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News and Articles Relating to the Insurrection Against the United States of America on January 06, 2021 - (update June 29, 2022)

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ITUC Global Rights Index

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 2022 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

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A new social contract is needed to stop intensifying workers rights violations

29 June, 2022:   The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index is raising alarm over the shocking violations of workers fundamental rights that include the right to strike, to form and join a union, to register a union, and the right to collective bargaining. The right to justice is also being denied as well as freedoms of speech and assembly. In some countries workers are excluded from labour protection that is provided for in national laws and international labour standards.

The ITUC Index, launched online on 28 June under the theme - "Rebuilding trust with a new social contract" -- is an annual survey of 148 countries. Based on the findings, the Index is stressing that trade unions must fight against the push back on workers fundamental rights by employers and governments as seen in murders of trade unionists, violent attacks, arbitrary arrests, and detentions. Human rights and civil liberties are also being violated.

The ITUC Index states that trade unionists were murdered in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Ecuador, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iraq, Italy, Lesotho, Myanmar, Philippines, and South Africa. Further, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions took place in 69 countries with worst cases reported in Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Myanmar.

The worst violations of workers' rights occurred in the Middle East and North Africa while conflicts and coup d'états worsened the conditions for workers. Additionally, restricted access to justice is also increasing in Africa with reported incidences rising from 76-95 per cent from 2021 to 2022.

The world's 10 worst countries for workers identified in the Index are Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Eswatini, Guatemala, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Turkey. These countries are vicious against trade unions. They use regressive and repressive criminal laws, impede union formation, force unions to close, arbitrary and mass arrests of union leaders, anti-union discriminatory measures, union-busting and unfair dismissals of union leaders, violate collective agreements, murders and impunity, prosecution of strikers, violate freedom of assembly, police violence and brutal state repression of strikes and protests.

Several speakers narrated what is happening in their countries as confirmed by the ITUC Index.

Maung Maung from Myanmar said despite trade unionists having been killed, arrested, imprisoned, and harassed, "the revolution is holding on." However, most of the union leadership is in hiding or exile.

"The government of Brazil is hostile to trade unions and there is regression on workers' rights which are violated daily without limitation, especially against Black women workers," said Rosa Souza Fernandes.

Maksim Pazniakou said: There are unprecedented repressive measures in Belarus characterised by trumped up charges against union leaders. Further, the public prosecutor wants independent trade unions to be banned."

"There is hostility against trade unions and protesters including workers. Workers have been killed when state security forces used live bullets to disperse protesters," said Mduduzi Gina from Eswatini.

"It will take a new social contract with jobs, rights, social protection, just wages, equality, and inclusion to rebuild the trust that has been shattered by repressive governments and abusive companies. The social contract has been torn apart. But together we can write a new one," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary.

She said the new social contract must address precarious work, job creation and the Just Transition. Further, the social contract must find solutions to the high inequality, climate emergency, and the post-Covid 19 economic downturn.

"IndustriALL Global Union welcomes the ITUC Global Rights Index, which mirrors our campaigns against the gross violations of human and workers' rights in Myanmar, the arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of trade union leaders in Belarus, and the use of violence against striking workers in Bangladesh and Eswatini. "It is tragic to see that the situation for workers is worsening in country after country. Unions must be firm in their fight back, and IndustriALL will stand with our affiliates to win back the rights that have been taken from us, and to win new ones," says Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary.

The ITUC Global Rights Index has 97 indicators, derived from ILO fundamental rights at work, especially Convention 87 (freedom of association and protection of the right to organize) and Convention 98 (right to organize and collective bargaining), as well as international human rights law. The current report is for the period March 2021 to April 2022.

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

Multiple areas of crisis see workers' rights crumble: 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index

Key measures of abuse of workers' rights have reached record highs, according to the 2022 edition of the International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC) flagship Global Rights Index.

28-06-2022:   This ninth edition of the Index (available at ranks 148 countries by their respect for workers' rights. As a comprehensive review of workers' rights in law, it is the only database of its kind. Cases of violations and national ratings can be viewed by country and region.

Nine-year highs have been recorded in several areas:

  • 113 countries exclude workers from their right to establish or join a trade union, up from 106 in 2021 to 113. Workers were excluded from workplace representation in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Syria and Tunisia.
  • 77% of countries denied workers the right to establish and join a trade union.
  • Authorities in 74% of countries impeded the registration of unions, up from 59%, with state repression of independent union activity in Afghanistan, Belarus, Egypt, Jordan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Sudan.
  • 50 countries exposed workers to physical violence, up from 45 in 2021, including a rise of 35% to 43% of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and 12% to 26% in Europe.
  • 87% of countries violated the right to strike. Strikes in Belarus, Egypt, India, Myanmar, the Philippines and Sudan were met with the arrest of union leaders or with violent repression.
  • Four in five countries blocked collective bargaining. This right is being eroded in the public and private sector in every region. In Tunisia, no negotiations can take place with unions without authorisation from the head of government.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "We know that workers are on the front line of multiple and extraordinary crises: historic levels of inequality, the climate emergency, a pandemic destroying lives and livelihoods, and conflicts with devastating domestic and global impacts. "The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index exposes how this instability is being exploited with so many governments and employers attacking workers' rights.

