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The Nation: Workers of the Music World Are Uniting-and Winning   |   American Prospect: A Great Week for American Labor   |   Labor Notes: Rutgers Strike Wins Big But More is Needed to Change Higher Education   |   Truthout: Labor Organizers Launch a New Model for the Fight Against Private Equity   |   American Federation of Government Employees Membership Continues to Rise for 7 Consecutive Months   |   HuffPost: Medieval Times Charged With Illegal Union-Busting At California Castle   |   AlterNet: Opinion: How union workers are breaking new barriers   |    International Domestic Workers Federation and Elizabeth Tang Receives The Arthur Svensson Prize 2023   |   International Labor Organization: World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023   |   Common Dreams: Senate Urged to Confirm Julie Su After Key Panel Advances Labor Secretary Nominee   |   Pittsburgh Union Progress: published by striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette   |   The Guardian: US hotel workers face unwelcome guests: union busters hired by bosses   |   Canada: USW: Pension protection bill, a win for and by workers   |   Labor Press: Carpenters Union backs push to turn wage theft into felony

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 May 26, 2023

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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) 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

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

Support Striking Post Gazette Workers

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

Protect the Right to Strike

International Workers Memorial Day: Call to strengthen global tools to limit trade in toxic chemicals

28/04/2023:   On April 28, International Workers Memorial Day, we mourn those killed at work and pledge to fight hard for the living by winning safer workplaces.

In 2022, the ILO's International Labour Conference agreed to include the right to a safe and healthy workplaces as a fundamental right at work alongside the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association, equality, no forced labour and no child labour.

Exposure to pesticides regularly kills or destroys the health of thousands of agricultural workers. A shocking report in 2021 estimated that there are 385 million cases of unintentional, acute pesticide poisonings annually including 11,000 fatalities among farmers and farmworkers.

This year, the IUF is joining with global unions and national federations to demand more effective control of the international trade in hazardous chemicals. There are more than 350,000 chemicals circulating in the global economy, supposedly controlled by the Rotterdam Convention; however, the labour movement has been highly critical of the Convention for its weak procedure resulting in the failure to control paraquat and asbestos. Also concerning is the influence of the pesticides industry over the application of the Convention.

Currently, the Convention's Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure for hazardous chemicals and pesticides ensures that countries exporting pesticides must seek the prior informed consent of the importing countries before shipping; however, to list products using the PIC procedure requires consensus. This requirement, initially introduced to foster cooperation, has instead evolved into a veto mechanism that is now threatening the viability and effectiveness of the Convention. A small group of countries continue to block the listing of several highly hazardous substances.

In May 2023, the 11th Conference of Parties for the Rotterdam Convention will be meeting in Geneva, and the IUF along with sister global unions will be campaigning for the adoption of a new annex to the Convention which will allow parties who want to share information about a substance considered dangerous by the Chemical Review Committee to do so, even when the listing of the substance has been blocked by a failure to reach consensus. Listing on the new annex will require a 75% majority vote. Furthermore, for chemicals listed in the new Annex VIII, explicit prior informed consent will be required from the importing country before the hazardous substances can be shipped.

In addition to union support, the amendment is strongly supported by many countries and numerous experts including three UN Special Rapporteurs: Marcos Orellana, Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights; David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment; and Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

They have issued a joint statement which recognizes the importance of the Rotterdam Convention as a "tool to advance the right to information and effectively prevent exposure of people, soil, and water resources to toxics" but criticizes the procedure which allows a handful of countries to "persistently block the listing of hazardous chemicals."

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

28 April - world day for safety and health at work

28 April, 2023:   Health and safety is a fundamental principle and right at work. IndustriALL Global Union is campaigning for the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, amendments to the Rotterdam Convention and the ratification of ILO Convention 176.

It is estimated that more than 3 million workers die every year because of their work, and tens of millions are injured. 28 April is International Workers' Memorial Day, a day to remind us that health and safety at work is neither a perk to be bargained for nor a favour to be asked. It is our right. In the workplace.

While fatal accidents have fallen, the fatal frequency rate - the number of fatalities per million hours worked, is not evenly distributed across sectors and regions, with mining, shipbuilding and ship breaking, textiles, electronics, chemicals, showing disproportionate impacts. On the other hand, occupational diseases continue to kill more workers across sectors, also at disproportionate sector and country level, more than the fatality frequency rate.

