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ILO Labor Standards
The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
UPDATE: Trial of STAS union leader at Fyffes Honduras dropped
27.01.20: The scheduled January 22 trial of union leader Moisés Sánchez, general secretary of the IUF-affiliated STAS section at Fyffes' melon operations in Honduras, did not take place thanks to national and international pressure. An agreement was reached to resolve the complaints stemming from the construction of a road for the residents of the rural community La Permuta - a project approved by the municipal authorities - through direct negotiations between the parties (including the municipality) beginning in February.
The IUF regional organization has welcomed this first result of the strong pressure brought by STAS, the Network Against Anti-Union Violence in Honduras, the IUF and unions internationally, while warning that continued vigilance is needed.
Massmart must stop mass dismissal plans in South Africa
23 January 2020: UNI Global Union has called on Walmart-subsidiary, Massmart, to halt plans to close up to 34 stores in South Africa, which could put around 1,400 jobs at risk.
At a meeting in Barcelona this week, the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee unanimously adopted a solidarity statement urging Massmart and Walmart to revise their decision announced on 13 January, and to engage in constructive consultation with UNI affiliate, SACCAWU (South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union).
Speaking at the meeting, Louise Thipe from SACCAWU said: "The loss of even one worker is too many given that the rate of unemployment in South Africa is very high. Such a massive dismissal would create more poverty in society. The history of Walmart is well-known, there might be more dismissals. We are asking for your support. More voices might turn things around."
In the solidarity statement, the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee called on company management and South African authorities to take action to save jobs, saying:
Massmart, which is majority-owned by US retail giant Walmart, includes local brands such as Game, Makro, Builder's Warehouse and CBW. It is the second-largest distributor of consumer goods in Africa.
Honduras: Judicial persecution of union leader at Fyffes
21.01.20: The IUF and unions internationally are mobilizing to stop the judicial persecution of Honduran union leader Moisés Sanchéz, who faces up to 30 years' imprisonment on ludicrous charges in a courtroom on January 22. Sanchéz is general secretary of the sub-section of our affiliated agroindustrial union STAS on the melon farms of the transnational company Fyffes in Choluteca.
Moisés will be tried on January 22 on criminal charges stemming from the construction of an access road by the rural community of La Permuta in November 2018. The community assembly of La Permuta voted to construct the road on the basis of assurances by the mayor that the land was public property. Before the road was built, La Permuta residents had limited access to the farms in Choluteca, and were cut off during the rainy season. Now a local landowner who leases property to Fyffes has brought charges for 'land usurpation' against Moisés and 5 elected community leaders. Sanchéz is not an elected community leader, but simply one of some 450 residents of La Permuta who voted for construction of the road.
Sanchez, who survived a machete attack by assailants in 2017, the year he was also fired by Fyffes, is among the victims of anti-union violence under government protection. Since October 2019, he has again been the target of surveillance and threats.
In tripartite proceedings over 2018-2019 the ILO documented the grave threats to the lives and security of trade unionists in Honduras, including Moisés and other members and officers of STAS, and enjoined the government to take strong measures to protect those threatened with anti-union violence and allow trade unions including STAS to exercise their internationally-exercised rights in an environment free of violence and threats.
This attempt to imprison him on spurious charges appears part of the longstanding campaign to decimate STAS at Fyffes' Choluteca plantations.
The IUF and its regional organization for Latin America, together with the Network Against Anti-Union Violence in Honduras and unions internationally, have called on the government to drop the charges against Sanchéz and provide all necessary protection to STAS and other unions facing persecution and violence. STAS President Tomás Membreño says "We will accompany Moisés and we will mobilize in front of the court to demand justice."
The IUF has called on Fyffes to immediately cease its campaign of intimidation and harassment against STAS, recognize the elected leadership of the STAS local at Fyffes, and end its refusal to collectively bargain with the democratically elected, legitimate, independent STAS local union.
Turkish affiliate Güvenlik IS files criminal complaint against Loomis, demands the company respects workers' rights
16 January 2020: UNI's Turkish affiliate, Güvenlik IS, has filed a criminal complaint against Swedish cash-in-transit company, Loomis. The filing comes after several union activists were threatened by managers with dismissal if they continue their union membership.
The charges in the union's complaint, which has been accepted by a prosecutor, indicate that Loomis is breaking the commitment to freedom of association it made in the global agreement signed with UNI Global Union and the Swedish Transport Workers Union.