"We must expose the wrongdoing to make governments realise they have to rebuild with a new social contract: jobs, wages, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion."

  • The ten worst countries for working people are Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Myanmar, the Philippines and Turkey, with Eswatini and Guatemala entering the list for 2022.
  • Country ratings improved for El Salvador, Niger and Saudi Arabia, but worsened for Armenia, Afghanistan, Australia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Jamaica, Lesotho, the Netherlands, Tunisia and Uruguay.
  • Trade unionists were killed in thirteen countries, 41% of countries denied or constrained freedom of speech and assembly, workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detentions in 69 countries, and 66% of countries denied or restricted workers access to justice, including a rise from 76% to 95% of countries in Africa.

"The world needs a new social contract to start to undo this damage. Fundamentally, this will put working people back at the centre of the economy. "Working people are the first to suffer the consequences of wars, authoritarian governments, exploitative employers and inaction on climate. Their interests must be put first in the decisions to tackle these crises, and they must have a voice in the decision-making through their unions.

"Where there is abusive monopoly power or violations of human and labour rights or a struggle for peace and democracy, unions of working people are there to win justice, rights and representation. And without unions, there will be no just transition in the face of climate change and technological change.

"The 2022 Index is more evidence that the status quo cannot continue. The economic model has supported a race to the bottom that disregards human rights and environmental standards. The nine years of data from the Index show that this is spreading.

"Workers and consumers demand better. They demand jobs, wages, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion. They demand a new social contract that can start to rebuild trust and lives."

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

Green aviation: trade unions demand strong international commitment with social sustainability and a Just Transition

21 Jun 2022:   ITF, IndustriALL, ETF and IndustriALL Europe Joint Statement

The transition to a more sustainable aviation sector will impact workers and trade unions are demanding concrete measures to ensure a just transition and a fair transformation of the sector which is inclusive and maintains and creates decent jobs.

This week, International and European trade unions representing workers in the aerospace and aviation sectors met to discuss a united position ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in September, at which it is hoped that the future pathway towards sustainable aviation will be agreed by international governments and key industry stakeholders.

At such a critical time, where the aviation industry faces the urgent challenge of responding the continued fallout from the Covid crisis, unions have identified the need for a coordinated industry-wide response from airlines, airports, governments, and unions to rectify capacity shortages, flight delays and beleaguered service levels that have plagued the industry for months.

Workers' participation is critical, not just in fixing the underlying issues that are currently crippling the industry, but crucially in the addressing the long-term sustainability and decarbonisation of the industry. Workers' participation will be essential in the social management of such a major industrial change. Climate justice cannot exist without labor justice with decent work being created through freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The meeting organized by IndustriALL Global Trade Union, International Transport Workers' Federation, and their European counterparts IndustriALL European Trade Union and the European Transport Workers' Federation follow successful collaboration on the Toulouse Declaration on the future sustainability and decarbonisation of aviation.

The aerospace and aviation sectors are intrinsically linked. Global trade union federations are particularly important in these processes playing a key role linking common needs and are essential in turning them into an international vision and strategy. Trade unions from both sectors see significant opportunities offered by a combined and cross-sectoral approach, based on a supply chain-wide vision and an international industrial strategy that is built on foundations of sustainability and decent work.

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

Progress for Domestic Workers' Rights, but most of the world lags behind

Despite progress in several countries in protecting the labour rights of domestic workers, most of the world still lags behind.

16-06-2022:   Thirty-five countries have now ratified ILO Convention 189, which was adopted 11 years ago today, along with Recommendation 201. These international standards provide vital protections for domestic workers, and provide a basis for trade unions and domestic workers' organisations to ensure that domestic workers are covered by labour legislation. Today, some 16% of the world's estimated 76 million domestic workers are covered, and only around 8% of countries, mostly in Arab and Asia-Pacific countries wholly exclude them from coverage.

Despite the progress, exploitation and abuse of domestic workers, most of whom are women, remains widespread. Live-in domestic workers and migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to poor working conditions. Exploitation, abuse, gender-based violence and harassment persist for many domestic workers.

Other decent work deficits persist as well, including excessive or undefined working hours, insufficient rest, low or non-payment of wages and lack of access to social protection. Globally, domestic workers earn around 56 per cent of the average monthly wages of other employees, and many of them are trapped in informal work.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC general Secretary, said "We welcome and support the work of so many unions and domestic workers' groups to get governments to recognise this undervalued and often exploitative work, and bringing these tens of millions of workers into the scope of labour legislation is a vital step. We call on all governments to do so, including with ratification of Convention 189. This is one of the largest occupational groups in the world, and there can be no excuse for depriving them of rights and protections."

