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International Labour Organization welcomes US-Brazil global initiative on decent work   |   In These Times: Workers in the South Aren't Letting Anti-Labor Laws Stop Them From Organizing   |   Jobs with Justice: Stand with UAW   |   Common Dreams: UAW Strike Puts Massive CEO-Worker Pay Gap in the Spotlight   |   Labor Notes: Auto Workers Strike Plants at All Three of the Big 3   |   Jim Hightower: Labor Day Is Over, but Labor's Day Is Just Starting   |   The Nation: The Hugely Important Strike You're Not Hearing Enough About   |   The Stand: This Labor Day, unions leading on climate   |   American Federation of Government Employees: Wins Reinstatement of Unjustly Fired VA Employee, 2.5 Years of Back Pay   |   Truthout: Union-Busting Bosses Handed Major Loss in New Labor Board Decision   |   Teamsters Ratify Historic UPS Contract   |   Capital & Main: Striking Workers Face Another Opponent: U.S. Labor Laws   |   International Association of Machinists' Winpisinger Center Fosters International Solidarity   |   Pennsylvania Capital-Star: VP Kamala Harris unveils new wage rule for federal projects   |   Equal Times: Indigenous trade unionists from around the world call for more inclusion and solidarity   |   Common Dreams: Customers, Allies Lead 'Starbucks Solidarity' Day to Support Workers   |   The Stand: Unions launch Climate Jobs Washington   |   Truthout: Fetterman Files Bill to Repeal Law Barring Striking Workers From Food Stamps   |   IBT: "We've Changed the Game": Teamsters Win Historic UPS Contract   |    BlueGreen Alliance   |   In These Times: The UPS Strike Looms as Corporate America Cashes In   |   Coalition of Immokalee Workers: Co-founder Lucas Benitez to be awarded prestigious Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan   |   The Guardian: Fran Drescher's fiery speech against Hollywood studios goes viral as actors strike

10th Edition: 2023 International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index

USA: Petition: Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act

Updated News and Articles Relating to the Attempted Coup and to the Insurrection Against the United States of America on January 06, 2021 - *IMPORTANT* Latest Update September 17, 2023

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

AFL-CIO Now Blog

LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns

USA: AFL-CIO Petition...
Pass the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act

People Over Profit...
Public Services International

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

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

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

Union Yes

ITUC Global Rights Index

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 2023 Global Rights Index rates the world's worst countries for workers -- 149 countries on a scale from 1 to 5+ relevant to respect of workers' rights.

ILO Labor Standards

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

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

Transport unions unite globally to call for safer roads

21 Sep 2023 PRESS RELEASE:   More than 50 trade unions representing over 1 million road transport workers have joined together to call for a new 'Safe Rates' system to improve workers' rights and make roads safer.

The campaign spearheaded by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), launched today in Seoul, Korea, puts an unprecedented call on governments, road transport employers and other industry stakeholders to support a system of regulatory and legal changes which unions say will not only dramatically improve conditions for road transport drivers, but also make roads safer for all road users.

A body of research by industry experts highlights the harsh reality for road safety when road transport drivers' low pay and poor working conditions force them into dangerous on-road behaviours like driving for long hours, overloading and speeding. Evidence shows that paying decent wages, or 'Safe Rates', directly correlates with safer roads, with pay increases of as little as 10% reducing accident rates by 30%.

"Road transport business models and the chains of exploitation in subcontracting chains, is not only unsustainable, but they're also deadly," said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF. "In countries all around the world, low pay and long hours for road transport drivers aren't just making life a misery for the workers who keep are our economies moving - they are also causing death and carnage on our roads.

"Today we're drawing a line in the sand and saying that enough is enough. We know that when drivers are paid properly and have decent conditions, they are able to work without being forced to risk their own lives and the lives of others on the roads."

"Responsible employers know that fair and safe rates and standards across this transport industry are not only good for workers, they make our whole industry safer, more sustainable and more productive. We stand ready to work with governments, road transport employers and major transport customers who want to be at the forefront of setting Safe Rates throughout their supply chains, and stand ready to expose those who continue to put their citizens and employees at risk."

Unions today also acknowledged past successes in South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and other countries, where Safe Rates systems have translated into better conditions for drivers and improved road safety and industry viability. They also applauded the recent tabling of legislation in Australia to delivery Safe Rates on a national and industry-wide scale.

Under the united 'Safe Rates' campaign banner, road transport workers and their unions across the world will this week participate in a series of coordinated actions. Over 50 unions have signed onto a statement of global demands, which will be delivered to governments and industry stakeholders in their respective countries, and in South Korea, where the conservative Yoon Suk Yeol Government recently dismantled the country's successful Safe Rates system. Unions from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda will join a mass rally on September 23 condemning the government's regressive actions.

Union leaders participating in the rally and present at the launch commented:

Frank Moreels, President of the Belgian Transport Workers' Union (BTB) and President of the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF): "I'm pleased to be participating in actions in Korea, and that my union is leading the fight for road safety, fair standards for drivers and supply chain accountability in Europe. These actions are essential to stop the race to the bottom both in European road transport and globally."

Michael Kaine, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union of Australia (TWU): "On the 4th of September, the Australian Government, recognising these deadly supply chain pressures in our industry, introduced legislation to Parliament which will deliver Safe Rates. With the support of workers who are joining this campaign globally, we are fighting hard to ensure this legislation will pass in upcoming months, setting an example for other countries to follow."

Lana Payne, President of Unifor, Canada: "We are proud that the minimum rates and licensing system in Vancouver Port, won by Unifor members, is providing a positive example for how to achieve decent work and a viable road transport industry, which has helped to inspire the Global Safe Rates campaign. The campaign is an opportunity for us to achieve good pay and safe conditions for road transport workers nationally, and to stand in solidarity with workers around the world fighting for the same thing."

Bongju Lee, President of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol): "For the last three years, Safe Rates provided a decent living standard and dignity for Korean truck drivers and their families, and helped to make our roads safer. Since the government unilaterally ended the system at the end of last year, drivers' net income has dropped by over 35%, while working time has increased by 45 hours a month. This situation is deadly. The launch of the Global Safe Rates campaign provides an opportunity for us to renew our fight against union repression and for the re-introduction of the Safe Rates system in Korea."

Paulo João Estausia, President of the National Confederation of Transport and Logistics Workers, Brazil (CNTTL): "In Brazil, it has become clear what is at stake if we allow pay and conditions to be set in a market that is distorted by high levels of subcontracting, informality and the concentration of power in the hands of large-scale shippers - a race to the bottom which puts workers and the travelling public at risk. Data from the World Health Organization data published in 2020 Road Traffic Accidents Deaths in Brazil reached 33,871. The need for regulation that will help ensure safer conditions is clear. The Brazil Minimum Freight Floors legislation - our version of Safe Rates - is a good first step in the right direction. The ITF is supporting full implementation of this system as part of the Global Safe Rates campaign."

Dan Mihadi, General Secretary of the Transport Workers' Union, Kenya (TAWU) said: "In Kenya, and in all countries in the global south, road transport workers work in deplorable conditions. Formal employment relationships have been eroded leaving workers with no protection against exploitation. Workers are compelled to work for long hours resulting in fatigue and dangerous driving in order to recover the cost of operation, as well as earn a living. Deep rooted corruption and extortion on our roads further eats into the already low pay, leaving workers destitute. That is why TAWU is honoured to participate in the Global Safe Rates launch. We are eager to learn from the experiences of other countries and consolidate this knowledge to ensure we develop Safe Rates legislation that will permanently set minimum rates of pay and conditions for road transport workers, promote dialogue, compliance and accountability, guarantee safety on our roads, and ensure sustainability."

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members in 700 affiliated trade unions from 150 countries

Organizing workers in Bangladesh remains a challenge

19 September, 2023:   The progress reported by the government of Bangladesh on the implementation of the ILO roadmap, particularly regarding addressing acts of anti-union discrimination and violence against workers, is far from the reality experienced by trade unionists who daily encounter different challenges while organizing workers in garment factories in the country..

The situation is grim when it comes to organizing or collective bargaining in a sector whose export profits generate 85 per cent of Bangladesh's GDP. Employers benefit when workers' rights are consistently violated and trade union voices are silenced because if they are not, workers will start to demand better wages and working conditions, which would cost money that employers are unwilling to spend. Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi government is failing to ensure that employers respect workers' rights and the ILO roadmap is properly implemented.

A complex web of state machinery and private actors make organizing garment workers in Bangladesh difficult. Despite promises to uphold the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the government is failing to do so. Trade unionists have been killed for organizing and speaking out against employers to protect workers' rights.

Recently, an organizer from Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF) was beaten to death in Gazipur by factory-hired goons for raising his voice against non-payment of workers' wages. Another organizer, from National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), was murdered, allegedly for trying to organize workers in Ashulia.

While the killings of trade unionists receive attention, the daily harassment faced by organizers for doing union work often goes unnoticed. According to IndustriALL affiliates in Bangladesh, employers, goons, local politicians and police work together to harass and pressure unionists trying to organize workers. Local goons acting on behalf of employers routinely threaten and physically assault factory-based union leaders. There are several instances of factory management forcing union leaders to resign from work in exchange for meagre payoffs. Should this tactic fail, then union leaders are simply terminated.

Owners of the houses that workers rent also cause problems, by for example not allowing the workers to hold study circles. In addition, local police disrupt public meetings organized by union leaders. Factory owners are also complicit in anti-union activities, constantly warning workers that they risk losing their jobs if they attempt to form or join unions. To stoke anti-union sentiment in workers, employers also try to link union leaders to actions that appear to be detrimental to workers' interests.

There have been instances of false charges pressed against local union leaders by employers and police. An organizer from IndustriALL affiliate BGIWF, says: "We organized workers in one of the factories in Ashulia and submitted the application for union registration. The moment management heard about it they terminated the union leaders after failing to convince them to resign in exchange for meagre payoff. Workers in the factory went on strike when seeing this. Thereafter, factory general manager not only physically assaulted the unionists but also threatened to file a criminal case against them. Striking workers were harassed by hired goons. There is a criminal case pending against those union leaders."

It is difficult to get a job at another factory for unionists who are sacked for organizing, as they are blacklisted in database of workers that Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) maintains. Terminating workers for organizing is used as a scare tactic to discourage workers for organizing.

Trade union federations can submit complaints of unfair labour practices or anti-union discrimination to the labour court or with the Department of Labour (DoL). However, it takes a long time for the complaints to be processed. Government officials are often reluctant to even lodge the complaint, occasionally alleging that the union leaders are trying to destroy the country's economy.

Says an organizer from IndustriALL affiliate Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation: "We had organized about 500 workers in a factory of 1,100 workers in Gazipur. As soon as we submitted the application for union registration, management fired the union president. The union president was also threatened by local goons on behest of the management to voluntarily resign. But he did not succumb to the pressure and was fired. We filed a case in the labour court and sent a letter to the DOL but there has been no response."

Organizers frequently get summoned by the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and industrial police, sometimes at odd hours in the night. They are interrogated and dissuaded to do union work and frequently threatened with death. Instances of physical assault of unionists during police custody in Bangladesh are not unheard of.

