to tripartite social dialogue that meets ILO standards."
Speaking for the UMT, Abdelmajid Matoual said: "The secretary general of our federation has commented on the economic and social situation marked by the rise in the cost of living, the degradation of socio-economic services and the government's offer which is below the expectations of the working class.
"On December 27 the UMT national council supported the secretary general's decision to postpone negotiations until the government makes proposals that meet workers' expectations, and declares 10-20 January as days of protests and militancy in all forms, including strikes and demonstrations, against violations of trade union freedoms."
IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches sent letters of solidarity to both federations.
The key union demands are:
Source: IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries
India: mass worker protests against government ahead of elections
Brussels, 7 January 2019 (ITUC OnLine): Trade unions are holding a two day nationwide general strike 8 - 9 January in opposition to further attacks on working conditions in India. The government is under pressure ahead of elections as ITUC affiliates CFTUI, HMS, INTUC and SEWA with other unions in India mobilise millions of workers to take to the streets to voice their discontent.
Workers from all sectors - farmers, teachers, ports, banks, electricity and transport as well as informal workers such as street vendors and taxi drivers are taking part in the strike. An ITUC delegation including ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow and ITUC Asia Pacific President Felix Anthony are joining a protest action with workers in Gurugram on 8th January.
"Working people have had enough. Enough of being sidelined, enough of low wages and enough of unfulfilled promises of job creation which put at risk India's economic development. The global trade union movement stands side-by-side with our sisters and brothers in India," said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.
The Modi government has come under heavy criticism from a diverse swathe of national figures ahead of the national elections, which are set to be held in April to May 2019. Trade unions denounce moves to introduce new obstacles to collective bargaining, towards the privatisation of social security, and to make it easier for employers to impose mass retrenchment of workers.
"India's proud democracy has always sought to bring together its rich diversity of voices and interests and to govern in the interests of the people. This strong tradition is currently being challenged by the actions of a government that has overseen a sustained erosion of labour standards since 2014. Working people cannot continue to be ignored when making decisions that affect them first and foremost. Social dialogue is at risk and collective bargaining is being destroyed in India, and without a national minimum wage on which people can live, jobs and social protection for formal and informal workers, people face greater insecurity.
"Over 90% of working people still operate in India's mammoth informal sector. Many of these workers are joining unions to have their rights recognised and their conditions improved. The government must be a partner in this effort, yet its measures have created new barriers to formalisation and eroded the rights of formal sector workers. Minimum living wages and social protection for all will support working families' security and build a sustainable economy. The government has left a trail of broken promises in this regard and people have lost hope," said Ms. Burrow.
"India is a test case for democracy in the Asia - Pacific region. Attacks on workers' rights and labour laws put at risk democratic rights and freedoms across the whole region," said Felix Anthony, President ITUC Asia Pacific and General Secretary FTUC (Fiji).
Trade unions are planning further mobilisations over the coming months.