The ITUC 4th World Women's Conference this year endorsed the care economy agenda as one of the critical pillars in its roadmap and outcome document, which embeds its commitment to ensure decent work for all care workers, including domestic workers.

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

Unions reject poverty minimum wages in Zimbabwe

15 June, 2022:   IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Zimbabwe that organize in the chemicals and plastics, energy, garment and textile, metals and engineering, mining, and other manufacturing sectors, are rejecting a minimum wage of ZWL $25,000 (US$77) that was announced by the ministry of public service, labour, and social welfare which they say is a poverty wage.

The money can only buy two dozen loaves of bread. The unions say to avoid living in poverty, the workers must be paid over ZWL $130,000 or US$400, and that the government must engage trade unions through social dialogue platforms before making the wage announcements.

The wage crisis in the country is leading unions to negotiate for shorter collective bargaining agreements with clauses stating that the wages must be adjusted to the inflation rate. Unions are also requesting employers to pay workers in the more stable US dollar.

Some grocery stores have stopped selling goods in the local currency, which is fast losing value. This puts workers into in a dilemma as they are forced to buy the US dollars on the streets where the rate is higher. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, year-on-year inflation in May was 131.7 per cent while the current exchange rate to the US dollar is ZWL$325.56.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, to which some IndustriALL affiliates are members, says the country's workers are the working poor as they earn below the poverty line. With high unemployment, estimated to be 47 per cent by Zimbabwe National Statistic Agency using the expanded rate, the workers are likely to be the breadwinners in their households. with most workers employed under precarious conditions in the informal sector, unions dispute the official unemployment rate as low.

Joseph Tanyanyiwa, the chairperson of the IndustriALL National Council for Zimbabwe says: "It is our strong view that the gazette minimum wage is too paltry and in no way related to the prevailing macro-economic fundamentals in Zimbabwe. The reality on the ground is that the prices of basic commodities are rising while the ZWL continues to depreciate against the Unites States Dollar. It is with this gloomy scenario that we wonder what criterion the minister used to set such a low minimum wage. A minimum wage of ZWL $25,000 is unreasonable, inadequate and a slap in the face of the workers.

"For years, Zimbabwean workers have been losing savings, pensions, and the value of their wages to hyperinflation and the unresolved economic crisis. When we thought the crisis was over, we are shocked to see that hyperinflation is again eroding workers' wages. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to implement sustainable economic policies that will protect the value of the workers' wages, improve living conditions, and stop the precarious working conditions prevailing in the country," says Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa.

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

ILO: Major breakthrough on occupational health and safety

Working people around the world are set to benefit directly from the decision today at the International Labour Conference (ILC) to recognise occupational health and safety as the fifth fundamental principle and right at work.

10-06-2022:   The change by the ILC - the UN parliament for workplace issues - is the first extension of workers' fundamental human rights in a quarter of a century. Over 3 million workers a year die because of their work and tens of millions more suffer injuries and ill health. This victory, from a sustained three-year campaign by trade unions, professionals and practitioners and victims' families, will begin to turn that deadly tide.

It adds the right to a healthy and safe working environment to the four rights adopted in 1998 by the International Labour Organization (ILO):

  • Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
  • The elimination of forced or compulsory labour.
  • The abolition of child labour.
  • The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

The ILC, which brings together unions, employers' representatives and governments from the member states, also adopted ILO Convention 155 on occupational health and safety and Convention 187 on promoting health and safety as 'fundamental conventions' that all ILO member countries are obliged to uphold. Such conventions are also often included in trade agreements, international financing rules and global supply chain standards.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "The COVID-19 pandemic showed beyond doubt that action was needed to protect workers who are all too often forced to choose between their health and their livelihood. No one should die just to make a living.

"Workers and unions around the world have marked International Workers' Memorial Day every 28 April mourning the dead and fighting for the living. Now we should celebrate this win and get down to making these rights effective."

Unions will now campaign to increase the number of countries ratifying and implementing all ILO health and safety conventions, giving workers the right to consultation over risk assessments, eradication of toxic chemicals and toxic work organisation including long hours, as well as free protective equipment and training and the right to refuse dangerous work.

Unions will also campaign to extend access to occupational health services beyond the 20% of workers worldwide who currently have it, as well as universal sick pay from day one, more powers for union workplace safety reps and more joint safety committees.

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

Solidarity sparks union renewal programme in Asia-Pacific

10 June 2022:   Thanks to the support of the Australian Education Union (AEU), the Education International's Asia-Pacific (EIAP) regional office/Council of Pacific Education (COPE) was able to organise a strategic planning meeting on trade union renewal for members of the Fiji Teachers' Union and the Fijian Teachers' Association.