An organizer from IndustriALL affiliate NGWF shared an incident of violation of trade union and workers' rights in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), an area where forming unions is illegal: "When I was working in one of the factories in the EPZ, I tried to organize workers. Protesting or striking is not allowed and there are no unions. They have workers welfare committees for which I contested once. But the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) did not want me on the committee and instead got their person in the committee. Then the pressure tactics to force me to resign from work started. Even the smallest mistake would result in shouting; my leaves would not be granted; and going to the washroom more than once would be questioned. The factory eventually shut down its operations, but we protested and won all the legal benefits awarded following factory closure. This entire time local goons threatened to kill me. I was even interrogated by National Security Intelligence for trying to organize in the EPZ."

Not only organizing efforts are disrupted by the employers, the collective bargaining process is also very challenging. Affiliates have experienced situations where management did not negotiate in good faith and responded negatively to the union's charter of demands.

Apoorva Kaiwar, south Asia regional secretary of IndustriALL says: "We believe it is not only the government's responsibility to ensure that workers' right to freedom of association is upheld, but it is also the responsibility of employers and brands that source from Bangladesh to make sure that workers' rights are respected and that trade union leaders are not targeted for organizing."

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

Global Unions condemn the escalating violations of human and labour rights and civil liberties in Iran

Statement by the Council of Global Unions (CGU), 12 September 2023

The Council of Global Unions (CGU), representing over 200 million workers through the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Union Federations (GUFs), and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC), condemns the escalating violations of trade union leaders' and activists' human and labour rights and civil liberties by various Iranian authorities.

The CGU expresses deep concern about the intensification of repressive measures targeting teachers, journalists, trade union activists, student activists, and women's rights defenders, especially in light of the approaching anniversary of the extrajudicial death of Jina Mahsa Amini on 16 September. We denounce this repression and urgently call for its cessation, thereby enabling trade unionists to defend and uphold workers' rights in Iran, a cornerstone of any democratic society.

We are also concerned about the increasing influence of the Gasht-e-Irshad ("morality police") and their enforcement of the mandatory habid law to harass women and prevent their access to education.

Notably, affiliates of Education International (EI), the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), namely the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teacher Trade Associations, the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburban Bus Company (Vahed Union) and the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), face relentless harassment, arrests, prolonged detentions, and torture in prison. Affiliated organisations, individual leaders and workers in the sectors of different global unions report similar violations, which include:

  • Targeting and dismissal of teachers and trade union rights activists: the unjust targeting and dismissal of teachers and labor rights activists in Iran gravely imperil their livelihoods; conducting physical and psychological torture during detention, including publicly broadcasting forced "confessions"; imprisonment under arbitrary and indeterminate sentences, in horrendous conditions, and without access to medical care.
  • Attacking workers' rallies and peaceful demonstrations, intimidating labour activists, journalists and protesting workers, doing arbitrary and summary dismissals, arresting trade union activists and prosecuting under charges such as "disrupting public order", "propaganda against the state", and "acting against national security" which can carry severe sentences, including capital punishment;
  • Preventing the free circulation of news about union activities; sabotaging bona fide trade unions by setting up parallel regime-backed bodies and attacking on attempts by unions to hold public events, including those related to May Day;
  • Violations of prisoners' rights: all detainees, including trade union activists, should be treated with the respect and dignity stipulated by international law. Illegally detained teachers, students, trade union activists, and human rights defenders must be released. Torture should be banned from all detention centres.
  • Pressures on the families of union leaders: the escalating pressure on activists' families is a deeply distressing development. Families deserve to live in peace, free from the fear of reprisals.
  • The right to organise and hold union meetings: Iranian trade unionists must be granted the fundamental right to organise and conduct general assemblies without the threat of persecution.
  • Government's hostility to labour demands: The indifference to the legitimate demands of workers and retirees' demands is unfair. We stand in solidarity with all workers and retirees, who deserve equitable treatment and a dignified livelihood.

We call on the Iranian authorities to respect international labour standards, in particular freedom of association, and ensure that principles of human rights, justice, dignity and fairness prevail. The CGU expresses its particular solidarity to women's rights defenders in their struggle for a democratic and secular society.

We stand united in our commitment to defending the rights of workers, women, educators, journalists, rights' defenders and activists in Iran and around the world.

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

World Day for Decent Work: It's Time for a Pay Rise

This 7 October, the World Day for Decent Work, the ITUC says "It's Time for a Pay Rise" to relieve the enormous pressure on working people and their households due to inflation driven by corporate profiteering.

08-09-2023:   The share of global wealth that goes to wages has fallen by 13 per cent over the past 40 years, even as the world economy has quadrupled in size. This is largely a result of falling trade union density caused by the long-term erosion of workers' rights detailed in the ITUC Global Rights Index. Workers are increasingly forced to take strike action as employers take profits for themselves and shareholders while refusing even modest pay demands.

Instead of supporting working people and their dependents, many governments side with bosses and keep the real value of wages at such low levels that families are struggling to survive. The right to strike was violated in nine out of 10 countries last year.

The New Social Contract

ITUC Acting General Secretary Luc Triangle said: "Wages are central to the New Social Contract and are the basis for sustainable and equitable economies. Many employers are refusing to share prosperity with the workers who produce the goods and provide the services that generate wealth, and with corporate tax avoidance and evasion at record highs, the public sector is also starved of the resources it needs to ensure decent levels of pay.

"When employers suppress wages, governments need to intervene by guaranteeing union organising and collective bargaining rights, along with living, statutory or negotiated minimum wages. Some 20 per cent of the world's formal economy workers depend on the minimum wage.

"Central banks also need to move beyond the outdated and refuted approach of holding wages down to beat inflation. It's been proved that corporate greed and profiteering have pushed up prices. Last year, 722 corporations pocketed US$1 trillion in windfall profits while the real pay of one billion workers fell by US$746 billion."

Union members earn more than workers who are not members by between 10 and 25 per cent, and while in unionised workplaces this wage premium can be lower, it is because all the workers, including the non-union members, benefit from pay rates negotiated by unions. The gender pay gap, currently at around 20 per cent globally, is substantially lower where women workers are unionised, and in many cases is virtually eliminated through collective bargaining.

Unions around the world are also fighting against wage inequality, sub-minimum wages, and exploitative pay rates for migrants, younger workers, and other groups subject to discrimination. A recent ITUC report provides direct evidence of how significant minimum wage increases have been won by union action.

"The best, and often the only way for workers to get decent wages is through joining their union," added Luc Triangle.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates

A cry for justice: Solidarity with teachers in South Korea

Updated 4 September 2023:   Education International extends its unwavering support to the teachers in South Korea who in increasing numbers have been demonstrating every Saturday united under the common cause of public education. Education International stands in solidarity and denounces any and all attempts by the government to deny their rights.

A Cry for Justice

This September 4th marks 49 days since a young teacher tragically took her life due to bullying and violence against her. In Korean culture, this day is chosen to honor her memory and to demand change. Her tragic story shines a light on the daily struggles faced by teachers in South Korea, as highlighted in reports from Seoul over the past three years.

"The teachers of South Korea are not just mourning a tragic loss; they're demanding real change. Our teachers educate, but also change lives. This is a call for the rights and recognition they rightfully deserve. These teachers shape students; they shape the future. They embody the value of unity, the power of collective action, and the resilient spirit of educators. They remind us why it's vital to protect the sacred spaces of teaching and learning," stated David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International.

A Call to Action

Despite threats of dismissal from the Ministry of Education, teachers have declared September 4th as 'The Day Public Education Stops,' directly confronting government restrictions. By choosing this day, teachers are highlighting the urgent need for change and challenging the government to acknowledge and address the systemic issues undermining quality education in the country. It is a courageous stand that underscores their commitment to fostering a brighter and more equitable future.

Restricted Freedom

For Korean teachers, the right to unionize and political freedom are still distant dreams. The government's strong control over unions and political expression silences their voices, leaving them vulnerable to external pressures. This lack of agency undermines their ability to advocate for better working conditions, fair pay, and a more equitable education system. It also hampers their capacity to resist the growing privatization and commercialization in the education sector. Ultimately, these barriers hurt not only the teachers, but also the quality of education for the students.

"It's time for the world to stand in solidarity with South Korean teachers, who rise against legal constraints, and the denial of their basic rights, in their fight for justice and equity in education," Edwards added. Education International believes that the struggle of Korean teachers mirrors the battles fought by teachers globally. Only through global unity and collective action can we break down these barriers and create a more just and equitable education system for all.

Education International urges its affiliates to stand with South Korean teachers, to work together, to transform the world through global solidarity.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 383 member organisations representing more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories

US West-Coast dockers vote in favour of six-year contract after long-running negotiations

04 Sep 2023:   Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) - 22,000 longshore workers from 29 ports along the US West Coast - have voted to ratify a six-year contract negotiated by the union, bringing to an end a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Seventy-five percent of ILWU members voted in favour of the deal, which is reported to include a 32 percent pay rise and an appreciation payment recognising workers for keeping supply chains moving around the clock throughout the Covid-19 pandemic despite enormous personal risk. Pay rises will be applied retroactively from 1 July 2022 and the contract runs until July 2028.

"This was a hard-fought battle," said Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and chair of ITF's Dockers' Section. "Our heartfelt congratulations go to the rank-and-file, International President Willie Adams and the rest of the negotiating team on the approval of the new contract agreement."

"This victory will deliver wide ranging improvements and protections for US longshore workers, and alongside the Teamsters historic UPS deal, it sets the tone for contract negotiations across transport supply chains globally."

The new agreement protects good-paying jobs in 29 West Coast port communities, maintains health benefits, and improves wages, pensions and safety protections.

"The negotiations for this contract were protracted and challenging," said Willie Adams, ILWU International President. "I am grateful to our rank and file for their strength, to our negotiating committee for their vision and tenacity, and to those that supported us, giving the ILWU and PMA the space we needed to get to this result."

Displays of solidarity by the ITF and global unions, particularly the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) which represents over 70,000 longshore workers on the US East Coast, Great Lakes, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada.

"From east to west in the US, and globally, dockers unions united behind the ILWU in their negotiations," said Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary. "ILWU longshore workers have won a contract the recognises their work as the economic drivers of the soaring profits being seen across maritime supply chains in the US and around the world. We congratulate the ILWU rank-and-file and leadership for their decisive victory."

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members in 700 affiliated trade unions from 150 countries

Sri Lanka: Global unions oppose law that seeks to curtail labour rights

31 August 2023:   Different Global Union Federations (GUF), including the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), and trade union solidarity support organisations join the Sri Lankan trade union movement in condemning the proposed "Single Employment Bill," which contains provisions that clearly violate international law, including proposals to cut wages and undermine the country's workers' trade union rights. The proposed plan, dubbed a "slave labour bill" by Sri Lankan trade unions, seeks to repeal 13 existing labour rules that have resulted from years of social dialogue.

Subash Karunarathna, General Secretary of the BWI-affiliated National Building and Woodworkers Union (NBWU), said that the bill aims to undo the efforts and long struggles of Sri Lankan trade unionists that led to the creation of the country's existing labour laws. "The workers are forced not only to bear the brunt of the country's economic crisis and huge debt, but also to accept diminished labour rights if the said measure is passed. This will surely undo the trade unions' efforts and struggles that shaped the very labour laws that workers enjoy today. The trade unions of Sri Lanka are opposing these changes. We express our gratitude to the international trade union movement for their solidarity and support to our struggle," he said.

