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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. Relevant NEWS and ARTICLES
After massive mobilization, Italian unions reach historic national agreement with Amazon
16 September 2021: Amazon workers everywhere are celebrating a historic, first-ever national agreement between Amazon and the Italian trade unions.
"An important agreement...and recognition of the role of the unions, marking something new, at a world level, in relations with the e-commerce giant," said the head of the CGIL union Maurizio Landini.
The agreement, which establishes mutual recognition of the parties and creates a national protocol in the logistics, freight transport and shipping sectors was signed on September 15 by the national secretariats of Filt Cgil, Fit Cisl and Uilt, and temporary agency union in the presence of the Minister of Labor Andrea Orlando.
"This historic national agreement signed today between Italian unions and Amazon and supported the Italian Minister of Labour is big win for all Amazon workers anywhere," said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. "More than any other company, Amazon has benefited from a global health crisis that has allowed the tech giant to deliver record revenue and profits. Conditions in its warehouses and for delivery drivers during the pandemic have exposed the company as a brutal employer who treats workers as disposable inputs. It's a positive first step and a testament to the determination of Amazon workers that Amazon has agreed to negotiate with the Italian unions and start on a pathway towards real social dialogue and collective bargaining. Only through bargaining will this work become sustainable and appealing."
Earlier this year Amazon workers in Italy staged a strike over demands on delivery drivers in the pandemic in the first such action by Amazon's logistics operation in the country. This 24-hour general mobilization of all workers in the Amazon supply chain in Italy, from Amazon's direct employees at the warehouses, to the employees working at Amazon's contractor companies supplying logistics services, handling and distribution of goods, had an extraordinary outcome with strong worker participation, which has aroused great interest. The protest came after a surge in Amazon's e-commerce business triggered by the health emergency.
The agreement allows negotiations to begin on issues such as schedules, shifts, workloads, job classifications, on stable employment relationships, on matters relating to health, safety, and prevention at work, professional development and on economic issues such as performance bonuses. Amazon is also already covered by the national sectoral agreement for the industries involved, which governs other issues.
UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 different countries in the fastest growing service sectors in the world. UNI and our affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure these jobs are decent and workers' rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.
Three Zimbabwean textile, garment, shoe, and leather unions merge
16 September, 2021: After years of negotiating for a merger, three IndustriALL Global Union affiliates organizing in the textile, garment, shoe, and leather sectors held their inaugural congress in Harare on 12 September to form the Clothing, Leather and Textile Workers Federation (CLTWF).
The three unions that merged - the National Union of the Clothing Industry (NUCI), the Zimbabwe Leather, Shoe and Allied Workers Union (ZLSAWU), and the Zimbabwe Textile Workers' Union (ZTWU) - agreed to work collectively in strengthening recruitment and organizing towards building a stronger union. As part of its plans to be inclusive, the CLTWF also formed youth and women committees during the launch.
However, the CLTWF is confronted by many of the challenges that the sector is facing globally. Further, in Zimbabwe the challenges are worsened by an economic crisis that has seen factories close and workers retrenched while wage theft is spreading.
The working conditions in the sector are precarious. In some instances, working days have been reduced and wages are low with some workers saying they earn $8 000 Zimbabwe Dollars (US$94 on the official rate and US$57 on the parallel market). The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a family of six needs over $40 000 Zimbabwe Dollars per month, and this means the current wages are not enough for workers to pay for their basic needs.
According to reports, the decline in manufacturing industries caused by the country's deindustrialization, weakened the cotton-to-clothes value chain and leather and shoe manufacturing. Further, the unstable local currency, foreign currency shortages, high inflation, and huge imports of second-hand and cheap clothing is adversely affecting the sector. Economic policies are also failing to revive the textile and garment industries.
Joseph Tanyanyiwa, the newly elected general secretary of CLTWF says: "Although the merger is long overdue, it is an opportunity to plan collectively and shape the future of our sectors by fighting for workers' rights, living wages, and organizing more members. We would also like to thank IndustriALL, national affiliates, and unions in Sub Saharan Africa for supporting the merger and for giving us support in developing our five-year strategic plan."
"We welcome the merger as it brings unity and strength to the union. This is important in building union power in the textile, garment, shoe and leather sectors in Zimbabwe considering the challenges that have been brought by the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis," says Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa.
USA: Update: BCTGM Reaches Tentative Agreement for Nabisco Workers
15 Sep 2021: Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) President Anthony Shelton issued the following statement following negotiations between the BCTGM and Nabisco/Mondelez:
"Very late last night, BCTGM negotiators reached a tentative agreement with Nabisco/Mondelez on a new contract. In the coming days, the Local Union officers on the bargaining committee will present the tentative agreement to their respective memberships who will then vote on the agreement. I want to thank and commend all of the members of the bargaining committee for their many, many hours of extremely hard work to reach this tentative agreement. As always in our Union, the members will have the final say on the contract."