Loomis management in Stockholm denied that their local management is guilty of anti-union practices in Turkey and declined to step in or accept mediation. Their refusal to engage with the union left Güvenlik IS with no other options than the legal action, filed last year and accepted by prosecutors earlier this month.
The union, which represents private security workers, has been organizing workers to win recognition under Turkish law. However, as soon as the union filed for recognition, the union busting backlash began. Local Loomis managers started an anti-union campaign by intimidating, threatening and even dismissing 43 union members.
Workers at Loomis in Turkey have been calling out the company for harassment of union activists since it took over G4S's operations in the country. Despite widespread support from the workforce and crossing the legal threshold for recognition, the substandard working conditions and demands that the company addresses serious issues in the workplace have been ignored.
"These are serious violations that require an immediate action from the company," said Head of Property Services Eddy Stam. "However, the company has stonewalled us for months, even refusing the participation of our Turkish union representatives." "Güvenlik IS and UNI will keep pushing until the unlawful dismissals are compensated, and the company respects workers' right to freedom of association."
Indefinite strike for direct employment at Ibis Batignolles Hotel in Paris
15.01.20: Hotel housekeepers at the Ibis Batignolles Hotel, one of the rare hotels directly owned by the Accor group, have been on indefinite strike since July 17, 2019. The housekeepers are employed by the subcontracted service provider STN. They are paid by the room rather than by the hour. The work load is excessive and wages poor. And workers are being posted to other hotels to weaken the union and the strike.
The workers and their union CGT-HPE, the Parisian branch of IUF affiliate FCDS-CGT, denounce the inequality of treatment of subcontracted workers, who do not benefit from the same employment status as workers hired directly by the hotel (higher wages, food allowance, profit-sharing, incentives, various bonuses, etc.).
"This social dumping practice is unacceptable, and, as no discussion is possible with STN, the strikers at Ibis Batignolles are seeking to be employed directly by Ibis Batignolles", explains the CGT-HPE trade unionist Claude Levy. The hotel housekeepers are also demanding the withdrawal of the Macron government's pension reform.
The privatisation of education under the spotlight in the Caribbean
13.01.2020: On January 11-12 leaders of Education International member organisations in the Caribbean came together in Bridgetown, Barbados to develop a deeper understanding of Education International's Global Response to the privatisation and commercialisation of education and to consider the situation across their region.
During the two-day meeting, leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago shared their experience with commercialisation and privatisation trends in education in their countries.
The privatisation and commercialisation of education in the Caribbean will be mapped in a new research project, which will inform the development of national campaigns by member organisations of Education International. The research project will be a key element in helping to confront the threats posed by commercialisation and privatisation in education in the region.
"No part of the world is immune to the threat posed by commercialisation and privatisation," said Angelo Gavrielatos, Global Response Project Director. "In the interests of our students, members, and quality education for all, the expansion of Education International's Global Response to the commercialisation and privatisation of education across the globe is a priority."
Education International thanks the Canadian Teachers' Federation for the solidarity and support (financial and logistical) which has made this possible. Over the last four years, Education International's Global Response has driven the fight against the growing privatisation and commercialisation of education with member organisations in every region of the world.
ITF backs unions against 'slavery law' in Ukraine
10 Jan 2020: The ITF has joined with global unions and its Ukrainian affiliates to oppose a draft labour law that will severely undermine workers' rights and contravene national labour law and international labour standards.
Today, ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton has written to the president of Ukraine calling on his government to withdraw the law, which was introduced in Parliament on 27 December. Mr Cotton said: "With this new law, trade unions will become outsiders, they will be deprived of the right to participate in the development of policy in the area of labour relations, wages and social protection.
"The whole system of labour law and social protection is being dismantled. The law on labour has already been nicknamed a 'slavery law'. Massive transition to individual contracts will deprive workers of their rights, and every worker will have to individually bargain over their wages and working conditions... it is incumbent upon the government of Ukraine to withdraw this draft labour law without any delay."
In the letter, Mr Cotton reminds President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine's obligations under international law: "The draft law is in contravention of core international labour standards, undermines workers' fundamental rights and is a regression from the current Ukrainian national labour law."
The new law violates several International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that Ukraine has ratified including minimum wage fixing (no. 131), freedom of association and protection of the right to organise (no. 87) and right to organise and collective bargaining (no. 98).