According to the NBWU, the proposed bill has a variety of anti-labour and anti-union features, including longer working hours without overtime compensation, tougher limits on the right to organise a union and strike, and easier schemes for employers to terminate workers. The National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), a tripartite organisaation that recently unilaterally dismissed four (4) trade unions in an attempt to muzzle dissenting voices, must approve the proposed measure.

Source:  Building and Woodworkers International--BWI uniting 12 million workers in 350 trade unions in 140 countries

USA: Jobs with Justice Recognized With Breaking Through Award at UNI Global Union Congress in Philadelphia

28.08.23:   Jobs with Justice (JwJ), a prominent workers' rights advocacy organization, received the Breaking Through Award at UNI Global Union's Congress held in Philadelphia. The award recognizes JwJ's exceptional contributions to empowering workers and promoting.

Erica Smiley, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice, expressed her gratitude for the recognition, stating: "Receiving this award From UNI Global Union is truly an honour and testament to the visionary labor, community, faith and student leaders who sought to build a network of nimble organizations and unions that would collaborate as equals around a shared vision for expanding organizing a collective bargaining power for everyone and a commitment to creative approaches that would match the experiences and conditions of the modern worker."

The award was presented during the "Rising Together" Congress, which brought together union leaders, activists, and advocates from around the globe to discuss strategies for advancing workers' rights and collective bargaining in the evolving landscape of work.

Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, congratulated JwJ for their impactful work, saying, "Jobs with Justice has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to uplifting workers' voices and ensuring fair treatment. Their efforts align perfectly with the spirit of unity that UNI Global Union stands for."

Jobs with Justice has been at the forefront of advocating for equitable wages, safe working conditions, and fair labour practices. With grassroots organizing, coalition building, and strategic campaigns, the organization has successfully contributed to policy changes that benefit workers at local, national, and international levels. JWj brings together labour, community, student, and faith voices at the national and local levels to win improvements in people's lives and shape the public discourse on workers' rights.

The Breaking Through Award not only celebrates JwJ's accomplishments but also serves as a call to action for workers' rights advocates to continue collaborating and innovating for a better future. The recognition highlights the importance of solidarity and collective action in addressing the challenges faced by workers in today's rapidly changing world of work.

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

USA: National Labor Relations Board Issues Final Rule to Restore Fair and Efficient Procedures for Union Elections

August 24, 2023:   The National Labor Relations Board today adopted a Final Rule amending its procedures governing representation elections. This Rule largely reverses the amendments made by the Board's 2019 Election Rule, which introduced new delays in the election process. The new rule returns the Board's key election procedures to those put in place by a 2014 rule that was adopted using a notice-and-comment process and that was uniformly upheld by federal courts. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down parts of the 2019 Rule, and the Board has already rescinded those provisions.

"It is a basic principle of the National Labor Relations Act that representation cases should be resolved quickly and fairly," said Chairman Lauren McFerran. "By removing unnecessary delays from the election process, the new rule supports these important goals, and allows workers to more effectively exercise their fundamental rights."

The new rule will meaningfully reduce the time it takes to get from petition to election in contested elections and will expedite the resolution of any post-election litigation. Highlights of the new rule's changes include:

  • Allowing pre-election hearings to begin more quickly;
  • Ensuring that important election information is disseminated to employees more quickly;
  • Making pre- and post-election hearings more efficient; and
  • Ensuring that elections are held more quickly.

As with prior changes to the Board's election processes, the new rule will become effective four months from the date of publication to ensure adequate time for the NLRB's Regional offices to implement the new procedures. A companion rule also ensures that two provisions of the 2019 Rule that had been previously enjoined by a federal district court, but were scheduled to become effective on September 10, 2023, will not take effect. The new rule rescinds those provisions.

The final rule was approved by Board Chairman Lauren McFerran and Members Gwynne A. Wilcox and David M. Prouty. Board Member Marvin E. Kaplan dissented. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 25, 2023 and will take effect on December 26, 2023.

View a fact sheet about the new rule.

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

USA: Workers Are About To Get Way More Power. Here's How.

South Asia: Community Health Workers Unite for Recognition, Rights, and Respect

AUG 23, 2023:   Community Health Workers (CHWs) across South Asia have joined forces to demand recognition, rights, and respect for their vital contributions to public health. Hailing from diverse backgrounds, they are known as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), Lady Health Workers (LHWs), and Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs). CHWs are predominantly women. These dedicated women are the first point of contact between communities and the primary health care system.

On August 22, 2023, CHWs of three South Asian countries - Nepal, India and Pakistan - launched a Charter of Demands urging the governments and international agencies to respect, protect and promote their rights as workers. The Charter is being supported by the Global Union Federation, Public Services International. Currently, the CHWs are not considered employees and lack even basic benefits that public sector employees are entitled to such as maternity leave, sick leave, overtime payment, pension etc. In most cases, they are even denied a wage and receive honorariums and incentives, much lower than the minimum wage.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also recognises the lack of access to decent work experienced by CHWs and has committed to building a knowledge base for the same. In its March 2022 report "Securing decent work for nursing personnel and domestic workers, key actors in the care economy", the expert Committee of the ILO noted:

The Committee considers that it may be useful for the Office to undertake studies regarding the situation of (Community Health Workers)...that, while [they are undoubtedly covered by the fundamental rights and principles at work], may not always be afforded the protections afford them access to decent work.

"As the unsung heroes on the frontline, CHWs play an essential role in health education, monitoring, and vaccination programs. Working in the community, they are the primary messengers of government policies and campaigns among common people. They have been the backbone for improvements in maternal and infant mortality rates across nations. They provide nutrition to young mothers and children. They identify cases of diseases like tuberculosis, diabetes and hypertension in the community. And they do all of this while walking for hours every day and support the people who need it. Their untiring efforts during Covid-19 reinforced the importance of the work they do. Yet, they often toil in the shadows, facing inadequate protective measures, insufficient support, and meager wages. We hope that the governments consider the Charter of Demands launched today and improve working conditions of the CHWs," said Kate Lappin, Regional Secretary for Asia Pacific, Public Services International.

An important demand of the CHWs is official recognition as public health workers and the entitlement to fair wages and benefits. "Our work is essential to the health and well-being of our communities, yet we have been working without proper recognition or even a minimum wage. Our Charter demands that we should be paid equal to or above prevailing minimum wages, negotiated in collaboration with our unions. It also demands overtime compensation, job security, pensions and healthcare for us - just like other workers receive," said Gita Thing, President, Nepal Volunteers Association.

The Covid-19 pandemic underscored the need for robust safety measures for CHWs. The Charter demands adequate protective equipment, proper training, and stringent safety protocols.

CHWs are insisting on being included in decision-making processes that impact their work. "We are the experts on the ground, and our voices must be heard in shaping health policies. The Charter calls for CHW representation on national policy-making committees and recognizes CHW unions as vital partners in social dialogue. This democratic engagement would ensure that policies align with the real-world needs of CHWs and the communities they serve. We are not just workers; we are essential to the health of our nations," emphasised Archana Mishra, an ASHA worker from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. She is a prominent leader with Hind Mahila Sabha, a union of women in the unorganised sector.

"We are advocating for comprehensive healthcare coverage, regular disease testing, and mental health support. The Charter insists on decent working conditions, manageable work hours, and legal protections such as paid sick leave and mandated maternity leave. In addition, harassment and discrimination against CHWs must cease. The charter urges governments to create safe work environments, establish complaints committees, and launch public education campaigns to counter stigma. Our well-being matters, and we deserve the right to care," said Iram Fatima, Chairperson, Punjab Ladies Health Workers Union, Pakistan.

Governments must prioritize health over wealth, the Charter asserts. It calls for increased public health budgets, universal public health systems, transparent hiring processes, and fair taxation. By addressing these fundamental needs, governments can ensure the well-being of CHWs and strengthen the foundation of public health systems. It's time to acknowledge and support these unsung heroes who tirelessly serve our communities.

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

Malaysian union calls on government to respect ILO decision and reinstate workers

21 August, 2023:   Malaysia's National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW) is urging Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to provide remedy for the five unionists unfairly dismissed by Hicom Automotive Manufacturers.

The IndustriALL Global Union affiliate held a protest outside the Prime Minister's office in Putrajaya and submitted a memorandum urging the anti-union discrimination at HICOM Automotive to stop and the five unionists reinstated to their original positions with back pay.

NUTEAIW general secretary and IndustriALL ExCo member Gopal Kishnam Nadesan said: "I urge the new Prime Minister to take bold action against the company as the ILO committee on Freedom of Association ruled that HICOM Automotive violated freedom of association. "Malaysia has an international obligation to comply with the provision on prohibition of anti-union discrimination in the ILO Convention 98 on Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining. The government ratified the international convention in 1961."

Haikhidil Bin Jamaludin, one of the dismissed unionists, said: "We, the workers, have the right to attend union activities after working hours. The company shouldn't punish us for joining legitimate union activities protected by the law. We have been out of a job for seven years, it is an unjust act of the company. We urge the Prime Minister to intervene and protect our rights."

The five unionists were dismissed in 2016 after joining a union briefing on the status of collective bargaining outside the HICOM Automotive premise after working hours. The company accused the unionists of tarnishing the image of the company. In 2021, IndustriALL and NUTEAIW filed a complaint at the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association. The international body ruled in June 2022 that HICOM Automotive violated workers' freedom of association.

On receiving the memorandum from NUTEAIW, the political secretary of the Prime Minister, Chan Ming Kai, said the Prime Minister's office will look into the complaint and revert to the union.

IndustriALL regional secretary for South East Asia Shinya Iwai said: "IndustriALL stands in solidarity with the struggle for protecting workers' rights in Malaysia. We will continue to monitor the dispute and provide update to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association."

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

Goodyear workers in Mexico choose to be represented by an independent union

17 August, 2023:   899 Goodyear workers in the city of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, have voted to be represented by an independent union, celebrating a resounding victory after five years of struggle.

On 7 and 8 August, workers at Goodyear's plant in Mexico held a ballot to determine which union would represent them. A total of 992 of the plant's 1,144 workers took part in the ballot, with 899 voting for the Independent Union of Goodyear Tyre Workers (SITGM), 30 for a union affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) and 63 abstaining.

At a press conference held after the results were announced, SITGM's Julio Cesar Flores Lopez explained that the ballot and his union's victory had been possible thanks to the workers' struggle over the past five years.

"A group of workers initially spoke out in 2018 when they realized that Goodyear was not applying the sector-wide labour contract for the rubber manufacturing industry. Those workers were dismissed by Goodyear but then lodged a complaint with the rapid response labour mechanism under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), claiming that their rights had been violated," said Flores Lopez.

In Mexico, a sector-wide labour contract is an agreement between one or more unions and either several employers or one or more unions of employers. The agreement sets out the working conditions for a specific branch of industry.

The claims listed in the complaint included: various violations of collective rights by Goodyear for refusing to apply the most beneficial terms of the sector-wide labour contract; misinformation by the company and the CTM-affiliated union that had negotiated the previous collective bargaining agreement regarding the existence of a sector-wide contract; and failure by Goodyear to sanction those responsible for interfering in or obstructing the consultation, held in April, on approving the collective agreement.

Flores Lopez also told the press conference that the complaint had resulted in investigations by both the Mexican and US governments, which agreed on a remediation plan for Goodyear in July of this year. The union vote was part of that plan.