Ukraine: ITUC concerned about wave of regressive labour laws
The ITUC has written jointly with the ETUC to senior politicians in Ukraine to raise serious concerns about ongoing regressive labour reforms in the country.
10-09-2021: Several draft laws are being considered by the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) that are incompatible with international and regional labour standards, which has been confirmed by several reports, including by International Labour Organization (ILO) in the country.
The letter to the president, prime minister and chair of the Verkhovna Rada, explains that in their current form, draft laws 5388 and 5371 contain numerous violations, including:
ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, said: "The officials in Ukraine must not ignore this serious criticism of these laws that comes directly from the ILO technical assistance programmes, including with the European Union, which the government benefits from, as well as from labour law experts and Ukrainian unions. The draft laws are simply not compatible with international labour standards.
"We call on the government and parliament to respect these standards, to fully utilise ILO expertise and assistance, and sit down with the Ukrainian social partners to work on this together and ensure that all working people benefit from economic, social and democratic change in Ukraine."
Meanwhile, the Verkhovna Rada recently adopted the law "On Stimulating Digital Economy Development" despite strong criticism by Ukrainian unions. The law establishes a special category of "gig-specialists" and special "gig-contracts" that create the conditions for exploitation. The changes deprive IT workers of pay guarantees, rights to holiday, regulated working hours, safe working conditions, protection against unlawful dismissal, and the rights to join a trade union, strike and conclude collective agreements.
The ITUC Global Rights Index rates Ukraine as 5 - no guarantee of rights for working people.
Victories for public transport workers at ILO - but much work ahead
09 Sep 2021: Last week's discussions on decent work in public transport at the International Labour Organization produced several positive outcomes for public transport workers and the future of the sector as a whole.
The ILO technical meeting on the future of decent and sustainable work in urban transport services brought together governments, employer and unions to discuss challenges in the sector and identify opportunities for the future. While disagreement remains on some issues, the three delegations were able to lay foundations for the improvement of decent work in public transport.
This was highlighted by the three delegations agreeing to define the sector as "a basic service, a facilitator of mobility and an enabler of other rights", with a particular emphasis of the role of public transport in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting also recognised an extensive list of international labour standards relevant to the sector, including those relating to fundamental labour rights, occupational safety and health (OSH) and standards for public contracts aimed at removing labour costs from competition over services.
For the workers' delegation - made up of representatives from national unions, the ITF, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Public Services International (PSI) and others - the achievement of these recommendations was particularly significant. These can now be used in organising, bargaining, campaigning and influencing policy around the world.
The workers delegation also won commitments on several other key issues, including:'
"This was a week full of tough negotiations and frank dialogue," said Wol-san Liem, Director of International Affairs at the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU) and Vice-Chair of the ITF Urban Transport Steering Committee, who led the workers' delegation. "In spite of some difficult moments we're pleased with the outcomes we achieved, supporting the efforts of public transport workers around the globe to achieve decent work and a sustainable sector."
"These achievements can now be fed back into the ITF's work on public transport, from organising workers in response to bus rapid transit projects in African cities, to The Future is Public Transport campaign calling for a just transition. We look forward to continuing to build capacity and partnerships globally, which the ILO has committed to," said Liem.
The ITF would like to thank our partners in the workers' delegation, as well as participants from the government and employer delegations. In particular, we look forward to further constructive dialogue with our sectoral social partner, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), as well as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and C40 Cities.
ITUC-Asia Pacific demands the immediate release of KCTU President Yang Kyeung-soo
2 September 2021: The ITUC-Asia Pacific demands the immediate release of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) President Yang Kyeung-soo who was arrested this morning, 2 September 2021. The arrest took place in a raid of the KCTU headquarters 20 days after a warrant was issued to President Yang by the Seoul Central District Court for organising a rally on 3 July, which allegedly violates the Act on Demonstration and Assembly and the Act on Infectious Disease Prevention and Control.
The International Trade Union Confederation has maintained in its earlier statement that the arrest warrant was "wrong and disproportionate" as the participants observed social distancing rules and necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing of masks and temperature checks.
"We condemn the unjust arrest of KCTU President Yang and demand his immediate release. The arrest of President Yang and the raiding of the KCTU headquarters are clearly an attempt to suppress workers' freedom of association and the right to peaceful assembly. The Korean government must stop using the pandemic to justify the crackdown on peaceful assemblies. It is in this challenging time that the rights of the workers must rather be protected and respected," Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the ITUC-Asia Pacific said.