In June last year, the International Labour Conference in Geneva added health and safety to the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This means that ILO member states commit to respect and promote the fundamental right to a safe and health working environment, whether or not they have ratified the relevant ILO Conventions.

Shipbreaking is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. This year is crucial for improving safety, because Bangladesh has committed to ratifying the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC). When the Convention enters into force, it will create a health and safety baseline that will drive up conditions and transform the lives of shipbreaking workers on the subcontinent and elsewhere.

When the floating tonnage of the world's fleet reaches the end of its useful life, ships - and other ocean-based vessels, including oil rigs - need to be broken and recycled. Most ships are broken in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, by migrant workers on precarious contracts with minimal training and safety equipment. The work is extremely tough, very dangerous, and with the partial exception of India, generally done by hand.

Ships are beached, and then dragged with chains by labourers to the breaking area. They are manually cut into blocks with torches and dismantled with sledgehammers. Fatal accidents are frequent: a common cause of death is falling from height with a recently cut sheet of steel. In Gadani in Pakistan in 2016, work commenced before fuel was removed from a ship, leading to an explosion that killed 28 workers. Workers are exposed to carcinogens and other toxic substances, as well as environmental contamination. Housing and medical care are inadequate, as is access to clean water.

In India, the situation for shipbreaking workers is changing: the combination of a strong union, ASSRGWA, part of IndustriALL affiliate SMEFI, and the ratification by India of the HKC has meant that safety has dramatically improved. Instead of breaking ships on beaches, most yards now use impermeable floors. Blocks are moved by crane, and some yards have joint union-management health and safety committees and the right to refuse unsafe work. And yet even in India, the accident rate remains unacceptably high, with eight fatal accidents in 2022. IndustriALL believes that only a joint health and safety committee that covers the whole port area that falls under the jurisdiction of the Gujarat Maritime Board will be sufficient to stamp out dangerous practices.

In Bangladesh and Pakistan, shipbreaking is still done by hand. And while India has ratified the HKC, it has not yet entered into force, meaning unscrupulous shipowners can recycle their ships cheaply in dangerous yards. All eyes are on Bangladesh, and the opportunity to use the HKC to transform the industry.

Pakistan's dangerous mines

A joint contender for most dangerous job in the world is coal mining in Pakistan, where miners die every week in primitive coal mines. In 2021-2022, more than 300 mining deaths were reported. Unions believe many deaths go unreported.

The deaths present a colossal failure on many levels: by mine owners and operators, by the state, and by a society that has come to accept the death toll as inevitable. Despite well-established mining safety protocols, preventable accidents happen almost every day. Pakistan's Mines Act is 100 years old - and yet many mines fail to adhere to it. Pakistan lacks the ability and the will to enforce its laws, with inadequate safety and labour inspectorates.

Many mines are operated illegally, in tribal areas outside the effective jurisdiction of the government. Owners are often based offshore, paying local contractors to extract coal for use in the domestic industry. Workers - many of them migrants from Afghanistan - are employed as day labourers, with no rights and no safety equipment. Local militias provide security. When accidents happen, there is seldom an emergency response, and workers have to dig their colleagues out themselves. Unable to change the situation, local unions focus on reporting the growing death toll like a litany of destruction.

To change the situation, the fatalism that paralyses the government and society must be challenged. The government of Pakistan must ratify and implement ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines. The government must develop - with the support of the ILO, IndustriALL, and other willing actors - a safety inspectorate that can tackle the crisis. And the government must assert its authority to close down and seize mines operate illegally or in contravention of safety standards.

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

UNI Mourns Horrific Loss of Alex Dolorosa, BIEN Organizer in the Philippines

25.04.23:   UNI Global Union is devastated by the brutal murder of Alex Dolorosa, an organizer for UNI affiliate BIEN in the Philippines. Alex was a passionate and dedicated organizer who devoted his life to improving the working conditions and rights of workers in the call centre industry. He worked tirelessly in Bacolod City, and his commitment to the cause of workers' rights was an inspiration to all who knew him.

We were shocked to learn that Alex went missing over the weekend and was found yesterday on the outskirts of Bacolod city, having suffered 23 stab wounds. The circumstances surrounding his murder are still unclear, but we are outraged that such a dedicated and committed organizer should meet such a violent and senseless end.