Ukrainian trade union federations and ITF-affiliated unions are actively campaigning against the law, which has attracted strong international opposition from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Industriall global union and the European Public Services Union.
Dockers' Clause: A deal is a deal - and we are defending it
09 Jan 2020: Dockers unions, shop stewards and legal advisors from ten countries gathered in Rotterdam yesterday and pledged to take action to ensure that the new "Dockers' Clause" is correctly implemented, forming an international team of legal advisors to prepare for action against companies that do not comply with the clause.
The new agreement was signed in February 2018 by workers' and employers' representatives from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Employers' Council (IMEC). The amended clause (Article 4, Non-Seafarers Work commonly referred to as the "Dockers' Clause") which applies to all ITF approved agreements took effect worldwide in the same month, with two exceptions: Europe and Canada.
Europe and Canada were given almost two years additional time to prepare for the new rules - until 1 January 2020 - before the agreement entered into force on the explicit request of employers. Despite this generous arrangement, certain companies have refused to uphold the Dockers' Clause. Instead of contracting lashing companies, they waited until the clause entered into effect and now claim that enforcement is impossible.
Today workers' representatives in Europe (ETF) and globally (ITF) condemned the behaviour as unacceptable. "The Dockers' Clause was agreed for the health and safety of seafarers and dockers. Delaying its implementation jeopardizes safe working conditions and it constitutes a breach of the agreement" said Terje Samuelsen, ETF Dockers' section chair, commenting on the employers' actions.
"The Dockers' Clause, which came into effect on January 1, is important in two ways - for dockers to do the job safely and to ensure seafarers are no longer obligated to do a job that according to their CBA they're not supposed to be doing. I am surprised that shipowners - who knew this was coming for more than two years - still don't respect it," Samuelsen added.
Niek Stam, ITF Dockers' Section second vice chair said that it is important for seafarers as well as dockers that the clause is upheld.
"The Dockers' Clause secures safe working conditions for seafarers and for dockers. The clause was agreed that lashing work should be carried out by trained dockers! Trade unions are supporting the new Dockers' Clause and are ready and willing to defend it. A deal is a deal, and a signature is legally binding," affirmed Stam. "The agreement was negotiated and signed by both sides, and it is time for everyone to comply. The trade unions of Europe and Canada represented by ITF will keep their end of the promises, companies must keep their side of the bargain as well," said Stam.
An international team of legal advisors has been formed to make sure that companies will indeed comply. Delaying tactics on implementation of the agreement will not be accepted and the necessary legal measures are being prepared to ensure the deal is respected.
Indian workers strike back against Modi government's anti-worker policies
8 January, 2020: The nation-wide strike on 8 January witnessed the massive participation of over 250 million working people across India. In many states protesting workers were detained, but the strike remained peaceful.
The resentment against the Modi government and its anti-worker policies was evident as workers mobilized in large number throughout India. The joint trade union press release claimed that many provincial states in India, the strike was fully observed, while in some states there was a total industrial strike. IndustriALL India affiliates held joint protest demonstrations in the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Orissa and in many others.
Valter Sanches, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union said, "IndustriALL congratulates its Indian affiliates and the Indian trade union movement for mobilizing millions of workers and organizing a massively successful strike. In this genuine struggle to defend the rights of their members, IndustriALL stand shoulder to shoulder with the unions in India."
Earlier in a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Valter Sanches expressed serious concern over declining economic development, the rising retrenchment of workers across the country and a worsening employment crisis. He underlined that the charter of demands of the Indian trade union movement attempts to provide solutions to the problems of working people and called upon the government of India to immediately address the demands. He also sent a message of solidarity to Indian affiliates and urged IndustriALL affiliates around the world to support them.
Dr. G Sanjeeva Reddy, IndustriALL executive committee member and the president of INTUC said: "It is a very successful strike with full support from workers in organized and unorganized sectors and in rural and urban areas. We hope the government starts the discussion with the central trade unions to resolve our demands. If the government continues its intransigence, we are left with no option except to intensify workers' struggle. The future course of action will be decided jointly by all trade unions."
Sanjay Vadhavkar, IndustriALL executive committee member and general secretary of SMEFI said: "Workers active participation in the strike showed their anger against the governments anti-worker policies. More importantly, todays strike was joined by different sections of people all over the country. The government should change its course and address trade unions demands. If not, the government has to face strong resistance from workers."