The meeting aimed at developing new strategies to organise and mobilise the membership, prepare grassroots/workplace representatives for leadership, build a narrative around common issues, communicate that narrative for broader advocacy and outreach and foster partnerships through effective communication.

The EI affiliates in Fiji, Fijian Teachers Association and Fiji Teachers Union, with the support of AEU and EIAP/COPE were engaged in a two-day intensive strategic planning meeting on trade union renewal. Fourteen participants from both Fiji's unions attended this meeting held from 28-29 May in Nadi, Fiji. The meeting was facilitated by AEU Deputy Federal Secretary Nicole Calnan, Deputy President of the New South Wales Teachers Federation (affiliated to AEU) Henry Rajendra, and EIAP Chief Regional Coordinator Anand Singh.

The EIAP's regional research on trade union renewal, a basis

The EIAP's regional research - Union Renewal in the Education Sector: Prospects for Asia Pacific - was used as a basis for developing a programme for renewal for each union.

Informed by the research, participants highlighted the importance of working towards achieving a government-funded quality public education system for all, their union's strengths and weaknesses, union structures, priorities and where they can further develop. "Both unions identified their provision of services to members as a strength and increasing member engagement and participation as something they needed to build," acknowledged Singh.

He added his satisfaction that participants understood the "potential to make history" of such a renewal programme, discussions being centred around "change", "hope" and a "joint commitment" to build union and political power, to achieve the public education their country deserves. "Through this project, we are trying to build union power by empowering union members, union leadership at school level and improving the way education unions engage with other stakeholders such as parents, community and ministries," Singh further underlined.

FTA General Secretary Fijian Teachers Association, Puala Manumanunitoga, also stressed: "Thanks to EIAP and AEU, we are presented with this important opportunity to engage in constructive reflexion on our union and our work. We are eager to take this project forward to strengthen our union and build a more engaged and empowered membership."

Upcoming two-day renewal programme

Taking note of the priorities identified and the clear commitment from both unions, AEU proposed a two-day renewal programme revolving around training workplace union representatives and supporting the professional needs of the Fijian unions' members through a teacher development programme. The Fijian unions and EIAP regional office agreed on this renewal programme, to be led by the latter.

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

Global call for Belarus to release detained unionists

8 June, 2022:   For decades, trade union rights have been violated in Belarus. The recent, countless attacks against independent unions were taken before the Committee on the Application of Standards during the 110th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva on 7 June. And today, 8 June, unions around the world joined a global day of action, calling for the immediate release of Belarusian trade union leaders and activists.

The Belarussian government continues to blatantly ignore its obligations under ILO Convention 87. 18 years after the 2004 Commission of Inquiry recommendations, no meaningful progress has been made towards its implementation. The situation has dramatically deteriorated since 2020 and even more so in the last two months, with targeted, politically motivated suppression of independent trade unions. The government is systematically destroying independent and democratic trade unions, whose leaders are under constant attack.

At the moment, all leaders of independent unions in Belarus have either been arrested and later released, but prohibited to leave the country or disclose any information about their case, or remain in prison. Hundreds of union members have been subjected to harassment and intimidation and pressured to leave their unions. Activists have been interrogated and union offices have been bugged.

Workers in Belarus still need authorisation to establish a union. CAS has repeatedly demanded that all obstacles for registering unions are removed, both in law and in practice, and that there should be no special treatment of any particular union.

Over the last two years, the government of Belarus has grossly violated freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and a right to a fair trial by an independent and impartial judiciary - all basic preconditions for freedom of association. CAS has urged the government to amend several laws in conformity with freedom of association principles.

CAS is demanding:

  • An end to the repression of independent trade unions,
  • The release of detained leaders and activists and withdrawal of all charges
  • That all necessary measures are taken to ensure that independent unions, their leaders and activists can carry out trade union activities in a climate free from violence, intimidation or threat of any kind

The apparent lack of action by the government to follow up on the 2004 Commission of Inquiry recommendations and the 2021 CAS conclusions demonstrate a lack of commitment to ensure respect for its obligations under the ILO Constitution, and the lack of respect for the ILO supervisory system. Therefore, CAS is demanding to refer this issue to the session of the ILO Governing Body in November 2022 for consideration of additional measures.

In a joint statement on behalf of IndustriALL, PSI and ITF, IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said: "We urge the Belorussian government to change their course and commit to global democratic standards, and to demonstrate this commitment by releasing those union leaders who have been arrested and dropping all charges."

Trade unionists around the world demonstrated in solidarity with the imprisoned leaders of independent unions in Belarus today. In Geneva, representatives of the global labour movement gathered outside the UN building at Place des Nations, holding pictures of those who have been arrested. This was a reminder that attacks on unions are not just attacks on institutions, but on people - and that our brothers and sisters in Belarus are in prison for the crime of representing workers.