The UNI Global Union family sends our deepest condolences to Alex's family, friends, and colleagues. We stand with them in grief and in solidarity in the face of this tragedy. We call on the authorities in the Philippines to conduct a thorough investigation into Alex's murder and to bring those responsible to justice.

This is a stark reminder of the risks that organizers and union members face in some parts of the world. UNI reaffirms our commitment to promoting and defending the rights of workers everywhere, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the voices of workers are heard and their rights are protected.

We will honour Alex's memory by continuing the struggle for workers' rights in the Philippines and around the world.

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

ITF and IUF forge Tourism Workers Alliance to drive rethink of global tourism model

20 Apr 2023 Press Release:   St John's, Antigua - The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF) have joined forces to create the Tourism Workers' Alliance. The Alliance is a collaborative trade union initiative designed to align the efforts of the ITF and IUF to amplify the voices of over 270 million tourism and transport workers.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the ITF Tourism Services Section Conference in Antigua and Barbuda to establish the Alliance to better protect the rights and safeguard the futures of travel and tourism workers worldwide.

The agreement comes in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis which hit the tourism sector and tourism-dependent economies extremely hard. At the height of the pandemic, global job losses in the tourism workforce exceeded more than 62 million workers, and amplified existing inequalities between men and women, formal and informal workers and migrants and national workers.

The four-year agreement creates a framework of joint participation to:

  • Collectively develop an organising strategy to bolster union representation across the sector.
  • Shape policy development and monitor the implementation of agreements in critical areas such as environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG).
  • Launch targeted campaigns to engage and influence employers, stakeholders and global institutions to improve labour standards including the UN World Tourism Organisation.
  • Advocate for industry reform through the adoption of the International Labour Organisation's conclusions on the sustainable recovery of the tourism sector.

Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary said: "While it's welcome news that travel and tourism numbers are sharply rebounding, that shouldn't distract from the gaping flaws in the sector's current business model that the pandemic laid bare. The Tourism Workers' Alliance will align efforts by the ITF and IUF to organise tourism workers, elevate their collective voice, shape global and regional policy and secure better collective agreements across the tourism sector and its supply chains."

Sue Longley, IUF General Secretary said: "This agreement is an important step forward in securing a safe, fair and sustainable future for a strategically important sector that employs hundreds of millions of people worldwide and serves as a catalyst for economic growth and social development. With the sector on a strong path to recovery, governments, international institutions and employers must negotiate with trade unions to redefine the industry with workers at its centre. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are key to improving working conditions, wages, occupational health and safety, social protections, and gender equality."

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President said: "If you look at the agreement it represents what, as a global labour movement, we should be doing. In signing this MoU we are making a joint commitment to build momentum in our work. We have the passion, desire and commitment to amplify the voices of millions of tourism workers, and now is the time to realise our shared ambition for the industry to transition into one that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable."

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members in 700 affiliated trade unions from 147 countries

Google Korea workers form a union

14.04.23:   Google Korea workers have formed a union this week with the Korea Finance & Service Workers Union (KFSWU). The union held its first general meeting on 11 April, where it elected its leadership.

The push to organize began after Google's parent company Alphabet announced a 6 per cent cut to its global workforce, or around 12,000 employees, in January. In early March, Google Korea notified employees about layoffs.

KIM Jong-sub, who was elected president of the Google Korea Workers Union, said, "As the wind of layoffs continues to sweep the U.S. IT industry, employees who are feeling the pain of unilateral dismissals and continuous job insecurity have been sparked into action, and since last month, we have been working hard to establish our union."

The union notes that Google Korea has been called a "dream workplace" for years, but like other big tech companies - Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and Meta - the dream is over.

The union plans to organize hundreds of workers at Google Korea and Google Cloud Korea to protect labour rights at the company. The KFSWU already has members at Oracle, Hewlett Packard, SAP, and Microsoft Korea. Google Korea workers union will be the fifth multinational IT or tech corporation organized in Korea.

"We welcome Google Korea workers to the union family and congratulate them on taking this step," said Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary of UNI Asia & Pacific. "Google workers throughout Asia - and throughout the world - are organizing because they want a voice, and they want to put an end to this ongoing precarity. We stand with them."

UNI Global Union is helping Google worker unions coordinate demands and actions across national borders.