"The plan will benefit more than 1,140 workers and 4,000 family members. It states that Goodyear must apply either the sector-wide labour contract or any other more beneficial terms already provided. It also means shorter working hours, larger savings funds, more bonus days and more holiday bonuses, and ensures that workers will have a better quality of life with their families, because working in a tyre factory is hard."

Finally, IndustriALL's regional secretary Marino Vani said: "Goodyear has behaved regrettably during this process. IndustriALL has condemned the company's misconduct on several occasions in recent years. We now expect Goodyear to respect the rights of its workers, change its position, seek dialogue and provide better working conditions. We congratulate the workers who decided to stand up for their rights and set up a union. They have shown that only through struggle is it possible to enforce laws. The next step will be to organize other workers in this sector."

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

Fundamentals of Trade Union Organizing Training in Pakistan

08.08.23:   UNI Asia & Pacific recently held a training on "The Fundamentals of Trade Union Organizing" in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The training event saw the active participation of 33 organizers representing 14 different unions. Employing an engaging and interactive approach, participants applied the acquired skills throughout the training sessions.

During the training, the participants engaged in discussions encompassing crucial aspects of trade union organizing, such as leadership, power, and resources. They learned effective techniques for utilizing storytelling to motivate workers to take action and methods for identifying workplace issues. Distributed leadership structures were discussed as well as how to identify and develop potential workplace leaders.

Participants workshopped and practiced how to effectively ask others to join the union. Participants refreshed their knowledge on planning and strategy and the different stages of an organizing campaign. The training culminated in the participants preparing a plan and presenting how they will implement it in their workplaces using the skills learnt during the training.

Mr. Seemab Ali, an Executive Member of the All Pakistan DMO's Employees & Workers Union, conveyed his gratitude to both his leadership and UNI APRO for nominating him to attend the organizing workshop. During the group sessions, Mr. Ali gained increased confidence in team-building skills and effectively inviting members to join the union with assurance.

Miss Sahrish Ujjan, Organizing Secretary of PBIFEF said "I learnt the importance of story-telling for organizing workers especially as women we face a lot of common challenges and thus sharing our stories builds trust and solidarity. The training inspired me to double my commitment to strategically organize workers, particularly women workers in the banking industry in Pakistan".

Mr. Nadeem Qaisar, Finance Secretary, Packages Converters Limited Workers Union expressed his enthusiasm for the workshop "I learnt so much from my peers during the workshop which will be beneficial for our current and future organizing work in Pakistan".

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

The UN High Panel on the Teaching Profession: Panelists discuss strategies to end the teacher shortage

4 August 2023:   On 1 August, the UN High-Panel on the Teaching Profession convened its second virtual meeting bringing together leading experts, policymakers, and representatives from education organizations to address crucial issues within the teaching profession. Education International, as the voice of the profession at the global level, plays a central role in the Panel.

The objective of the UN High-Level Panel is to develop actionable recommendations to ensure that every learner has a professionally trained, qualified and supported teacher, who can flourish within a transformed education system. Their first meeting on 18 July served to ensure panelists had a clear overview of the working methods of the Panel, which is co-chaired by Paula Weekes of Trinidad and Tobago and Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and supported by a UNESCO-ILO Secretariat.

In the second meeting, the Panelists discussed three core imperatives for the teaching profession: Dignity, broadly framed to imply a focus on positive, supportive and decent working conditions that create and sustain a dignified professional environment. Humanity, broadly framed to imply teacher wellbeing, including attention to teacher job satisfaction, sense of efficacy, sense of belonging within the profession which promote a sense of well-being. Equity, broadly framed to imply a focus on ensuring that all learners have equitable access to diverse and high-quality teachers, and teachers promote inclusive teaching and learning experiences.

Key issues discussed included: raising the status of the profession and making teaching an attractive career for young people; improving teacher working conditions; ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce; and guaranteeing human and trade union rights.

Education International (EI) is represented on the panel by Susan Hopgood, President of Education International, Manal Hdaife, school leader in Lebanon and chair of the Education International Arab countries cross-regional structure (ACCRS); and Mike Thiruman, General secretary of the Singapore Teachers Union.

EI called for the Panel to seize the opportunity to make bold Recommendations that will address teachers' challenges and ensure that the teaching profession is valued and respected.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 383 member organisations representing more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories

Global Coalition for Right to a Healthy Environment Wins UN Human Rights Prize

24 July, 2023:   The Global Coalition of Civil Society, Indigenous Peoples, Social Movements, and Local Communities for the Universal Recognition of the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment was named a 2023 United Nations Human Rights Prize recipient on July 20. The prize was granted to the coalition, of which the Building and Woodworkers' International (BWI) is a member, in recognition of its successful effort to persuade the United Nations to recognise the "Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment."

It can be recalled that on 8 October 2021, the Human Rights Council recognised through resolution 48/13, followed by a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 28 July 2022. As climate change continues to be the most pressing issue of humankind, the right recognises that everyone, everywhere, has the right to live in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

BWI congratulated the coalition and expressed confidence that the UN's recognition of the right will generate a global impetus for all countries to transition to a more equitable and sustainable future. The global union of 12 million workers stated that the acknowledgment of the claimed right complements its drive for a just transition to a greener world of work in which no worker is left behind. BWI also said that governments must now urgently implement and adapt comprehensive measures, including laws that ensure that all workers, especially those working under adverse weather patterns and extreme temperatures, enjoy healthy and safe workplaces.

Source:  Building and Woodworkers International--BWI uniting 12 million workers in 351 trade unions in 127 countries

Indian unions call for better working conditions amidst country's rise as a major chemical and tyre manufacturing hub

19 July, 2023:   Organising precarious workers, strengthening networks, demanding equal pay for equal work, and workplace health and safety emerged as top priorities for Indian affiliates participating in the chemical, pharmaceutical and tyre sectors meeting, held during 11-13 July.

India is expected to see a huge growth in the chemical, pharmaceutical and tyre sectors. Global share of the Indian chemical industry is projected to triple by 2040. Rising domestic consumption is one of the major factors fuelling the growth.

In pharmaceuticals, India currently ranks third in the world in terms of production volume. The country is called pharmacy of the world and accounts for 60 per cent of global vaccine production and 20 per cent of global supply of generics. Likewise, in the tyre sector, India is among the leading manufacturers and the country is expected to double its revenue by 2032.

While these industries are expected to churn out huge revenues, the underlying factors behind the growth need to carefully scrutinised. According to a report published by McKinsey in March 2023, India's infrastructure costs across construction, material, and machinery, are up to 70 per cent lower than other global chemicals manufacturing hubs. This means the spending on safety infrastructure is also very poor as is reflected in the high number of industrial incidents reported every month. The report's findings reinforce the concerns brought up at the meeting by IndustriALL affiliates.

Meetings were attended by union representatives from Berger Paints, Solvay, BASF, Fresenius, TTK Pharma, Nerolac Kansai, Kores, Foseco, MRF and JK Tire. Rising engagement of contract workers and poverty wages paid to them is a key concern among unions. The low labour cost is one of the drivers behind the country emerging as the hub of chemical manufacturing. In order to attract capital, employers are paying low wages to workers and hiring more contract workers with no job security or social security benefits. Mergers and acquisitions pose significant challenges to unions in organising and retaining membership. Union members shared that outsourcing of unionised jobs and informalisation of economy coupled with automation is also adversely affecting workers and trade unions.

Tom Grinter, IndustriALL's director of chemical, pharmaceutical and rubber sectors, said: "While India is growing as a major manufacturing hub of chemical, pharmaceutical as well as tyre, the situation of workers employed in factories is only becoming worse. We need to build stronger networks and greater solidarity to safeguard workers' rights. Companies' policies must be challenged to ensure workers get quality unionised jobs with better wages and working conditions."

Unions in the pharmaceutical sector cited an example of the ways in which the industry is undermining union power by creating divisions among the working class. Employees in pharma and chemical industry, including sales promotion employees, have been redesignated as executives in order to bring them out of the ambit of the trade unions and labour laws.

Unionists called for inclusive unions and the need for greater collaboration among trade unions by establishing company and sectoral networks, especially in Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Regions.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL's South Asia regional secretary said: "The chemical, pharma and tyre industries are very important industries in India. Building union power in these industries is crucial to make sure that workers' rights are advanced, even as the industries move towards newer technologies, and the need for Just Transition becomes imperative."

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

United States: IFJ stands in full solidarity with striking SAG-AFTRA's workers

17 July 2023:   Members of the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), Hollywood's largest union, commenced a strike on 14 July demanding better working conditions and safeguards in respect of streaming services and artificial intelligence. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) fully backs SAG-AFTRA's actors and performers, who joined screenwriters from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) picketing since 2 May. This historic industrial action threatens to paralyse the Hollywood industry.

"The eyes of the world, and particularly the eyes of labour, are upon us. What happens here is important because what's happening to us is happening across all fields of labour," said SAG-AFTRA's President Fran Drescher, after contract negotiations between the actors' union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios, collapsed.

On 14 July, SAG-AFTRA's actors and performers started industrial action, joining the screenwriters of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who have been hitting the picket lines since 2 May. The last time that actors and writers walked out simultaneously was in 1960.

The unions are fighting for better terms with the AMPTP, an entity that represents studios and streamers, such as Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros Discovery. Among the workers' demands, there are increased minimum pay rates, increased streaming residuals (neither of which have kept up with inflation), and improved working conditions. Streaming services and artificial intelligence are at the centre of the talks.

A month ago, the IFJ, together with other global unions, expressed its solidarity with WGA's brothers and sisters in their fight for fair pay, decent working conditions and the protection of writers' rights in the digital environment.

"The NewsGuild-CWA stands in solidarity with striking members of SAG-AFTRA who are demanding respect and fair compensation for their labour," said Jon Schleuss, the President of an IFJ affiliate, the NewsGuild-CWA. "We know what it's like to go on strike and North America's media workers and our members will be telling your stories from the picket line," he added.

IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellanger said: "The IFJ expresses its unwavering support to the members of SAG-AFTRA and their industrial action. A fight that is pivotal for workers across the world".

"We, as journalists and media workers, whose work is affected by new technologies and, particularly, generative artificial intelligence (AI), know that it is imperative to initiate a human-centred approach to the use of AI in order to prevent it from being a tool that erodes intellectual property rights and job security. We urge the AMPTP to seriously negotiate SAG-AFTRA, representing over 160,000 members," he concluded.

Source:  International Federation of Journalists--IFJ represents 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries

Performers, worldwide, with SAG-AFTRA

14.07.2023:   The International Federation of Actors (FIA) and its affiliated unions worldwide express unwavering solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and its members as they undertake a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) in their pursuit of a better future for themselves and forthcoming generations of actors in the United States. The union's decision to take action stems from the AMPTP's failure to engage in meaningful negotiations and address crucial concerns, including living wages, a modernized streaming residual formula, and regulated use of AI to protect actors' voice and likeness, among other vital issues. FIA and its affiliated unions pledge their steadfast support for as long as necessary and by all legally available means until a fair agreement with the AMPTP is reached.

FIA President Gabrielle Carteris emphasizes, "This goes beyond actors in the United States. It is about upholding respect and fairness for actors worldwide, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the success of our industry and the creation of content that entertains millions globally. This is about our collective future and our inherent rights as workers, and rest assured, we stand united."