A symbolic role call was held: the names of the imprisoned trade unionists were read out, while the crowd responded "present, present, present."

Speakers linked the recent wave of repression in Belarus with the war in Ukraine, pointing out that attacks on independent trade unions intensified when union leaders spoke out against the war. Union leaders have consistently condemned the war, and called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Belarus. The demonstration was attended by a delegation of Ukrainian trade unionists, and Mikhailo Volynets, the chair of the Ukrainian miners' union NPGU, spoke in support of his Belarusian colleagues.

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

Building social protection for garment workers

2 June, 2022:   The Covid-19 pandemic left millions of garment workers around the world without jobs and pay, bringing to light the precarious work environment they have faced for decades. A change is needed in the sector, including an urgent need for social protection for garment workers.

On 31 May, IndustriALL and ILR School's New Conversation Project hosted a webinar to launch the recent report, "Security for Apparel Workers: Alternative Models". The report, commissioned to examine past efforts and possible models for advancing social protection in the global apparel and footwear sector, outlines existing approaches that have attempted to provide apparel workers with some degree of income security, and use those to assemble the necessary elements of a way forward for the development of sustainable systems of social protection.

Executive director of the ILR School's New Conversation Project Jason Judd, says: "Covid was a stress test for systems - private ones run by fashion brands and public ones built by national governments - to protect workers in the global apparel industry. Most were found wanting."

After addressing several other systems - including funds that were set up in the aftermath of a tragedy, like the Rana Plaza accident, as well as one responding to COVID-19 - the paper highlights that one match for the goals of a global social protection would be to set a model similar to the International Bargaining Forum. The Forum is the industry-wide framework established in 1999 for collective bargaining between the global seafarers' union, the International Transport Workers Federation- now representing nearly 150,000 seafarers - and a consortium of European vessel owners and shipping management firms.

"Of all the agreements and mechanisms reviewed above, we see this as the strongest in that it is specific and binding, covers multiple countries and is global in scope, includes industry funding for independent enforcement and work welfare, and has a governance structure rooted in collective bargaining. All of these elements could figure in a global social protection agreement, beginning with its form: a transnational collective bargaining agreement between unions such as IndustriALL and its affiliates, buyers and suppliers."

"The current supply chain model is built on cheap labour and avoiding responsibility; taking production to countries with no labour rights and little social protection. Without social protection, societies fall apart. Social protection is a public issue, but until that is a reality, we have to build a system with incentives to push governments and companies in the countries where they operate," says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Hoie.

The report recommends:

  • A global severance fund established with money provided as a result of an agreement between global unions and global brands.
  • A global governing body for unions, suppliers and fashion brands with a small number of seats (voting or observing) reserved for national governments, a representative of an international financial institution, and NGOs which are active in the apparel supply chain sphere.
  • National level bodies to monitor the process of establishing, improving national social security systems, educating workers about the fund and its purpose, and, potentially, a role in disbursing funds nationally.
  • An "inspection function" that allows union participants across dozens of countries, supported by the global fund, to verify compliance with the terms of the agreement

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

Better future for transport workers under Australian Labor

26 May 2022:   The International Transport Workers' Federation has welcomed the election of a Federal Labor Government in Australia, describing it as an opportunity to lift standards for workers and improve workplace safety across the transport supply chain.

ITF affiliates around the world have congratulated Australian unions for their part in defeating the outgoing conservative Morrison government.

"The election of a new Albanese Labor Government is a result of union members' long fight for justice and respect," said Paddy Crumlin, President of the ITF and chair of the ITF Dockers' Section. Crumlin is also National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia. "For nine long years, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have each done their part to persecute, vilify, undermine transport workers and our unions. The clear result coming out of this pivotal election means that we can all now work constructively to repair the damage done to working communities, addressing the issues of biggest importance to the Australian public, and especially for transport workers," said Crumlin.

National Strategic Fleet to revitalise Australian seafaring

Crumlin noted the commitments by Labor to reform the country's cabotage rules and build a National Strategic Fleet of Australian-crewed and Australian-flagged ships as both important to creating local jobs, securing the country's economic future and the nation's fuel security.

"These are the policies that some of us have put decades into seeing achieved. This is an important victory for all of Australia's maritime unions. This is the first step to creating local jobs and giving Australia the fuel security that we will need going forward into an uncertain century," said Crumlin.

"After this long period, and after selling out Australian seafarers and decimating their careers, the conservatives finally turned the corner and supported a strategic fleet," said Crumlin. "The election win, and now bipartisan support, is crucial to the revitalisation of this critical industry," he added.