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

Ukrainian unions committed to peace and reconstruction

13 April, 2023:   On 11 April, IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe held a joint strategy meeting in the Polish border town of Lancut with thirteen Ukrainian affiliates to plan future actions and activities to reinforce unity, solidarity and commitment for Ukraine.

The meeting took place just before the East sub-regional meeting of industriAll Europe and affiliated trade unions from Poland, the Czech Republik, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia welcomed their Ukrainian sisters and brothers. Participants discussed human and labour rights violations in the areas of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation. Representatives of the Human Rights' Monitoring Mission in Ukraine attended the meeting and shared their work on how to best report violations of trade union rights.

Casper Edmonds from the sectoral policies department (SECTOR) of the ILO and Gocha Aleksandria from the ILO Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) attended the meeting to exchange on violations of workers' rights to freedom of association, forced labour and the right to a safe and healthy working environment.

"The war, occupation and aggression by Russia in Ukraine has a huge negative impact on our country's economy, and we welcome the opportunity in this meeting to discuss the problems and find ways to solve them," said Valeriy Matov, President of the nuclear energy workers union Atomprofspilka.

In the agricultural machinery sector, many companies have been destroyed and had their logistics and sales blocked. In the energy sector, infrastructure was deliberately destroyed by artillery fire, bombing and drones, but energy workers managed to repair substations and power lines, risking their lives in extremely difficult conditions. In the oil and gas sector, companies were the first to be destroyed at the beginning of the war, and many oil storage facilities and oil products were burnt down. Likewise, twenty-one petrochemical companies were destroyed, resulting- in high risks of environmental disasters.

With five power plants, the nuclear energy sector has been a primary target and the Chernobyl plant was seized whilst the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, was occupied. It is reported that Russian forces took over the plant and mistreated workers. Out of 11,000 employees before the war, only 1,200 remain at the plant. The coal sector has faced many difficulties and in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, ten mines were destroyed. On 21 November 2022, about 2,000 mine workers remained underground amid shelling and power outages. 40% of Ukraine's steel industry was lost, and the Azovstal and Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol destroyed. Avdiivka Coke in Donetsk Oblast, home to Europe's largest coke plant, was surrounded by Russian forces.

Participants committed to continue reporting all the facts to international agencies in order to defend their members on the ground. IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe will cooperate with the ILO to organise a joint event in Kyiv in the coming months to follow up on the agreed plan.

The meeting also discussed the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine towards a peaceful and prosperous future through a sustainable economy with a strong manufacturing sector, which used to be the backbone of the country's economy. It was agreed to work together to develop an industrial policy vision in the context the Just Transition programme, which will play an important role in advocacy work. Participants were clear that investment must not be at the expense of workers' rights. In this context, modifications to various enacted and planned labour laws were discussed and concerns expressed. Social conditionalities will be requested in interactions with international agencies and European Union authorities in the context of Ukraine's accession process.

"Our commitment to our Ukranian affiliates will continue with strong concrete support from our industriAll Europe family since Ukraine has been granted candidate country status by the EU. We will make every effort to prepare our Ukrainian affiliates in the integration process and for sure, social and labour rights will remain a priority," said Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe.

"With this important gathering we have reiterated our unwavering support for our Ukrainian sisters and brothers. Our two organizations will continue to respond to the needs our our affiliates in Ukraine by mobilising all our efforts and resources. Ukrainian unions play an important role in the reconstruction of their country with a viable social and economic life and our solidarity is with them," said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.

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

Major global brands implicated in blatant violation of drivers' rights as wildcat strike continues

12 Apr 2023 PRESS RELEASE:   Joint statement from the International Transport Workers' Federation and European Transport Workers' Federation

London, Brussels - Major multinationals and the European Commission can no longer ignore the widespread rights violations and profiteering from cheap subcontracted labour exposed by the wildcat truckers' strike currently underway in Gräfenhausen, Germany.

A strike by over 60 truck drivers who have been unpaid for months exposes the dark underbelly of an industry that carries over 90 percent of freight within Europe. The workers, mostly from Uzbekistan and Georgia, have parked up their trucks at the Gräfenhausen rest area near Frankfurt, Germany, for the last two weeks and have vowed not to surrender the vehicles until they are properly paid.