FIA General Secretary Dominick Luquer adds, "It is deeply disheartening to witness the rejection of the legitimate demands of the actors we represent, such as a living wage and control over the use of their voice and likeness in relation to generative AI, by CEOs who earn exorbitant salaries each year. There is something fundamentally wrong with these companies. Beneath the glamour, countless lives are at stake-workers who struggle to make ends meet. The AMPTP needs to awaken to the reality that they have nothing to sell without us."

FIA urges all its members to remain vigilant, as struck companies will likely seek to relocate their production elsewhere in an attempt to circumvent the terms of the strike. It is essential for FIA members to stay alert and promptly communicate with SAG-AFTRA whenever such situations arise. Together, we can ensure that the strike's objectives are upheld, and that actors' voices are heard. One family, one voice and one resolve !

Source:  International Federation of Actors--FIA unifying members of 90 organizations in over 60 countries

ITUC condemns Hong Kong administration for putting a bounty on the heads of human rights defenders and trade unionists

The ITUC has protested to the Hong Kong authorities, the ILO and the UN over its deep concern about the escalation in the climate of fear, intimidation, arrests, arbitrary prosecutions, threats for the exercise of trade union rights and civil liberties in Hong Kong.

13-07-2023:   In particular, the disproportionate and unwarranted extra-territorial application of the National Security Law to target trade unionists, human rights defenders and pro-democracy advocates by the Authorities of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) undermines its commitment to fulfil their international obligations.

The ITUC has called on the HKSAR Chief Executive Officer to respect and fully implement the conclusions and recommendations of ILO supervisory bodies and UN Human Rights bodies, in law and practice, including those regarding the National Security Law.

And he has been urged to release all those arrested and imprisoned for allegations related to the exercise of civil liberties including freedom of assembly, expression, press and association and those participating in pro-democracy activities.

On 4 July 2023, the HKSAR authorities announced, under the National Security Law, the issuance of arrest warrants against eight human rights defenders and pro-democracy advocates and placed a bounty of HK$ one million on each of their heads.

ITUC Acting General Secretary Luc Triangle said: "We unequivocally deplore the HKSAR authorities' criminalisation and securitisation of trade union and democracy-promoting activities. We consider it particularly egregious, especially given the risks to life and safety faced by trade unionists, human rights defenders and pro-democracy advocates around the world for their legitimate activities, that the HKSAR authorities approved and announced a bounty on the heads of these eight people for exercising their civil liberties or trade union rights.

"As a special administrative region of a member State of the ILO, China, the HKSAR is also obliged to respect and promote the fundamental principles and rights at work including freedom of association and treat with the utmost regard, the authoritative guidance of the ILO's supervisory bodies."

The ITUC letter of protest sets out the recent findings of the ILO and other UN bodies on the abuse of workers' and trade union rights by the HKSAR. It says that seeking to apply the National Security Law in an extraterritorial manner and placing a bounty on the heads of pro-democracy advocates and human rights defenders for alleged crimes related to the exercise of civil liberties and trade union rights is an overreach and certainly not proportionate - its coercive and chilling effective is wide ranging. With the use of the National Security Law in this disproportionate and arbitrary manner, the HKSAR authorities are violating their obligations under the Constitution of the ILO and Convention 87.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates

US workers strike for green jobs

10 July, 2023:   The picket lines around the Wabtec facility in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, continue to be strong as the strike enters its third week. 1,400 workers at the facility which manufactures locomotive engines, are striking for green jobs.

According to a recent report, producing green locomotives at Wabtec's Erie plant could bring thousands of new, high-quality jobs to northwest Pennsylvania, an area hard-hit by de-industrialization. Prototypes for green locomotives are already made at the plant. In negotiations with the employer, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America Locals 506 and 618, proposed language that would guarantee that green locomotive work be done in Erie. Instead, Wabtec threatened move at least 275 jobs out of the plant.

The two locals voted down the employer's offer and went on strike on 22 June for a contract that will allow them to move forward with green locomotive production.

Says Bryan Pietrzak, financial secretary for UE Local 506: "This is 1,400 families affected by boardroom greed. We are fighting an onslaught of union-busting tactics from the notorious Jones Day law firm, we are fighting for a family-sustaining wage for new hires, we are fighting to maintain our healthcare, vision, and dental insurances, and lastly we are fighting for company accountability by restoring our right to strike over grievances."

"It is a shame that, because of this company's greed, we are having to fight them, instead of working with them to build the green locomotives that are essential to our country's climate future. In negotiations, we proposed to do that, because green locomotive production would bring thousands of good, quality jobs into Erie PA and the Western PA area. This company said NO."

Says Christine Olivier, IndustriALL assistant general secretary: "The union is committed to the company investing in building green locomotives for the future, but Wabtec very irresponsibly responds with union busting. The striking members have IndustriALL's full support and we call on Wabtec to engage in genuine negotiations with the locals to find a solution for a just transition."

A meeting between the union and the employer is scheduled for 11 July.

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

All eyes on Canada as international unions pledge support for ILWU longshore strikers

07 Jul 2023:   7,400 dock workers, members of the ITF-affiliated International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada), have launched Canada's first indefinite port strike in 30 years. The workers began their strike on Saturday 1 July.

Despite every attempt by the ILWU Canada to reach a settlement, Canadian longshore workers have been given no other choice than to take strike action after employers refused to resolve the final disputed items on a major multi-year collective contract covering Canada's west coast ports and terminals. Unions had expected the contract to be finalised without delay after months already spent at the bargaining table across from the British Columbia Maritime Employer Association (BCMEA). The bulk of claims have already been settled between the parties in the talks - with just one sentence is said to be at dispute.

"The ITF and our almost 20 million workers, members of transport unions from across the globe, 100 percent support the action being taken by ILWU Canada's rank-and-file dockers," said International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) President and Dockers' Section Chair Paddy Crumlin.

"ILWU members in Canada went to work around the clock throughout the pandemic when the rest of the country was asked to stay at home for their safety. They endured increased risk of infection and death from Covid long before there were vaccines. ILWU members kept and continue to keep Canada moving. They sacrificed. And now they're sacrificing again. By taking indefinite strike action to stand up for fairness in the face of unprecedented greed."

ILWU Canada's key demands centre on:

  • Ending contracting out to ensure decent employment standards.
  • Protecting current and future generations of dockworkers from the devastating impacts of port automation.
  • Winning a fair pay rise that compensates dockworkers for their contribution to the economy and protects against record inflation and the current cost of living crisis.

BCMEA should get back to the bargaining table

Crumlin called on the BCMEA to return to the bargaining table and rise above the dirty-tricks and misleading leaks from anonymous sources that are hampering good faith bargaining. "The bosses at the BCMEA are acting atrociously. Let's not forget that every day BCMEA play games, the Canadian people and their economy are impacted, and their workers are forced to pay the cost, potentially risking mortgages and their own financial security."

Crumlin said swelling corporate profits in shipping, particularly since the onset of the pandemic, must be redistributed and shared with longshore and other maritime workers who do the heavy lifting that generates companies' unprecedented profits. "It's time for BCMEA to return to the bargaining table to get this contract done," Crumlin said.

International solidarity arriving in British Columbia

Support is already flooding in for the striking ILWU members from Canadian and international unions. First Vice-Chair of the ITF Dockers' Section and International President of the ILWU, Willie Adams, visited picket lines as the strike began, and an international delegation of dockers' unions is arriving in Canada ahead of a rally is organised for Sunday, 9 July.

ITF Dockers' Section Second Vice-Chair Niek Stam, from the Dutch dockers' union FNV Havens, will be leading the ITF delegation, he pledged support for Canadian longshore workers: "Not only as a Vice Chair of the ITF Dockers' Section, but also as the union leader of our dockers' union FNV Havens in the Netherlands, I bring not only support but also good examples of how our union negotiated good and solid contracts with our employers."

"In the Netherlands we concluded 62 CBAs in the port section. All contracts have compensation for inflation and clauses on automation and maintenance in the terminals. All maintenance workers are part of our CBAs. Nothing is impossible. It is time that BCMEA shows good faith and willingness to follow our good examples. If our employers can do it, BCMEA can do it."

"The Canadian and international trade union movements, including dockers' unions around the globe, have pledged their solidarity with ILWU Canada. We will be joining picket lines across the west coast and stand ready to escalate action if required," said Stam.

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members in 700 affiliated trade unions from 150 countries

BWI on Bangladeshi union leader beaten to death for trying to resolve labour dispute

29 June 2023:   The murder of well-known Bangladeshi trade union leader Shahidul Islam and the wounding of trade union organiser Ahmed Sharif at the hands of several assailants are strongly condemned by the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), particularly its Asia Pacific trade union affiliates. After attempting to resolve a labor dispute involving workers of a major clothing manufacturer and management over unpaid wages, the said trade unionists came under attack resulting in the killing of Shahidul who was beaten to death. We send our heartfelt sympathies to Shadihul's family, friends, and comrades as they go through this trying time.

This horrific crime serves as a stark reminder to us all of the real and present dangers that many union activists and workers continue to confront for simply by exercising their right to organise and safeguard their interests. BWI asserts that no worker should face retaliation for exercising their labour rights under the law, particularly their freedom of association and the ability to form a union and engage in collective bargaining. Trade unionism is not a crime. It is a fundamental protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrined the freedoms and rights of all people, irrespective of their race, gender, or beliefs.

BWI, along with the Bangladeshi labour movement and the rest of the world, calls on the Bangladeshi government to launch an immediate, in-depth inquiry into this heinous, cowardly act, and prosecute all responsible parties. We will not rest until justice is served for Shahidul's senseless killing. Any genuine democracy that promotes the rights and welfare of the working class must include trade unionism and respect for labour laws. Without them, justice is only a pipe dream, and democracy is nothing more than a hollow idea.

Source:  Building and Woodworkers International--BWI uniting 12 million workers in 351 trade unions in 127 countries

Panama: Strike ends with agreement at Cervecería Nacional

26/06/2023:   Less than 48 hours after declaring a strike over repeated violations of the collective agreement, the Union of Workers of the Brewing Industry of Panama (STICP) have recently won an important deal with Cervecería Nacional, a subsidiary of the global brewing giant, AB InBev. The strike began on June 16 after more than 90 % of workers voted in favour.

"On June 16, 2023, we met with Cervecería Nacional, but nothing came of it. The Ministry of Labour then reconvened the parties for the next day. We negotiated all day, and, in the evening, we reached an agreement that we consider satisfactory," stated Jaime Acevedo, STICP General Secretary.

The agreement includes:

  • Hiring of at least 45 permanent positions that had been outsourced
  • Staffing of helpers on trucks to reduce the incidence of injury among workers
  • Non-retaliation pledge by the company for workers' participation in the strike as well as a pledge to abandon the policy of unilateral and arbitrary job elimination

Jaime Acevedo, STICP General Secretary stated, "We recovered a large number of jobs that had been eliminated and stopped this unchecked advance by the company. All in all, we consider the balance of the strike to be positive. This was the result of the unity and firmness of the vast majority of workers. Thanks to IUF Latin America region and the other unions in the beverage sector for always standing with us."

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 423 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

Honduras: Four trade unionists murdered

The ITUC condemns the murder of four leaders of the SITRAGSAM trade union in Choloma, Honduras at the weekend.

26-06-2023:   Thirteen people were killed when gunmen opened fire in a billiards hall, including the four union representatives - STRAGSAM President Xiomar Cocas, former President Delmer Garcia and delegates Lesther Almendarez and José Rufino Ortíz. Eduardo Alexander Meléndez Cocas, the son of Xiomar Cocas is also believed to be amongst the victims.