The strike was jointly organized by central trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC. Financial sector associations and a large number of independent workers organizations participated in the strike. More importantly, the general strike also witnessed broad-based alliances with farmers, agricultural workers, students and teachers.
Draft labour law in Ukraine restricts union activities
7 January, 2020: Ukraine has a new draft labour law, which is in contravention of national labour law and international core labour standards, and will seriously undermine fundamental workers' rights.
IndustriALL Global Union joins Ukrainian affiliates, Ukrainian trade union federations, and the ITUC in strongly opposing the imposition of a new labour law, which was introduced in Parliament on 27 December, without any prior consultation with trade unions.
Its current provisions would seriously undermine fundamental workers' rights, allowing for unfair dismissals; short-term individual labour contracts, and zero hours' contracts; overtime becoming the norm, being paid at a fifth of current rates, and with normal working hours likely to exceed eight hours a day; abolition of some social guarantees, and reduced protection for mothers with small children, making their dismissal even easier; the possibility of transferring an employee to another workplace without their consent; banning of collective bargaining; and excluding unions from the workplace.
IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches says: "We are extremely concerned about the impact of this labour law on workers. "IndustriALL is calling on Ukraine's government to immediately remove the draft labour law, and act in full accordance with the commitments made at the national level with social partners, and at the international level through the strict respect and implementation of international labour conventions, which have been ratified by Ukraine."
The draft law is in contravention of national labour law and international core labour standards, including ILO Conventions 131 on Minimum Wage Fixing, Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise , and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.
The European Trade Union Confederation has pledged to raise the issue with the European Commission and Parliament on the basis that the draft law contradicts the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Uruguay becomes first country to ratify ILO Convention 190
16 January, 2020: Uruguay is the first country in the world to ratify the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 190, which recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation.
The new Convention and Recommendation were adopted at the International Labour Conference in June, 2019. The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment are a threat to equal opportunities and are unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.
The government of Uruguay submitted the ratification bill to Parliament in September 2019, and the House of Representatives unanimously adopted the bill on 17 December 2019, making Uruguay the first ILO Member State to ratify C190.
"As it has now ratified the ILO Convention, Uruguay will have to adopt an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. This will apply to both the private and public sectors, to the formal and informal economy, and in both urban or rural areas," said an official statement released by the Office of the President of Uruguay. The statement also said that legislation will require employers to take appropriate steps to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work.
The ratification process was facilitated by the fact that Uruguay already has laws in place to address some of the issues covered by C190, such as legislation on sexual harassment in the workplace and concerning student-teacher relationships, as well as on gender-based violence against women.
In November last year, IndustriALL Global Union launched a campaign to encourage affiliates to work together to ensure the ratification of the Convention and incorporation into domestic law. Through the gender office of Uruguay's central union PIT-CNT, IndustriALL's affiliates in Uruguay were actively involved in the tripartite talks on the ratification process.
Gender office representative and UNTMRA member Fernanda Ceballos says on the recent ratification: "We promoted the ratification of C190 in Uruguay from the gender equality and diversity office of PIT-CNT. We have worked on the issue of sexual harassment and zero tolerance of violence in the workplace for a long time, and we are very aware of the issue of raising awareness with the different unions through workshops on gender violence.
"In turn, we work on gender clauses, in conjunction with companies and the labour ministry. Once C190 was ratified, we held assemblies with UNTMRA to inform people of its scope. Many workers affiliated with UNTMRA have faced of sexual harassment at work, so we believe that ratification is very important to fight for a world of violence-free work."
IndustriALL's regional secretary, Marino Vani, says: "Convention 190 is an important tool for fighting discrimination and inequality in the workforce. We congratulate our affiliates in Uruguay for their tireless efforts to tackle gender-based violence, and the government for ratifying the new convention, which will help to create a world of work that is free of violence and harassment."
190 reasons and more for ratifying ILO C190
25 November 2019: Today we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The strongest message and best possible way of celebrating this International Day would be the announcement by several governments of the ratification of ILO Convention C190 on Violence and Harassment.
This new international instrument - Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 - on violence and harassment in the world of work was adopted at the Centenary International Labour Conference in June 2019.
Much progress has been made but we still have a long way to go. It is exactly two decades since the United Nations officially designated 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in memory of the three Mirabal sisters, assassinated in 1960 in the Dominican Republic. Public Services International (PSI) celebrates the adoption of Convention 190 as a major milestone and strongly urges all ILO Member States to ratify and implement it.