The drivers have been forced into working long hours, often sleeping in their cabs and pressurised into unsafe practices. The company they work for, the Polish consortium Lukmaz, Agmaz and Imperia, work in the supply chain of major corporations including Volkswagen. Under German 'due diligence' laws, these corporations are ultimately responsible for labour abuses in their supply chains.

"These drivers are standing up and demanding to be treated with decency and to be paid for their work," said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF). "It is unbelievable that instead of immediately paying the wages owed to these drivers, their employer arrived at the picket line in an armoured car with hired thugs to intimidate workers and attempt to confiscate their trucks." "This sense of impunity has been caused by years of indifference from major multinationals and European legislators who didn't care about the abuses in critical supply chains as long as the goods continued to arrive on time."

The European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) has today written to the European institutions and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) highlighting this strike and demanding immediate measures and actions that guarantee drivers' decent rates of pay and protections that preserve their safety and recognise their critical role in European supply chains, with a particular focus on preventing the exploitation of third country nationals working in Europe.

"The extraordinary courage these drivers are demonstrating in the face of ruthless threats and intimidation has shone a light on the reality for thousands of truck drivers transporting goods all over Europe," said Livia Spera, ETF General Secretary.

"For multinationals and their transport suppliers who have been exploiting every loophole in European legislation, or flagrantly violating European law, to maximise profits at the expense of employment standards, this strike has put them on notice." "Drivers have had enough of the exploitation and the millions of transport workers in Europe and globally stand with them as they say enough is enough."

The drivers have authorised European and Georgian trade union representatives to negotiate on their behalf.

"We call on Lukmas, Agmaz and Imperia to negotiate and pay all drivers what is owed them," said Spera. "And it's time for the multinationals implicated in this dispute to wake up to their responsibilities and ensure compliance in their supply chains."

Under the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains introduced on 1 January 2023, and international best practice, the onus is on users of supply chains and transport companies - the customers of transport companies like IKEA, Volkswagen, CH Robinson, LKW Walter and Sennder reported in this case - to prevent and mitigate human rights abuses and ensure that worker rights are preserved in their supply chains.

"The ITF and its 18 million members, together with the ETF and its five million members, are proud to stand with the striking drivers. We will continue to ramp up solidarity actions for these brave drivers until their demands are met," said Cotton.

About the ITF: The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of transport workers' unions recognised as the world's leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions and workers' networks from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the almost 20 million women and men who move the world.

About the ETF: The European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) represents over 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions across Europe, from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Central and Eastern Europe, in over 30 countries. The ETF's work is driven by its vision for Fair Transport: quality jobs with safe, reliable transport services for customers

Stop repression in Eswatini

6 April, 2023:   Trade unions and civil society organizations call for national dialogue on democratic reforms in Eswatini, Africa's last absolute monarchy, amid repression by the police and state security.

In support of the trade unions and civil society organizations, the ITUC is calling for Eswatini Global Day of Action on 13 April.

Unions say there appears to be no political will on the part of the Government of Eswatini to start dialogue. Instead, unions say that their leadership and that of civil society organizations live in fear following the assassination of prominent human rights activist and lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was shot dead on 21 January allegedly by hired "mercenaries." Maseko was the chairperson of the MultiStakeholders Forum which together with the Political Parties Assembly and other organizations are calling for democratic reforms through dialogue facilitated by the Southern African Development Community.

Hundreds of protesters have died from injuries sustained in brutal attacks by state security agencies while others have been hospitalised or forced into exile. Some have been imprisoned included two Members of Parliament.

King Mswati III, Eswatini's absolute ruler, who as the head of state has all executive powers to appoint the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, judges, and with powers to dissolve parliament, appears not to be interested in the proposed dialogue. The king, who has a net worth of over $200 million, is known for a lavish lifestyle. For instance, in 2018 he bought 12 Rolls Royces, for himself and the royal family. This purchase met with heavy criticism from unions and civil society who argued that the money would have been better spent towards reducing poverty which is over 60 per cent.

IndustriALL Global Union supports the ITUC Global Day of Action and its 3rd Congress in 2021 adopted a resolution in support of democratic reforms for Eswatini in which it stated commitment to "support the people of Eswatini as they continue to fight for democratic reforms' and demanded "the respect and protection of human rights including the right to life, rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and the rule of law." Further the resolution called for "national dialogue for democratic reforms that will allow for the democratic election of the Prime Minister and to review the country's constitution to allow for the transfer of executive powers from the kind to a democratically elected leadership.