The murders may be linked to false rumours that the union was responsible for the announcement last week that the Gildan textile plant in the town of San Miguel would be closed. The town is also a flashpoint for the violent reaction by criminal gangs against government attempts to tackle organised crime. The government of Honduras has offered a reward for any information about who carried out the killings.

ITUC Acting General Secretary Luc Triangle said: "There must be a full and credible investigation to bring the perpetrators of this atrocity to justice without delay. Honduras has an appalling record of killings, intimidation and violence against workers and their unions, with hundreds of murders remaining unsolved over several years. "The authorities must bring the climate of impunity to an end and ensure that trade unionists are protected and workers' rights respected. Companies doing business in or with Honduras must also accept their responsibilities."

In the 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index, Honduras is rated 5 - no guarantee of rights.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates

Outsourcing the climate crisis to the private sector will only fuel the fire

JUN 21, 2023:   The climate crisis is far too important to be left in the hands of the same corporate actors who started the fire. This Public Service Day, we must make clear that privatisation, PPPs and more outsourcing are the last thing our planet can rely on to make it through the climate crisis. Well-funded quality public services are the key to unlocking our green new world.

They tried it with our care homes - which ended up overcrowded and understaffed. They tried it with our railways - which ended up overpriced and endlessly late. They tried it with our energy systems - which ended up more expensive, less reliable and more polluting. And they all required massive, unplanned public subsidies for private operators to deliver on their promises.

Yet despite experiences from across the world demonstrating the inability of the market to deliver services in the public interest, politicians continue to push market-led policies.

At the "Summit for a New Global Financing Pact" in Paris this week, many leaders will endorse a public-private partnership (PPP) model to reduce emissions - which is a risk our world simply cannot afford. A group of heads of government released a global open letter, repeating the belief that private funding is essential to the global changes needed.

The climate crisis is far too important to be left in the hands of the same corporate actors who started the fire. Global climate inaction and the reliance on the private sector is based on a simple oft-repeated myth: we cannot afford to publicly fund the transition away from fossil fuels. Of course, the reality is we cannot afford not to.

But the base assumption that 'there is not enough wealth' falls apart under scrutiny.

There is enough wealth for oil firms to make hundreds of billions in profits while funding climate disinformation. There is enough wealth to send Jeff Bezos and his billionaire buddies on joy-rides to space - using up many lifetimes worth of carbon emissions in the process. There is enough wealth for corporations to spend trillions on share buybacks while workers scrape by on poverty wages.

The question is not one of wealth but of distribution. That's why ahead of this latest Paris summit, over one hundred leading economists wrote to government leaders, urging them to implement a wealth tax on the fortunes of the world's richest people to fund the climate transition.

Estimates show a 2% tax on extreme wealth would yield around $2.5 trillion per year. The annual cost of reducing emissions and funding adaptation by 2050 will be around $3.5 trillion per year. This simple tax on wealthy individuals alone could raise two thirds of our climate transition costs. Fixing the broken global tax system and implementing a minimum corporate tax, such as that advanced by PSI, would raise significantly more.

This will be key to funding the vital public services which will drive the green transition:

  • We must urgently drive the transition to low carbon energy systems. The private sector had years to lead this and have so far failed miserably. Public mandates and funds must be directed to public energy utilities at national and local levels to build the new systems. Workers must be hired, trained and deployed. Workers in energy generation based on fossil fuels must be retrained and redeployed. Their families and communities must be protected during the transition. Public transmission and distribution grids must be updated. And the built environment must be renovated and insulated to consume less energy, despite growing demand for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

  • Adapting to the new reality will also depend on public policies, funding and public service workers. We need improved emergency services - to respond to increasing climate catastrophes which put our lives and livelihoods at stake. Public service workers know first-hand the brutal effects of extreme weather events - and building resilient, professionalized services is key to allowing them to help families and communities to adapt.

  • We need universal public healthcare, to deal with the rise in diseases, chronic conditions and abnormal temperatures which already contribute to more than 5 million deaths each year. The Covid-19 pandemic forced frontline workers to work in brutal conditions, paying the price for decades of underinvestment in staffing and resources. Meanwhile, a multi-country study found a significant correlation between increased privatisation and higher Covid-19 death rates among both workers and patients in health and social services. Covid and the climate crisis both demonstrate the need for urgent new investment in public health systems.

  • We need effective public transport to discourage emission-intensive car journeys. While road transport contributes 15% of global emissions, rail transport accounts for less than 0.25%. By making public transport free or heavily subsidised we can significantly reduce individual carbon footprints and improve the connectivity of our cities and countries.

  • Developing countries and local authorities need specific policies for them to implement mitigation and adaptation, including more public service workers with better tools and training. Debt relief and tax justice; loss and damage funds; access to key technologies free from intellectual property protections - these are some of the actions we must take.

The scientific consensus on the climate crisis is key to improving public understanding of the threats we all face. Even in the US, where climate skepticism remains rampant, over 75% of people support international efforts to reduce emissions. What we now need is a political consensus, one based on strengthening our democratic institutions. Economists calling for new wealth taxes are leading the way. But it's time for the wider economic community to finally abandon the fantasy that the profit motive or market forces will solve these problems and admit that a new, fairer global tax system is essential to funding the changes we need.

This Public Service Day, we must make clear that privatisation, PPPs and more outsourcing are the last thing our planet can rely on to make it through the climate crisis. Well-funded quality public services are the key to unlocking our green new world. We know there is more than enough wealth to properly fund these services to drive the transition. It's time for our politicians to abandon discredited private-sector proposals and instead focus on proven public solutions. We need to make sure that they defend people and planet before profits.

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

Your Fight is Our Fight! UNI in Solidarity With Postal Workers in Trinidad and Tobago

20.06.23:   UNI Global Union and its post and logistics affiliates worldwide are standing up for postal workers in Trinidad & Tobago as they fight for a pay rise after a decade of wage stagnation.

UNI affiliates from Germany to Japan have written to the management of TTPost and to the government authorities in support of the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Workers Union (TTPWU) backing workers' demands for a 36 per cent wage increase in the face of soaring inflation in the country.

The government is offering a 4 per cent wage increase for all public sector employees, including postal workers who have not had a pay rise since 2013 nor an increase in allowances since 2007. The union is seeking compensation for multiple bargaining periods dating back to 2014, which the government has repeatedly dodged and ignored.

David Forbes, General Secretary of TTPWU said: "The government has shunned collective bargaining and is trying to enforce a blanket wage increase which is simply unrealistic and unjust. A pay rise is long overdue and now with galloping inflation and rising costs, workers are suffering. Many are having to borrow money to make ends meet, and our union is also supporting members in financial distress. We greatly appreciate this show of solidarity from our comrades around the world, which is boost to our campaign and our members."

The average monthly salary for postal workers in Trinidad & Tobago is 6,500 TTD (US$ 940), while a living wage in the Caribbean country is regarded by unions as around 10,000 TTD (US$ 1,445) a month. An independent review of postal workers' salaries recommended a 36 per cent pay increase back in 2010, but now the government is proposing another salary review, which unions argue is unnecessary and delay wage negotiations further.

UNI General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said: "Together with UNI post and logistics affiliates around the world, we stand with postal workers in Trinidad & Tobago who have waited long enough for a pay rise. Your fight is our fight and we are united in solidarity with you. We call on the government to stop stalling and enter into serious negotiations with TTPWU without delay so that postal workers get the wages and recognition they deserve."

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

Unionists demand all charges against jailed Belarusian trade union leaders be dropped

15 June, 2023:   Today global unions, trade union activists and delegates in attendance at the 111th International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva gathered at the Broken Chair to call for the immediate release of imprisoned Belarusian trade unionists and an end to the repression of workers' rights. Delegates at the demonstration demanded that all charges against the imprisoned leaders be dropped and that international organizations are given access to visit the country.

Maksim Pazniakou, acting president of the the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) said: "We thank you for being here and supporting our Belarusian colleagues. Your support is very important for those in jail; they know that they have support from the outside and that they are not alone. I hope that the adoption of Article 33 will push the authorities to respect workers' rights and it will help to release our comrades from jail and to restore the independent trade union movement in the country."

Earlier this week, the ILC adopted a resolution under Article 33 of the ILO constitution, challenging Belarus' continued disregard for workers' rights and the arrest of countless trade unionists. Article 33 tackles non-compliance with a report of an ILO commission of inquiry. This commission was established in 2003 regarding violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98. This adoption means that member states will take all the possible steps to ensure that Belarus implements the recommendations of that enquiry. This could involve sanctions but also support for those persecuted by the regime and their struggle for international workers' rights.

This is the first time in the more than 100-year history of the ILO that delegates to the International Labour Conference, representing governments, employers and trade unions, have taken such a step to stop violations of freedom of association. Until now, this procedure had only been used once-in 2000, against Myanmar, over its use of forced labour.

IndustriALL assistant Kemal Özkan said: "We are fighting against a dictator and are united with the workers in Belarus. We will not give up until the political hostages are freed. This is a fight for democracy and for fundamental workers' rights. We have an important step forward with the ILC decision on Article 33 and we will continue until we get justice for Belarus. Our struggle continues and we will win."

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

Educators in South Asia go public to fund education

15 June 2023:   Over 140 union delegates from South Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal came together to reflect and learn from each other to play an active role in transforming education in South Asia.

The delegates were part of Education International's South Asia Teachers Conference, held from 11-13 June in Kathmandu, Nepal, under the theme: Go Public! Fund Education. The delegates discussed the financing of education-including the challenges posed by the growing privatisation and commercialisation- the rights of teachers, the increasing casualisation of the profession and issues of pay, pension, and social security.

"There is a teacher shortage emergency. A shortfall of nearly 70 million teachers worldwide, including more than 1 million teachers in primary schools just in India alone, and 65,000 in Nepal. Hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable children remain excluded from education. Girls are disproportionately affected," stated EI's President Susan Hopgood. She also highlighted the crisis in education funding and the teacher shortage -hand in hand with short-term contractual employment- as some of the main challenges to achieve quality public education for all.

In addition, Hopgood explained that austerity policies and public wage bill constraints in the region, imposed by International Financing Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), exacerbate teacher shortages and decrease the attractiveness of the profession: "By deliberately constraining the 'teacher wage bill', global financing agencies block teacher recruitment and salaries, further depleting the corps of professional educators."

To address these challenges, Hopgood went on to say, "it is time for teachers to, once again, mobilise and raise our voices for a new social contract. That mobilisation is well underway in the Go Public, Fund Education campaign launched earlier this year by Education International".

The campaign is an urgent call for governments to prioritise public education and invest in the teaching profession to ensure a brighter future for all. "Governments must invest in public education by both increasing the size of national budgets and increasing the share of finance going to education. We call on all governments to invest in teachers, invest in education", Hopgood concluded.

On the last day, the Conference issued a statement with four key demands addressed to leaders of South Asian countries:

  1. Governments must recruit and retain more teachers;
  2. More professional training for teachers is needed;
  3. Teachers must have job security and pension, medical benefits;
  4. Invest in public education.
To read the full statement of the 2023 Education International's South Asia Teachers Conference please go here

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 383 member organisations representing more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories

Writers Guild on Strike

Governments must not abandon workers by defunding the ILO

The ITUC has issued a call to governments around the world to face up to their responsibilities to working people, by adopting the budget for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN body charged with protecting workers' rights, for 2024-2025, in a crucial vote early in the week of 12 June 2023 in Geneva.