On 20 October, KCTU will hold a nationwide strike to demand fundamental labour rights for all workers, a Just Transition, and stronger public services and social protection. The nationwide strike is expected to be participated by a million attendees.
"The ITUC-Asia Pacific also denounces the police's insistence to conduct the investigation and President Yang's trial under his detention. This is an apparent manoeuvre to prevent the KCTU from organising the nationwide strike on 20 October," Shoya Yoshida said.
Shoya Yoshida echoes the statement of KCTU, "Indeed, the actions against President Yang will not successfully quell the voices of the Korean workers, but will rather fuel the discontent of the workers who remain adamant in their legitimate demands to protect and save lives and jobs of the Korean workers amidst the crisis. We stand in solidarity with KCTU and their members, especially to President Yang, in their struggle."
IndustriALL and Daimler sign innovative global agreement
1 September, 2021: IndustriALL Global Union has renewed a global agreement on social responsibility and human rights with German auto giant Daimler, promoting universal labour rights and a transnational approach to the representation of employee interests.
The renewed agreement, 'Principles of Social Responsibility and Human Rights', was signed by Daimler corporate management, the Daimler World Employee Committee and IndustriALL Global Union on 1 September.
Key aspects of the agreement include:
Valter Sanches, a former Daimler worker who also served on the World Employee Committee (WEC) and on Daimler supervisory board, says: "I am particularly grateful that we have renewed this agreement with improvements, as I participated as WEC member in negotiations of the original GFA, signed in 2002 with the International Metalworkers Federation. Daimler was among the pioneering companies to sign a GFA. The agreement contains a number of innovative points, like on the role and the protection of human rights defenders and whistleblowers, as well as the importance of data protection and the use of artificial intelligence, underlining that the digital world has to remain under human control. It has also a strong language related to business partners and suppliers to follow the same principles.
"The commitment to training and lifelong learning is key to prevent the risk that a significant number of workers are left behind as the automotive industry is going through a profound transformation. The agreement sets a playfield for unions and management to promote a Just Transition to ensure that there is a fair chance for everybody to manage the challenges of today and of tomorrow."
Public transport workers to set new agenda at International Labour Organization
30 Aug 2021: This week, workers and unions are bringing forward a transformative agenda at the ILO's first social dialogue on public transport since the 1960s.
An ILO technical meeting on the future of decent and sustainable work in urban transport services is taking place this week, with some delegates travelling to Geneva to participate in person while others join remotely from around the world. ILO technical meetings are tripartite discussions dedicated to a particular sector or issue that build towards calls for action for governments, employers, unions and the ILO itself on the issue. The ILO has not hosted one related to public transport since 1965.
"Public transport workers have been on the front line of the pandemic in almost every country, maintaining vital services so that others like nurses and doctors have been able to do their jobs. Many workers have died in the line of duty to keep our cities connected," said Wol-san Liem, who is leading the workers' delegation for the week. "Almost two years on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there could not be a more important time for governments, employers and unions to sit down and consider the challenges to decent work in the public transport sector worldwide," said Liem.
The technical meeting will consider a range of critical issues affecting public transport, in addition to a focus on occupational safety and health in response to the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These additional areas include: the expansion of informal work and non-standard forms of employment, including through the gig economy; gender-based occupational segregation; the impact of new technologies; the role of the sector in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions; the impact of contracting out and subcontracting; and new trends towards insourcing and remunicipalisation.
As the global union federation representing transport workers, the ITF is the prime mover in the workers' delegation to the technical meeting. As mentioned, the delegation is led by Wol-san Liem, Director of International Affairs for the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union (KPTU ) and Vice-Chair of the ITF Urban Transport Steering Committee, and includes representatives from some of the key ITF-affiliated unions in the sector. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Public Services International (PSI) and the Global Labour Institute (GLI) also form part of the delegation.
This week, the workers' delegation will be bringing forward two resolutions for tripartite agreement. The first calls for worker-led formalisation of informal services and jobs, ensuring that public transport workers in many cities of the global south have access to fundamental labour rights, decent jobs and a just transition. The second highlights the need for governments to reinvest in public transport, both to drive the economic recovery from the pandemic and assist the fight against climate catastrophe.
In addition, the delegation will make a strong case for a rights-centred approach to public transport, which recognises it as a basic service to which all should have equal access. This includes the protection of fundamental rights for all workers in the sector, including women and young workers and workers in private and subcontracted companies, informal services and the gig economy.
"We look forward to constructive and fruitful engagement with the government and employers' delegations, and to conclusions and resolutions from the meeting which can support jobs and services in a thriving public transport sector in the years and decades to come" said Liem.