At an official side event of the Summit for Democracy in Zambia on 20 March, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the International Domestic Workers Federation, the Solidarity Centre, ITUC-Africa, ITUC CSI IGB and the Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council, and the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland, gave solidarity messages in support of the campaign for democracy in Eswatini under the theme: "Amplifying the voices of workers to safeguard democracy in Africa." The organizations concurred during discussions that there will be no democracy without workers' rights.

Wander Mkhonza, Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) secretary general says: "We appreciate global solidarity in support of the working class struggle for democracy in Swaziland. The government must recognize that we have a role to play in the democratization and future of our country. The king must enter negotiations and respect freedoms and human rights."

ATUSWA is affiliated to IndustriALL.

Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary says: "We are concerned by the lack of the commencement of dialogue on democratic reforms in Eswatini. It is sad that a culture of fear has replaced the optimism that trade union and civil society had a few years ago on a possible transition to democratic rule. We call upon the government of Eswatini to start the engagement process with all key stakeholders."

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

Labour 20 statement: G20 labour ministers must address urgent issues for working people

As working people around the world grapple with a dire economic and social situation, the Labour 20 (L20) is calling for swift measures to address the most pressing issues: low wages in times of high inflation, the need for millions of new, quality jobs and access to social protection and public services.

03-04-2023:   The global labour market has been severely impacted by macroeconomic choices, such as tightening monetary policies, wage suppression and austerity. Hundreds of millions of people are unemployed, billions work in informality and an estimated 214 million are in jobs of such a low quality that their wages are insufficient to lift them out of extreme poverty.

The G20 Labour Ministers have previously made commitments on labour-income share, fair wage principles and workers' rights, but the implementation of these commitments has been slow. Under the Indian Presidency of the G20, ministers will focus on extending social protection to platform workers, improving the financing of social protection systems, and closing global skills gaps.

To address these and underlying challenges, the L20 is calling on G20 Labour Ministers to:

  • Advocate for fiscal and monetary policies that deliver a just transition and address the enormous investment gaps in public services, social protection and infrastructure.
  • Ensure that all workers, including platform workers, benefit from the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and have access to social protection in line with ILO Convention C102 on Social Security and Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors.
  • Call for an expansion of the contributory base of social protection systems with formalisation strategies, elimination of tax evasion and avoidance, progressive taxation and a global social protection fund for the poorest countries.

The L20 urges ministers to discuss and coordinate policy and funding for a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy with quality job creation in renewable energy, ecosystem restoration and public green infrastructure and services. The full L20 statement here.

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

US Department of Labor Hosts Summit for Democracy Highlighting the Importance of Unions in Upholding Democratic Rights

News Release: March 28, 2023:   WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Thea Lee hosted representatives from the U.S. Department of State and worker organization leaders today for the discussion, "No Democracy Without Unions: Labor Movements as Defenders of Democratic Rights." This event, held at the department's Frances Perkins Building headquarters in Washington, was part of the Summit for Democracy and the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment and Rights.

In keynote remarks, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights at the State Department Uzra Zeya spoke about U.S. government efforts to strengthen unions and safeguard democracy, particularly by meeting with trade unions to hear directly from workers, defending trade unionists from discrimination, building union capacity, and working with likeminded partners to build coalitions.

The event convened a panel focusing on unions as essential components of democratic societies, which included Executive Director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity Kalpona Akter, Department of State Special Representative for International Labor Affairs Kelly Fay Rodriguez, President of the National Education Association Becky Pringle, and President of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas and Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Fred Redmond.

"Even within ostensibly stable democracies, economic and social exclusion can force working families to the margins of civic and political life," said Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Thea Lee. "Persistent inequity and unequal opportunity can undermine a fundamental promise of democracy-that all citizens should share in progress. Just as they've done for over a century, democratic labor movements today offer collective voice to workers standing up against disenfranchisement, racism, sexism, and xenophobia and advocating for their seat at the table."

During the event, participants also heard video testimony from labor leaders who remain under threat, including Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar President Maung Maung, and Salidarnast union leader Lizaveta Merliak in Belarus.

Source:  United States Department of Labor / Bureau of International Labor Affairs

USA: New York State AFL-CIO: Healthcare Workers Hold Historic Rally in Albany

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