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary: "Violence and harassment is not part of life, it is not something you have to go through because you are a woman. The campaign for C190 was initiated by women trade unionists many years ago, fighting for the elimination of gender-based violence at work. It gathered momentum and obtained global consensus culminating with adoption of a new international instrument for everyone, dealing with violence and harassment in the world of work. This goes to show that the struggle for women's rights can advance the rights for all".
Call for ratification of ILO C87 in Malaysia
16 September 2019: Together with other unions in the country, IndustriALL's affiliates in Malaysia are calling on the government to immediately ratify ILO convention 87 on freedom of association and the right to organize.
Unions are saying that since the new government has taken steps to reform the Trade Union Act (1959) and the Industrial Relations Act (1967) by removing restrictive provisions that violate the principle of freedom of association, there are no obstacles for the government to ratify the convention, as domestic laws will soon be in compliance with the convention.
"The Malaysian union movement has been been urging the government to ratify the convention, and past leaderships of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) have tirelessly campaigned for its ratification. Saying that unions don't support the ratification is wrong and the call for a ten-year moratorium doesn't make sense," said Gopal Kishnam, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industry Workers (NUTEAIW) and Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) co-chairperson at a press conference during an LLRC Symposium on Freedom of Association on 8 September. Around 100 national union leaders and worker organization representatives attended the meeting.
"There is a misunderstanding that C87 promotes multiplicity of trade unions in workplaces and would add to disunity among Malaysian workers, but in fact the convention is instrumental in protecting workers' right to organize without interference from governments and employers. Effective and democratic unions will definitely have the unanimous support of workers," added Gopal.
"We believe that with the implementation of C87, Malaysian workers will prefer to join industrial union rather than enterprise union, as industry-wide bargaining has greater leverage safeguarding workers' interest and general well-being."
The LLRC was established in the wake of the first regime change at federal level in Malaysia in 2018, and is a coalition of 58 trade unions and NGOs and formerly known as the decent work working group. The coalition organizes consultation meetings with union leaders on reforming the Employment Act, Trade Union Act and Industrial Relations Act.
Trade Unions in South Korea for Ratification of ILO Core Conventions
15 April 2019 Today the Korean Construction Workers' Union (KCWU) affiliated to the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) held a rally demanding the government guarantee construction workers basic labor rights in front of Namdaemun on April 13th. Then they marched to join more than 20,000 at the main rally organized by its national center, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). The key demands of the main rally included ratify ILO core conventions including conventions 87 and 98; amend Article 2 of the Labour Union Act; and guarantee specially-employed workers such as self-employed, contractor, and "misclassified" workers basic labor rights."
In addressing the protesters, KCTU Chairman Kim Myeong Hwan stated, "President Moon Jae-in promised to guarantee specially-employed workers basic labor rights even before he took office, but he has failed to do so after three years from in office and now he is attempting to eliminate the right to association for specially employed workers. We call on President to keep his promise to workers in South Korea."
Lee Young Cheol, Chair of the Specially Employed Workers' Association and the Vice President of the KCWU added, "We must not forget the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the rights of workers for the past two decades. We will continue to fight and mobilize until the ILO General Assembly in June to ratify the ILO core conventions and revise the labor union law. The specially employed workers, will take the lead in this important struggle."
Following the rally, participants marched to the Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
The BWI along with UNI and ITF sent letters to the South Korean government this week calling for the immediate ratification of the ILO core conventions to ensure basic labor rights.
In the letter, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson urged President Moon Jae In to live up to his campaign promises to South Korean workers. He stated, "This is the 100th anniversary of the ILO. It would be only fitting that South Korea shows its commitment to abide by international standards by ratifying the core ILO conventions."
PSI supports KCTU's general strike for ratification of ILO Core Conventions without regression
05 March 2019: Social dialogue towards ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) in the Republic of Korea appears to be moving in the direction of actually weakening fundamental labour rights.
Public Services International (PSI) expresses its support for the KCTU General Strike and concern that social dialogue towards ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) in the Republic of Korea appears to be moving in the direction of actually weakening fundamental labour rights.
Discussions on ratification of ILO conventions and revision of labour law are currently taking place in the Committee on Improvement of Labour Relations Law and Practice of the Economic, a subcommittee of the Social and Labour Council (ESLC), a social dialogue body established by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The committee is scheduled to issue recommendations on labour law revision on March 7.