09-06-2023:   The ITUC, the world's largest organisation of workers, reminds governments that workers and employers rely on the ILO to ensure the world of work is recognised internationally, to ensure international standards on workers' rights are applied in individual countries and to help governments and social partnerts to improve the functioning of their labour markets and institutions.

Luc Triangle, ITUC Acting General Secretary said: "Workers around the world depend on the ILO to ensure their rights are upheld and to put social justice at the heart of global debates. If governments defund the organisation - for whatever reason - it is their workers who will bear the brunt. Workers facing unemployment, poverty and repression will not forgive those governments for abandoning them. So we call on every government to recognise their international and domestic obligations and agree the budget that employers, workers and governments have drawn up together. There can be no more delay, no more procrastination. The time to act is now."

Without a two thirds majority vote in favour of the 2024-2025 ILO Programme and Budget at this International Labour Conference plenary session, the ILO would run out of money to operate, including paying salaries and running programmes, on 1 January 2024.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates

Unionist nine-month jail ordeal expose workers rights violations in Madagascar

6 June, 2023:   After a presidential pardon, jailed unionist Sento Chang has been released after nine months in Madagascar's Antanimora prison, one of the worst prisons in the world according to Human Rights Watch. Sento was jailed for posting the outcome of union negotiations on social media. Unions from Madagascar participating at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, are challenging the sentencing and jailing, and calling upon the island nation's government to stop repeatedly violating workers' rights.

The rights are protected by Convention 87 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, and the national labour code. Madagascar's violations of Convention 87 will be discussed at the ILC on 9 June. The unions are bringing to the ILC the case of the unjust imprisonment of Sento, a trade union representative at the Alsico subsidiary, E-Toile SA in Antananarivo. Sento served the sentence from 29 August 2022 and was released on 30 May 2023 after a presidential pardon.

Sento was arrested and imprisoned for posting on social media the outcome of discussions with E-Toile management to improve working conditions at the garment factory where he worked as a machinist. Unions say the charges against Sento were trumped up: ranging from breaches of confidentiality, data protection, and violation of state property. The trial was unfair and concluded in a record 48-hours under a hostile judge who colluded with the E-Toile lawyer.

An appeal against the judgment was never heard and the judge ignored the fact that that the duties of the trade union representative were protected in the Madagascar labour code. For justice to prevail, the unions say they want a judicial review of the sentence and are arguing that the trial and sentencing offended sections of the law. They also want Sento to be reinstated at E-Toile SA.

During the period of the imprisonment, the unions took to the streets to protest the injustice and were supported by IndustriALL and ITUC Africa which wrote protest letters to E-Toile SA and Alsico management.

Rafenoarimanana Leontine Mbolanomena, the general secretary of USAM, which is in alliance with SVS as Randrana Sendikally said: "On behalf of the alliance, Sento Chang and his family, we are deeply grateful to IndustriALL, ITUC Africa and other stakeholders, for the unfailing support they gave during the period of his imprisonment. However, despite his release from prison, our fight will continue until the Malagasy state acknowledges the violations it has committed and remedies them by making Sento's criminal record clean, and by taking steps to ensure that he gets his job back. So, during the ILC, particularly when the case of Madagascar's violation of Conventions 87 and 98 is raised, we ask for your continued support."

Says Kemal Ozkan , IndustriALL assistant general secretary: "We support SVS on its unwavering commitment to workers and trade union rights in Madagascar as seen in this campaign for the release of Sento Chang and for the justice system to protect rather than be used to bash trade unions. Being a trade union representative is not a crime, and we strongly support calls for the expunging of the conviction and sentence."

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

BWI on World Environment Day and EU Green Week

5 June 2023:   The Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) joins the global community in observing World Environment Day and the European Union (EU) Green Week this week. We take this opportunity to reiterate our call for a greener and more equitable future in which social justice and the rights of workers, especially those in the green economy, are properly recognised and protected.

As a global union representing 12 million workers worldwide in the building, construction, wood, and forestry industries, we strongly believe that conserving the environment and maintaining biodiversity for future generations necessitates the full involvement and participation of the working people. We cannot protect the environment without also preserving workers' fundamental rights.

Trade unions must be at the front and centre of the discussions about sustainable development, and an important social force in the just transition to a green future. BWI, for one, will continue to add its voice and make a difference by assisting in the realisation of ambitious, yet feasible, environmental goals alongside the workers' quest for livable wages, safe and healthy workplaces, and decent work. In order to achieve climate justice, all workers must be given full labor protections in accordance with international labour standards. Fundamental labour rights such as the ability to organise, freely associate, and bargain collectively are critical for all workers, regardless of position, as they seek access to decent work in the face of significant climate impacts.

Finally, given that the theme of this year's EU Green Week is the need for governments and employers to invest more in workers' skills, BWI believes that training upskilling and reskilling should lead not only to their integration into new jobs created by a greener future, but also to the creation of decent and safe jobs for all. Upholding workers' rights is critical to developing just, equitable, and long-term solutions to the climate crisis. Climate justice acknowledges that all of our struggles are rooted from the same unjust system and the promise of a better world for world. Workers cannot create decent jobs from the ashes of a dead world. And there is no climate justice in an unjust world of work.

Source:  Building and Woodworkers International--BWI uniting 12 million workers in 351 trade unions in 127 countries

Support Striking Post Gazette Workers

UNI in Solidarity With Directors Guild OF America

25.05.23:   UNI Global Union and its Media, Entertainment and Arts (MEI) sector, which includes 150 industry unions and guilds worldwide, expresses its solidarity with the Directors Guild of America as it fights for a fair contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The current three-year agreement expires on 30 June and takes place as the Writers Guild of America (also affiliated to UNI Global Union), is striking against the AMPTP for the respect, recognition and remuneration they deserve. As with the writers, one of the key issues at stake is residual payments for streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.

Jon Avnet, DGA Negotiations Chair said: "This year's negotiations are about more than bargaining a strong contract for the next three years - they're about setting the course for the future of our industry and ensuring the sustainability of hundreds of thousands of good, union jobs." "We're fighting to receive our fair share of the new global future," confirmed Negotiations Co-Chair Todd Holland.

Among its demands, the DGA is calling for wage increases to meet inflation, protection of its healthcare and pension plans, and better health and safety to combat dangerously long working hours in the TV and film industry, as highlighted by UNI's research.

The negotiations are taking place in a very complex environment with a short window for concluding a deal before negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP are set to start on 7 of June - whose contract also expires on 30 June.

Unlike the previous negotiations, the stakes are much higher as streaming upends traditional licensing models that once fairly distributed profits in film and television. Meanwhile, AI threatens to transform all aspects of production. "The explosive popularity of streaming around the world has transformed how, and where, our work is viewed, and our contracts must adapt to changing production and distribution," said Karen Gaviola, DGA Negotiations Co-Chair in a video to its 19,000 members.

In a solidarity letter to members of the DGA on behalf of UNI, Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, said: "Your fight is our fight. Ensuring fair pay, the protection of our members' rights and dignity at work are at the heart of UNI MEI's member unions' campaigns, often facing the same global companies. Above the line artists and workers have been squeezed during the ongoing transformation to streaming. Unions stand tall to fight higher work pressures, unsustainable remuneration models, unsafe working hours, which is affecting entertainment workers worldwide."

The DGA has been an active member of UNI Global Union since its foundation in 2000 and has been working with UNI MEI to support the growth of directors' organizations around the world and to foster collective bargaining. A strong and fair DGA contract protecting the future of above-the-line artists and workers is of crucial importance for a just transformation of the global entertainment industry, that UNI MEI unions are campaigning for together.

UNI MEI President Matthew D. Loeb (IATSE, United States), said: "We support you as you continue your negotiation with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Our hope is that these global film studios agree to fair remuneration, healthcare and pension contributions, creative rights, diversity, and safer sets that reflect the future of this global industry. We stand with you!"

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

UNI and Teleperformance Move Forward With Global Agreement in Romania

22.05.23:   UNI Global Union, its affiliate Sindicatul IT Timisoara (SITT) and Teleperformance signed a nationwide agreement on workers' rights in Romania last week. The signing is part of the implementation of the UNI - Teleperformance global agreement reached in December 2022.

Under the terms of the pact, Teleperformance Romania management will remain neutral about workers' right to join a union. SITT will have access to workers, both in call centres and remotely. The union can present to new workers during their onboarding, and it can send a monthly newsletter to the company's roughly 1,800 employees in the country, 90 per cent of them working remote.

"This agreement is a major step forward for call centre workers in Romania to improve their jobs and their lives," said Florentin Iancu, President of SITT. "Workers will be able to learn about the advantages of union membership and make up their own minds - without fear or misinformation, and together, we can work with Teleperformance to make it an even better place to work."

The Romanian agreement is the second national accord between UNI and Teleperformance. They signed a Colombian agreement, along with national union Utraclaro, last month.

The December 2022 global agreement identifies five countries of initial focus: Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Poland and Romania. UNI hopes to announce signings in the remaining countries in the coming weeks.

"We are excited to reach this milestone in Romania, and we look forward to helping SITT build a strong union at Teleperformance," said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. "We also look forward to building on this progress and deepening our constructive relationship Teleperformance on both national and global levels."

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

Lesotho: investigative radio journalist shot dead

17 May 2023:   Investigative journalist and radio presenter Ralikonelo Joki was shot multiple times by several assailants on 14 May at around 10 pm at the gate of the Tsenolo FM radio station in the capital, Maseru. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns a senseless act of killing to silence a journalist.

According to local reports from Lesotho, Joki, who was known for his reporting on corruption and organised crime, was driving out of the radio station premises shortly after presenting his programme, Hlokoana La Tsela (I heard it from the Grapevine) when he was ambushed and killed. He was declared dead by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDR), who quickly responded to a call at the scene.

Former executive member of the Lesotho Journalists Association, Marafaele Mphloboli, who has also worked with Joki for a number of years, described him to the IFJ as "a person who had a passion for investigative stories and unearthing the rot in the public service. He was considered as a loose cannon, because neither threat nor intimidation could deter him from pursuing a story."

There is unanimity in Lesotho media circles that journalist Joki was killed because of his work, as he had received at least three death threats in relation to his stories.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "We are deeply saddened by the death of Ralikonelo Joki and strictly condemn this senseless act of killing. It is a matter of public interest to ensure the safety of those who fulfil their obligations towards the public's right to know. We demand a swift independent investigation into the murder of Ralikonelo Joki and assurance that the government will deepen its protection of journalists' safety."

Authorities in Lesotho have declared an indefinite curfew starting on 16 May, to help track down Joki's killers.

Source:  International Federation of Journalists--IFJ represents 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries

The Council of Global Unions condemns flagrant worker rights' violations in South Korea that led to the tragic death of Yang Hoe-Dong

On the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Yoon, the Council of Global Unions (CGU), representing 200 million workers around the world expresses deep concern on the recent attacks, judicial harassment, and interference against the legitimate activities of trade unions and the rights of working people in South Korea.

09-05-2023:   It is unacceptable that this repression continues, despite South Korea having acceded to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and ratified International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No.87 on freedom of association and Convention No.98 on collective bargaining two years ago.