Labor victory sees unions secure Safe Rates for trucking

The Labor Party has also pledged to introduce an independent body to set universal, binding standards in the trucking sector, designed to make the industry safer, fairer for workers and operators. The industry is in urgent need of the reforms, after a two-year inquiry by the federal parliament has exposed widespread, and deadly, safety issues facing drivers. The conservatives abolished Australia's road safety body in 2016. Since then, 1061 people have been killed in truck crashes, including 257 truck drivers.

ITF affiliate, the Transport Workers' Union of Australia (TWU), has welcomed the new Labor government's plan to deal with Australia's deadliest industry.

"We welcome the new Albanese Government's commitment to reinstate the 'Safe Rates' system. We've seen the tragic consequences that have resulted from the previous administration's decision to scrap the road safety watchdog," said ITF Inland Transport Sections Secretary Noel Coard.

"This is a decision that will save lives and ensure that Australian roads are safer for everyone on them, and it will also ensure that the all employers at all points in the supply chain are held accountable, especially bad actors like the gig-style Amazon Flex who has been dragging down standards and encouraging a race to the bottom in an industry," said Coard.

"Across the world, we are seeing the Amazon Flex model of underpaying and controlling transport workers via apps and algorithms. Multinationals like Amazon need to be reined in, and we're glad to hear that the new government is committed to working with unions to do that," said Coard.

Aviation workers breathe sigh of relief

The new government's election is also a welcome relief for aviation workers in Australia, who have been stood-down and outsourced in illegal actions by employers that the federal conservatives did nothing to stop. Albanese's Labor has promised to bring more stability to the industry, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Labor has said the race to the bottom on wages and conditions in this industry must also be addressed.

ITF Sydney co-ordinator, Scott McDine said aviation needed a national plan from the government: "Aviation workers have increasingly carried the load for the Morrison government, whose callous indifference during the pandemic has left these workers with increasing insecurity. They have been stood down, illegally sacked and subject to ever increasing insecurity."

Aviation is absolutely essential to a nation as big as Australia said ITF Aviation Section Secretary Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez. "Australia is dependent on aviation and we need an industry that's secure and attractive enough to attract and retain skilled aviation workers. That's not going to happen as long as the government of the day allows this industry to be only known for its cuts to crew, safety and its misplaced commitment to outsourcing."

ALP to put the 'public' back in transport

ITF affiliates the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and the TWU campaigned for the Labor Party to promise better public transport. The change of government is likely to see more trains, trams and buses being constructed and delivered to the networks of Australia through the party's commitment to local procurement.

"We welcome the election of the Labor Party and its pledges to work with our affiliates on lifting investment in public transport, investment that will create decent, union jobs. This will give Australians both better access to services, and that opportunity to reduce their reliance on carbon-intensive private vehicles," said Alana Dave, ITF Urban Transport Director.

ITF General Secretary Steve Cotton concluded: "This is a victory for Australian transport workers and their unions, who have campaigned, kept the faith, and worked tremendously hard to see not only a change of government - but a change of a direction that will have a material impact on transport workers' lives."

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

ITUC General Council adopts World Congress framework and admits new affiliates

The 26th meeting of the ITUC General Council, 18-20 May, has adopted a draft statement to be debated at the 5th ITUC World Congress.

24-05-2022:   The Council also agreed on the agenda and programme for the Congress, which will take place in Melbourne, Australia, 17 - 22 November this year.

The Council re-affirmed the gender parity requirements set out in the ITUC Constitution for the composition of delegations to the Congress and set a target for at least 15% of delegates to be young people. The draft Congress Statement, which elaborates the theme "A New Social Contract", reiterates the ITUC's commitment to peace, democracy and rights, and analyses three major and converging challenges to working people:

  1. Climate change.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic and global health.
  3. Technology and digitalisation.

It sets out a policy and action agenda around the six fundamental pillars of the new social contract: jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality and inclusion, and highlights key ways in which the ITUC will implement its agenda in the years ahead. The Council agenda included a review of main ITUC activities since November 2021, a report on the work of the Committee on Workers' Capital and a report on developments at the International Labour Organisation, which will hold its annual Conference from 27 May to 11 June.

The Council welcomed the election of Gilbert Houngbo, the candidate supported by the ITUC, to take office as the new ILO Director General from October.

The Maldives Trade Union Congress (MTUC) and Konfederasaun Sindikatu Timor Leste (KSTL East Timor) were accepted into ITUC affiliation, and the Council confirmed the suspension of the FNPR Russian Federation on the recommendation of a Commission of Inquiry established by the Council. It also pressed the case for peace in Ukraine and the end of other armed conflicts around the world.

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

13-month campaign leads to union win

19 May, 2022:   Thirteen months of continuous campaigning has led to a union win for Triumph International Thailand Labour Union (TITLU). Now Brilliant Alliance Thai Global (BAT) will pay the money owed to the 1,388 illegally fired workers.