PSI congratulates Korean firefighters for victory in their struggle to unionise
AUG 29, 2021: After over a decade of struggle, firefighters in Korea have finally had their right to organise into trade unions recognised. PSI congratulates them on their historic victory.M/p>
Firefighters have been denied the right to unionise and collectively bargain in several countries across the Asia Pacific region, despite the International Labour Organization (ILO) repeatedly affirming their right to form and join unions of their own. Across the region, firefighters have fought to attain and exercise these rights.
In Korea, laws preventing uniformed officers and those involved in matters of national security from unionising have been resisted by firefighters for over fifteen years. This struggle began in 2006, when firefighters initiated a campaign for their trade union rights to be recognised. The following year, they formed the Fire Fighting Development Conference (FFDC), which affiliated with Public Services International (PSI) in 2012.
In December 2020, Korea amended its domestic labour laws in order to ratify the ILO core conventions, and the right to organise and collectively bargain for firefighters was finally recognised. The law came into force on 1 July, with the FFDC relaunched as the Firefighters Division of KGEU (Korean Government Employees Union) on 6 July. Mr. Hae-Gune Park, former Chair of the FFDC, is now Head of the Division.
PSI congratulates the Korean firefighters on their historic victory, along with the many thousands of public sector workers who stood by their side in achieving this, often risking repercussions for doing so. Thousands of firefighters have now joined the union, which is federated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), marking further growth for the union movement in Korea as it continues to build the power needed to create a more just society for all workers.
PSI has supported firefighters across the Asia Pacific region to challenge restrictions on the right to unionise. We have raised cases at the ILO and, in 2018, negotiated the 'Guidelines on decent work in public emergency services', which again affirmed the right of firefighters and other emergency service workers to unionise and bargain.
Japanese firefighters who have also been denied these rights were among the first to congratulate the Korean firefighters on their victory. We hope this will inspire them-and other firefighters in the region-to continue their struggle for decent work and trade union rights.
World Day for Decent Work: Just Jobs
With more than 200 million jobs lost to the pandemic, another hundred million still at risk and large numbers of unemployed people - the vast majority of whom are women - simply dropping out of the labour market, the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October will call on every government to develop jobs plans.
27-08-2021: ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "Governments must have one overriding priority, and that is jobs. They need to recommit to full employment. This provides the basis for economic security and for social justice."
"The ITUC demand is a target of 565 million jobs and the formalisation of at least half of informal jobs by 2030. That's the only way to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8, and reaching Goal 8 is the key to reaching the other SDGs.
"Trade unions are calling on governments to get around the table with unions, employers and others to set ambitious targets to create and retain jobs as a matter of urgency. And then they need to meet those targets by ensuring the creation of climate-friendly jobs to stabilise the planet and deliver a zero-carbon economy. "There must be a strong focus on employment in the vitally important care sector and in infrastructure. Our jobs demand is achievable, in particular if governments pursue tax policies that are equitable instead of designed to allow a tiny number of people to hoard hundreds of billions of dollars by avoiding tax. That revenue could kick-start job creation."
A New Social Contract
"Jobs are absolutely central to recovery and to building the resilience needed globally to deal with the pandemic and other existential threats. Job creation is central to the New Social Contract, along with rights, social protection, equality and inclusion. The World Day for Decent Work will amplify the Just Jobs call, and as our campaign brief points out, to tackle the crisis of informality," said Sharan Burrow.
ST Microelectronics Malaysia - don't put profit before workers safety
17 August, 2021: Over the last months, 19 employees at ST Microelectronics, Malaysia, have died from Covid-19. More than 100 employees are still infected and around 600 workers are placed in quarantine.
Since July, Covid-19 cases have surged in Malaysia, peaking at an average of 20,000 new cases in the past week. The country's per capita infection rate is the highest in South East Asia.
Malaysia's ministry of international trade and industry only ordered a full shut-down of the plant between 29 July to 4 August. Previously, only certain sections of the plant were closed down when Covid-19 cases were detected.
Roslan Bin Rosdi, EIEUSR deputy president, says: "We are saddened by the demise of the co-workers at STM. This could have been prevented if regular social dialogues had been held between the management and the union. We call on STM to strictly implement health protocols and sanitize all production sites."
In a letter to the company, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches calls on the company to put workers before company profits and to engage in dialogue with IndustriALL affiliate Electronics Industry Employees Union South Region (EIEUSR).
Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL electronics director, says: "IndustriALL expresses sincere condolences with the families of the 19 workers. We urge STM to walk the talk on its sustainability strategy, which emphasizes putting people first and protecting everyone's life."
STMicroelectronics manufactures power devices, micro controllers and other semiconductor integrated circuits used in various electronics devices