Public interest members of the committee have already issued recommendations on labour law revision, which fall well below international standards by failing to guarantee trade union rights for self-employed workers, maintaining restrictions on freedom of association and political activities for government employees and teachers, and calling for new concrete limitations on the participation of dismissed and unemployed workers and officers of unions formed above the company level. Legislation based on these recommendations, but that is even more restrictive, has already been proposed in the National Assembly.
Further, PSI has learned that employers' representatives involved in the ESLC process have called for further revisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Adjustment Act (TULRAA), which put even greater restrictions on trade union rights, particularly the right to strike, while granting employers new powers, such as to make claims of 'unfair labour practices' against unions. The Moon Jae-in government has indicated willingness to accept many of these demands, claiming this is necessary to win support for ratification of ILO conventions.
PSI is particularly concerned that throughout committee discussions, guarantees for self-employed and precarious workers are being side-lined. The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has, on several occasions, recommended that the South Korean government take the necessary steps to protect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining for these workers. The European Commission, which is currently engaged in formal consultation over the Korean government's failure to live up to obligations under the EU-ROK FTA, has also raised the issue of the exclusion of self-employed, unemployed and dismissed workers from the right to freedom of association as an essential issue the South Korean government must address.
The question of a system of minimum services in line with ILO standards has been left out of the discussion. As it now stands, the broad and vague definition of 'public interest businesses' in South Korean labour law means that many public institutions and other sectors not considered 'essential services in the strict sense of the term' have set excessively high levels of minimum services to be maintained during strikes and that employers may freely use replacement workers to break strikes.
The ILO has also recommended on several occasions that restrictions on the right to strike in workplaces that are not 'essential services in the strict sense of the term', such as railway, airlines and energy companies be keep to a minimum and that unions be granted the right to participate on equal footing with employers in deciding these minimum levels.
PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli has expressed her concern over these developments, stating: "Since 1996 when South Korea joined the OECD, the government has made repeated promises to the international community to ratify ILO Core Conventions and improve the legal framework on trade union rights. PSI welcomed President's Moon promise to live up to these commitments when he first took office, but has been disappointed by what has followed since. The current discussions that tie regressive revision of the labour law to ratification of ILO conventions and ignore past ILO recommendations are unacceptable. Dialogue concerning ratification of ILO conventions should take place following a strict commitment to the principle of non-regression in existing laws and with a view towards actually improving the rights of workers in South Korea."
International Labour Organisation - 50 for Freedom
Malta has become the 30th country worldwide to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced labour, thereby committing to take effective measures to prevent all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, protect victims and ensure their access to justice and compensation.
The Government of Malta has ratified the legally-binding treaty that requires countries to take new measures to tackle forced labour and modern slavery with a keen focus on protection, prevention and compensation.
"As the International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates its Centenary, we are faced with the realisation that the work and values that the organisation stands for remain relevant and applicable more so in today's world", Ambassador Olaph Terribile, Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva said. "Malta shall continue to seek and promote the enhancement of labour conditions both at a national level as well as within the appropriate multilateral platforms, confident in the belief that decent work is undeniably linked to sustainability and prosperity", he added.
The Government of Malta has taken significant measures to develop the legal and institutional framework for combatting trafficking in persons, including by criminalizing all forms of trafficking as well as forced labour, with penalties of four to 12 years imprisonment. Malta has also strengthened its efforts towards the protection of victims of trafficking in persons by enacting the "Victims of Crime Act" in April 2015, which includes provisions regarding access to assistance services and compensation. Moreover, the Anti-Human Trafficking Monitoring Committee was set up in 2011 for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of anti-trafficking policies. A National Referral Mechanism has also been active in Malta since 2013 and is mainly involved in the identification of victims or potential victims of trafficking.
The ILO Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryder, welcomed the step: "With the ratification of the Protocol, Malta once again confirms its commitment to promoting and implementing fundamental rights and principles at work".
This ratification supports the effective promotion of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Target 8.7 to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour, and represents a significant contribution to mark ILO's centenary. The ILO estimates that about 24.9 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, with 16 million people exploited in the private sector in activities such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million in forced labour imposed by state authorities. The ILO also estimates that this exploitation generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.
In November 2017, during the Global Conference on child labour and forced labour in Argentina, the European Union pledged to "promote actively swift ratification of the Forced Labour Protocol among EU members". Malta is the 14th EU member state to ratify the ILO Protocol on Forced Labour.