The 1,388 workers were fired without notice in March 2021 as the factory, supplying lingerie brands Victoria's Secret, Torrid and Lane Bryant, suddenly closed, using the pandemic and a lack of orders as reasons. The workers, mostly women, were left in dire conditions in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the factory owners refused to pay wages, overtime, holiday and severance pay owed.

The Thai labour inspector ordered the company to pay THB 242million (US$7.4 million) for violating the country's labour laws. The company offered to pay workers in instalments over a 10-year period. When this was rejected by the union, the company went into liquidation and promised to fulfil its legal obligations. Since there was no further movement, TITLU, together with the Textile Workers Federation of Thailand (TWFT) and the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT), held several demonstrations demanding that the company and the government fulfil workers' rights under the labour laws.

On 14 February, Valentine's day, IndustriALL organized a regional day of action and unionists from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines and Thailand participated in store actions, a social media campaign and sending protest letters to the brands, demanding that the workers be paid immediately.

After negotiations, the company has now agreed to pay US$8 million in total to the lingerie workers by the end of April. The amount includes the wages, overtime, holiday and severance pay that BAT owed the workers, as well as eight per cent per annum interest.

"It is a great victory which is the result of the international labour movement cooperating to protect the rights of 1,388 workers to receive their severance pay. Thank you for all the efforts that led to this success," says Prasit Prasopsuk, CILT president.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL director of textile and garment industry says: "Through the perseverance of the workers, the Triumph union leadership and countless international actions of solidarity, a 13-month long struggle concludes with an agreement that pays the BAT workers their legal severance. "This is why IndustriALL is demanding that a strong social safety net be the solution to the continued problem of wage theft that plagues the textile and garment supply chain. Now is the time for a global and enforceable agreement between trade unions, global brands, and their suppliers on social protection."

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

2022 International Nurses Day and Second COVID-19 Global Summit

May 12, 2022:   PSI joins its nursing affiliates across the world to commemorate the 2022 International Nurses Day (IND). This year's IND comes up as G20 countries gather virtually for the Second Global COVID-19 Summit, amid a global tidal wave of strikes and protests of nurses and other health workers.

In Turkey, Sri Lanka, Australia, Slovenia and Finland, nurses and other health workers have demanded appropriate recognition of the role they play as the backbone of health systems. This requires improved wages and working conditions and adequate staffing for safe and effective healthcare delivery.

World leaders need to go beyond empty words and applause for nurses. They need to "mobilize the funding and political will required to achieve global targets for COVID-19 response" and realization for the right to health. This requires prioritizing of investment in the training and employment of nurses and the broader health workforce, on a basis of the decent work agenda.

It might appear that we are putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, in some parts of the world. This is because, in those countries-which are the wealthier nations, vaccination coverage has soared to upwards of 90 percent plus; testing rates and access to therapeutics, including oral antivirals, are near universal; and personal protective equipment is available to nurses and other health workers.

But in Africa, for example, just 15% of the population has been vaccinated. And this includes just one out of every four health workers. The reason for this worrisome situation is that wealthy countries have backed biopharmaceutical corporations making sickening extents of super-profits, using the weapon of intellectual property rights. And this is although those governments supported these corporations with over a hundred billion dollars to develop the vaccines.

As the emergence of variants of concern such as Omicron shows, no one is safe until we are all safe. And for everybody to be safe, we need a minimum of 70% vaccine coverage across every country in the world. The global "vaccine apartheid" is analogous to the global inequalities we see when we look at access to healthcare and healthcare workers. There is a global health and social workforce shortage even before the pandemic. It was projected that this would reach 18 million by 2030, which is now barely seven years away.

Specifically, with the nursing profession, there was a shortage of just under 6 million nurses, on the eve of the pandemic, as captured in the World Health Organization's State of the World's Nursing 2020 report issued on World Health Day 2020.

Last year, the International Council of Nurses argued that the number might have more than doubled during the pandemic, to 13 million. The reason for this projection is quite clear. Millions of experienced nurses have had to leave the profession, due to lack of adequate occupational safety and health measures, poor wages - including wage ceilings, and burnout. Meanwhile, younger people who see what nurses and other health workers are going through, despite their central roles in the pandemic response, now find the profession less attractive to younger people.

In the 2020 State of the World's Nursing report, the WHO also showed that 80 percent of the shortage of 6 million nurses worldwide was in low - and middle-income countries (LMICs). Meanwhile, thousands of nurses migrate from these countries to the wealthier countries because of poor wages and working conditions.

Tax havens

The fiscal policy space of governments in LMICs to invest adequately in education, jobs and leadership of nurses is constricted by conditionalities of international financial institutions, illicit financial flows, and tax avoidance.