On May Day, Yang Hoe-Dong, a district leader of the Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU), tragically set himself on fire to protest harassment of trade unionists by government authorities. Yang, one of the victims of that harassment, sadly passed away from complications of severe burns. Yang left a message before his self-immolation saying that, although he had carried out his union duties lawfully, he had been charged with obstruction of business, coercion, and extortion. The self-immolation of Yang is reminiscent of the darkest years in the labour history of South Korea.

The false criminal charges of coercion and extortion against trade unionists stem from the anti-union policy of President Yoon Suk-yeol's government. The government uses not social dialogue but the police forces in industrial relations. In the construction sector, the police launched a special investigation targeting unions, only to criminalise normal trade union activities. Following the President's anti-union language, comparing construction unions with organized criminals at construction sites, the police intentionally used this logic to smear the union, devastating the dignities of union leaders. Yang was one of the 950 union officials summoned by the police during the special investigation and currently 16 of them are detained with such criminal charges.

The government's anti-union repression is not just limited to the construction sector, restrictive definitions in the labour law mean everyday trade union activities are being criminalised. For example, a strike of cargo truck drivers was declared illegal in November 2022. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) foisted a 47 billion KRW (approximately USD 35.6 million or EUR 32.3 million) lawsuit on five union leaders relating to missed production targets during a strike. A clear retaliation aimed to chill subcontracted workers' exercise of fundamental union rights.

Despite clear recommendations from the ILO, UN Treaty bodies, and the Expert Panel established as part of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Government continues to block any amendment to the Trade Union and Labour Relation Adjustment Act to bring it in line with international standards.

Furthermore, the Yoon administration has initiated a systematic smear campaign against trade unions based on groundless allegations of corruption and administrative irregularities. The CGU has noted with great concern that the authorities are interfering into the management and activities of trade unions, demanding submission of copies of trade union budgets and amendment of trade union constitutions. These are serious violations of the right to freedom of association under ILO Convention No.87.

President YOON Suk-yeol's union-bashing rhetoric and illegitimate use of public prosecutors and police to attack trade unions has set a national tone that is echoed on the ground in workplaces across the country with increasingly violent attacks against trade unionists. On 4 May 2023, a manager of ILJIN Hysolus, which is a supplier of Hyundai Motor and BMW, rammed his car into local trade union leaders hitting 3 of them and causing serious injuries to the union's vice chair.

The CGU condemns the criminalisation of trade union activity and the raids of trade union offices led by the Yoon administration. We call on the South Korean Government to meet their international obligations, fully respect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and end their repression of the South Korean Trade Union movement.

The CGU demands the release and withdrawal of all charges against workers who have been detained for exercising their fundamental trade union rights. We further urge the government to cease all acts of smearing and criminalisation against trade unionists which are not constructive to establishing stable industrial relations but rather create a climate of fear and intimidation inimical to workers exercising rights protected by domestic and international law.

Organising is a right, not a crime.

The CGU stands with the South Korean trade union movement in their ongoing struggle for freedom and justice. It sends its condolences to the wife and children of Yang Hoe-Dong as well as to his trade union family.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates

Education unions and governments come together at Summit to strengthen the teaching profession

2 May 2023:   The 2023 International Summit on the Teaching Profession concluded in Washington last week, providing what EI General Secretary David Edwards called "a policy beacon and safe harbor for ideas to be exchanged and debated" on critical global education issues.

The 13th annual ISTP brought together 22 countries to discuss how to strengthen the teaching profession and ensure all students have access to a quality education.

Co-hosted by Education International, the U.S. Department of Education and EI members the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Summit was organised around the theme "Poised for the Future: Transformative Teaching for Global Engagement, Sustainability, and Digital Access."

The Summit this year focused on three subthemes - elevating and enhancing the teaching profession, educating for global and cultural competence and civic engagement, and leveraging digital technologies to ensure equitable access and enhanced learning for all. Participants across the three-day Summit noted the connections between civic engagement and quality education including well-resourced and compensated teachers.

EI President Susan Hopgood noted the inseparable elements of the Summit themes and subjects in her remarks opening the event: "At EI, we are mobilising to connect the crisis in funding to the sustainable world we want to create. Our global campaign - Go Public! Fund Education - unites our 383 member organizations in 178 countries and their 32 million members in the fight for publicly funded education and resourcing the public sector to build inclusive, quality public education for all. As we mobilise for resources, we also recognise the need for a collaborative and cooperative approach to solving the teacher shortage crisis, to ensuring an education workforce that is prepared and "poised for the future" as we say in the call to these sessions.

In addition to Edwards and Hopgood, the Summit featured remarks by U.S. First Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and OECD Director of Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher.

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden stated: "When we commit to building an education system that works for all, schools and communities are stronger. Teachers have the support they need to reach students where they are. Parents don't have to worry that their children are being left behind, and kids grow and learn every day."

In his closing remarks, Edwards noted that the status of the profession, especially the critical shortage of teachers globally, is a high priority for the United Nations. "For the first time in 60 years the UN Secretary General has stopped the normal mode of describing the problem and listened to the teaching profession's call to reverse this trend," Edwards said. "The UN High-Level Panel is gathering evidence around the world to develop recommendations and I encourage all of you to participate in the consultations to enable the knowledge and wisdom developed in fora like ISTP to inform those recommendations and show why critical investments must be made to implement them."

Edwards also cited a broad consensus among Summit delegates that teachers have a say in how technology is used in education and for what purpose. "This is why Education International looks forward to further developing ethical principles for effective and equitable use of AI with and for teachers and in the service of our students," Edwards said.

"This is why Education International looks forward to further developing ethical principles for effective and equitable use of AI with and for teachers and in the service of our students," Edwards said. "You have heard that 'we are the ones we are waiting for.' In this case it means we are responsible to mobilize for the progressive use of this technology and hold governments accountable to make this real.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 383 member organisations representing more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories

May Day 2023: collective action for a new social contract

On the first of May, working people across the world celebrate more than 150 years of collective action through their trade unions building secure, sustainable lives and delivering social justice.

It is also a moment to reflect on the enormous challenges to people and the planet, challenges that can only be overcome with a vibrant trade union movement at the heart of the economy and society, and a new social contract to build a just and sustainable future for all.

However, tens of millions of people are directly confronted by the brutal realities of armed conflict, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Multilateralism and the vital instruments and processes that aim to ensure peace and common security are under existential threat. The world faces the converging crises of massive inequality, climate change, erosion of democracy, threats to public health and the prospect of unregulated technologies exacerbating division and exclusion.

Solidarity, peace, equality

As the largest organised democratic force in the world, the global trade union movement is indispensable in overcoming these challenges and working for peace. Strengthening solidarity in times of crisis is essential for creating a fairer and more humane world. The pathway to that world, and a fundamental foundation for peace, is the new social contract. There is no lack of resources, but a lack of political will to overcome oligarchy, to reform taxation and to invest in public services and a sustainable future.

It is through trade union action that we can create the necessary democratic accountability to re-shape the global economy. This means action on:

  • Jobs, to reach full employment by creating 575 million new jobs worldwide through investment in care, green jobs and infrastructure and formalising informal sector employment.
  • Wage rises, with living minimum wages to reverse the decades&345;long decline in the share of prosperity going to working people and to ensure a dignified life for all and revitalise economies.
  • Rights, to guarantee workers' organising and bargaining rights, ensure safe and healthy work, safeguard against discrimination and forced and child labour and build a sustainable world through just transition.
  • Equality, to guarantee equal pay for women and men and challenge racism and homophobia.
  • Social Protection, to invest in coverage for the three-quarters of the world's people who are fully or partly denied this basic human right starting with a global social protection fund.
  • Inclusion, to remove the colonial structural framework of the world's financial and trade systems that deny prosperity to billions of people.

Unions across the world are taking action to address the cost-of-living crisis. In response, rather than engage positively in social dialogue, many governments are further restricting the fundamental right to strike. We will continue to defend the right to withdraw our labour to ensure decent work and to secure justice and freedom.

As we recall the great struggles fought and won by working women and men over so many decades, we recommit to building workers' power through organising and exercising that power to build a world founded on equity, solidarity, democracy and mutual respect. The dreams and aspirations of trade unions in the past became reality through collective action and it is time for the current generation to turn the aspiration for a world that puts people first into a reality.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates

May 01, 2023

International Workers Day

PSI May Day Statement: The strikes must go on

As we celebrate this day, we call on governments and employers to recognize and respect the right to strike as a fundamental right of all workers, especially those in the public sector.

As we commemorate this day, it is essential to reflect on the challenges that workers around the world face, especially in the public sector. One of the most significant issues that public sector workers face is the ability to exercise their right to strike. This fundamental right is enshrined in the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 87, which recognizes the right of workers to form and join unions and to engage in collective bargaining, including the right to strike.

The right to strike is a fundamental human right that allows workers to peacefully express their grievances and demand fair treatment and just compensation. Without this right, workers are left with limited options to address workplace issues and may suffer from unfair labor practices, wage discrimination, and unsafe working conditions.

In the public sector, where services are essential for the well-being of society, the right to strike is even more critical. Public sector workers provide essential services such as healthcare, education, and public safety, and their ability to strike ensures that they have a voice in decision-making processes that affect their jobs and the services they provide.

Strikes and other forms of collective action by workers have been an integral part of labor history for thousands of years. One of the earliest recorded strikes was the strike of the pyramid builders in ancient Egypt, which occurred around 1170 BCE. According to historical records, the workers who were building the pyramid of Pharaoh Ramses III went on strike due to delays in receiving their wages. Another early example of a strike was the strike of the salt miners in ancient Rome in 494 BCE. The salt miners went on strike to protest their working conditions and low wages, and their strike was successful in achieving their demands.

Despite this long and solid history, not a year goes by without factious elements in some part of the world trying to take away this right. In the US, for example, Michigan public sector workers are prohibited from striking under the state's Public Employment Relations Act. The law allows employers to seek court injunctions to prevent strikes, and striking workers may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination. Similarly, in Wisconsin, public sector workers are prohibited from striking under state law, and violating this prohibition can result in fines or even imprisonment.

In Kenya, the government has recently taken steps to restrict strikes by public sector workers, introducing in December 2020 the Public Service (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to prohibit strikes by essential service providers, including doctors, nurses, and teachers.

The UK passed in 2016 the Trade Union Act, which introduced stricter regulations for trade unions, including new rules for strike ballots and picketing, and also coined a new category of "important public services" to circumvent the ILO "essential services" definition.

In Ecuador, the government of President Lenin Moreno issued, in 2019, Executive Decree 884, which restricted the right to strike by public sector workers, including teachers, health workers, and public servants.

Lately, the strikes against pension reform in France have been savagely repressed by the Macron government police.

While fighting to redress these injustices, it is also our moral obligation to disobey these restrictions and uphold principles of justice and morality. Our right to strike is not a privilege, it is a fundamental human right enshrined in international law. We will not be intimidated by fines, disciplinary measures, or arrests. We will not allow the government to take away our ability to negotiate for fair wages and working conditions.

As we celebrate this day, we call on governments and employers to recognize and respect the right to strike as a fundamental right of all workers, especially those in the public sector. We urge them to engage in constructive dialogue with trade unions and to work towards ensuring that workers' rights are protected and respected. Only through these efforts can we create fair and just workplaces that benefit everyone.

In solidarity with all workers, we wish you a happy May 1st Celebration!

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

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