The State of Tax Justice 2020 report, for example, shows that one nurse's salary is lost to tax havens every second. To put it in another way, $427 billion in tax is lost to international corporate tax abuse and evasion every year. This amount would cover the annual salaries of 34 million nurses. Meanwhile, the global nursing and midwifery workforce comprises 27 million women and men!

So, it is not because of lack of resources that nurses are overworked because health systems are understaffed or underpaid and not provided with adequate protection at the workplace. The problem is systemic; the wealth (and tax theft) of a handful of persons and their corporations have been made to matter much more than the lives of nurses and all of us, the 99%. An important lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is not yet over, is that we need to reorganize society along the lines of priorities and perspectives that clearly and unambiguously put the people and planet before profit.

PSI will continue to urge world leaders to draw this correct lesson. PSI nursing affiliates are also showing their realization of an important lesson with their ongoing wave of mass strikes. This is that, even though the good sense is clear in the need for improved public funding of nursing and decent work for nurses, we will not win it without struggle. PSI stands for and will continue to promote the collective might of nurses in their struggles across the world. Viva nurses of the world!

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

USA: NLRB Files in Federal Court Seeking Immediate Reinstatement for Seven Starbucks Workers in Memphis

May 10, 2022:   Today, NLRB Region 15-New Orleans Regional Director Kathleen McKinney petitioned in United States District Court for injunctive relief for seven former Starbucks employees in Memphis, Tennessee who were unlawfully fired for exercising their right to form a union. Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act authorizes the National Labor Relations Board to seek injunctions against employers and unions in federal district courts to stop unfair labor practices where, due to the passage of time, the normal Board processes are likely to be inadequate to effectively remedy the alleged violations.

The petition explains that after learning about the organizing effort, Starbucks directed a wide variety of coercive measures at its employees, including disciplining the employee responsible for starting the campaign; more closely supervising its employees; closing the area of the store on days organizers had previously invited the public and customers to come to show support for the campaign; and removing all pro-union materials from the community bulletin board inside the store, including notes authored by customers expressing support for the employees and their campaign. Then, following increased media coverage and public support for the campaign, Starbucks terminated seven Union activists all on the same day, including five of the six members of the union organizing committee.

The Regional Director is asking the Court to order Starbucks to, among other things, cease and desist from committing unfair labor practices in violation of the Act, and to reinstate the seven former employees who were unlawfully terminated.

"Given Starbucks' egregious conduct interfering with the federally protected rights of its employees, we are asking the Court to swiftly grant the injunction," said Region 15 Regional Director Kathleen McKinney. "Without immediate interim relief from this Court, Starbucks could irreparably harm the campaign in Memphis, and send a chilling message to its employees across the country that they too will suffer the same fate as the terminated Memphis employees if they dare to exercise their right to engage in protected activities. It is crucial that these seven employees be reinstated and that Starbucks cease its unlawful conduct immediately so that all Starbucks workers can fully and freely exercise their labor rights."

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

Eswatini garment workers continue strike amid intimidation and harassment

5 May, 2022:   Despite intimidation by security forces, textile and garment workers in Eswatini are continuing their strike for living wages. Five weeks into the strike, the workers are reiterating their request for at least E15 per hour or E2983 (US$183) per month.

The workers determination comes amid attempts to stop the strike through intimidation and harassment by the police and the army. The union says the security forces are going as far as visiting workers homes and demanding that the workers must go back to work or face eviction from their places of residence. According to reports teargas has been fired into some of the residences.

Wander Mkhonza, ATUSWA secretary general says: "Although we are fatigued - it has been a long five weeks - the strike goes on. We will continue to fight with everything within our power as a union until our demands are met. We are only fighting for living wages for our members, and I would like to emphasize that this is a labour dispute between workers and the employer. However, we are shocked by the threats to our members by security forces who are not part of the wage dispute."

Contrary to the action by the security forces, the ministry of labour and social security said in its Workers' Day statement that the government respected the International Labour Organization (ILO) "fundamental principles and rights at work." Earlier the ministry had said the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, should take the grievances to the Textile and Apparel Sector Wages Council which is composed of employers, workers, and the government.

ATUSWA, which is leading the strike, says instead of addressing the wage dispute, the employers are colluding with the Government of Eswatini, which is supposed to be neutral, to intimidate and harass the union and the strikers.

Around 2,000 workers met on 2 May at Nhlangano industrial area - a hub of textile and garment factories - to reaffirm their commitment to the strike action. Some walked for more than 8 km to attend the mass meeting where 30 workers spoke in support of the strike, which they say must continue until their demands for living wages are met.

Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa says: "We support the ATUSWA led strike and the demands for living wages as the cost of living is going up. As per IndustriALL congress resolution we call on the government of Eswatini to respect workers' rights to strike and to collective bargaining. The government must respect the workers human rights and stop the intimidation and harassment.

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

May Day - May 01, 2022

International Workers Day

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