LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns
People Over Profit...
Public Services International
Justice for Fishers - Fishers' Rights Network...
International Transport Workers Federation
Pharmacare: A Plan for Everyone...
Canadian Labour Congress
Union Member Candidate Program...
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
Campaign to Organize Digital Employees...
Communications Workers of America
U.S. Mail Not for Sale...
American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers
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
Making Change at Walmart...
United Food and Commercial Workers
Robin Hood Tax Campaign...
it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States
Justice for Port Drivers...
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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
Cambodia: Education International calls for the immediate release of arrested trade union leader
05.08.2020: Leading trade unionist and president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions Rong Chhun was arrested on 31 July after voicing criticism of the government. Education International has protested the arrest in a letter to the Prime Minister of Cambodia, calling for the immediate release of Mr Chhun and for human and labour rights to be guaranteed in the country.
Rong Chhun is one of the most outspoken unionists in Cambodia and the former president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers' Association (CITA) - a member organisation of Education International. Mr Chhun was arrested at his home on 31 July and is currently detained at Prey Sor prison awaiting trial.
Rong Chhun's arrest took place following his recent trade union activities and criticism of government policies in the context of the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to his arrest, Rong Chhun was also requesting the release of four CITA members - Peat Mab, Sun Thun, Chhum Chan and Keo Thay - who are detained for making comments on public health issues during school closures.
On 1 July, Rong Chhun wrote to the Prime Minister's Cabinet urging the government to respond proactively to the allegations of the European Union and to make improvements on human rights and democracy before the Everything But Arms trade preference is due to be withdrawn on 12 August.
In the recent labour dispute over the closure of Violet Apparel, Rong Chhun picketed with hundreds of terminated workers and Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, supporting workers' claims to their legal entitlements. On 21 July, after a field visit to the Vietnamese border, Rong Chhun spoke to the media about farmers losing their livelihoods and their land.
Education International and its members are deeply worried about the alarming trend of repression in Cambodia. In a letter to the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Education International General Secretary David Edwards called for the immediate release of Mr Chhun and all trade unionists detained for exercising their rights. He further stated that "trade unions in Cambodia have legitimate concerns regarding the impact of the government's policies. The freedom to speak up and represent the interests of working people, as well as the right not to be penalised for the opinions expressed are indispensable to the exercise of freedom of association. The Cambodian government must protect and uphold these rights under ILO Convention No. 87 and international human rights treaties."
Education International will continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in Cambodia and will stand by its affiliates.
Haiti: PSI calls for public ownership and control of energy
AUG 04, 2020: The appointment of a new Director-General at the national electricity company in Haïti precipitated protest action by the Federation of Electricity Workers - FESTRED a member union of PSI affiliate the Confederation of Workers in the Public and Private Sectors (CTSP). The heavy-handed response from the state - police presence, threats and intimidation - threatened the lives and livelihoods of the workers.
Rosemonde Sterlin Adrien, president of the federation says, "This is a national issue. It is not only in relation to the workers at ED'H." She added, "The problem is in relation to Michel Présumé who had liquidated the Téléco, the Minoterie d'Haïti, etc".
For many years Electricité d'Haïti (ED'H) has struggled to provide quality service to the people of Haïti, especially in Port-au-Prince. The state agency is heavily indebted and lacks investment. Equipment is outdated and the workers are under stress to provide quality services to the population though they lack the necessary resources to do so.
The government of Haïti has entered into arrangements with Taiwan to invest in energy production and distribution. This includes the construction of power stations in main suburbs of Port-au-Prince as well as other major cities in the country. Some plants will run on natural gas and others will use photovoltaic solar panels. Revenue collection is low, and having identified marketing as a problem, the government plans to use private operators.
At a time when Haïti, like other countries, is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, many people throughout the world - in developed and developing countries alike - have recognised and are lauding the important role of the public sector and public services in helping people to survive and cope. Workers at ED'H are critical, and especially so in times of public emergencies. They are indispensable when times are bad. The pandemic shows that the private sector cannot manage the scope of the interventions that countries need in emergency situations. Private companies focus on profits.
In May, the IMF Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 member countries under the IMF's revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund's response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Haïti is one of these countries. Debt relief is not the answer. PSI calls for debt cancellation. Debt service relief just kicks the can down the road. And what is the price for this relief? The plan is the same no matter where you look: run down the public service, destroy the public services unions and then move in to privatise the service - bit by bit. The consequences are that the public suffers, while the shareholders reap all the profits.
Any plan to restructure the energy sector in Haïti must ensure public ownership and public control. At the same time, workers' representatives must form an integral part of the decisions and actions to provide quality public services to the population of Haïti. PSI condemns the recent threats and attacks on workers at ED'H and especially members of the FESTRED'H as they exercised their democratic rights to assert and defend their human and trade union rights.
The Public Services International (PSI) stands together with our affiliates in Haïti, the CTSP and FESTRED, as they continue their relentless fight against privatisation and promote the power of the public. Energy must remain in public hands. CTSP and FESTRED will continue to demand social dialogue and collective bargaining to ensure that workers and employers make the best decisions in the interests of the communities in which they live and work. Universal access to quality public services is the foundation for sustainable development.
Massive protests explode worldwide against "rising tide" of anti-worker policies
July 29, 2020: Massive workers' protests are breaking out in many countries even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages worldwide. BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson welcomed and supported the protests organised by BWI-affiliated trade unions in the United States, Ukraine, India, Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia. BWI called them a "global pushback against a rising tide of anti-worker and anti-democracy policies" being implemented by many governments under the guise of responding to the global health crisis.
"The message is clear. Trade unions will not allow governments and employers to use the pandemic to rollback workers' rights and victories. We will not allow them to introduce a 'new normal world' where workers' rights are impaired. Workers will push back and move forward to build a better future," Yuson said.
In Ukraine, the BWI-affiliated Construction and Building Materials Workers Union of Ukraine (PROFBUD), along with other trade unions, launched a national day of action on 30 June against the government's push to pass an anti-union law. BWI also joined the Global Trade Union Solidarity Action to express its full support in opposing the law which contrives Ukraine's Constitution and core ILO conventions.
In India, BWI affiliates joined a nationwide protest on 3 July against the suspension of labour laws in several Indian states and the national government's move to privatise key industries and sectors. The trade unions pushed for a "12 point charter of demands," which includes universal social security for all workers, rejection of foreign direct investment in core sectors and zero labour law amendments in favour of employers.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the government is trying to pass an Omnibus law on job creation, which many workers argued will lead to more mass layoffs and reduced wages. BWI affiliates launched various actions to oppose the bill and joined a broad mobilization against the proposed measure on 16 July.
Nagkaisa, the Philippines' biggest coalition of labour centres, was also in the thick of the battle against a new Anti-Terror Law which threatens to undermine and harm human rights, particularly trade union rights. The Filipino trade unionists launched big protest actions and on 17 July filed a petition before the Philippine Supreme Court calling on the high tribunal to strike down the measure as unconstitutional.
Likewise, Hong Kong trade unions continue to fight a new national security law criminalizing so-called acts of secession, subversion, foreign interference and terrorism. They have since resorted to creative ways to voice their dissent after China has started to fully implement the security law and arrested people displaying now forbidden political slogans.
In the United States, tens of thousands of American workers walked out of their jobs on 20 July Monday in more than two dozen U.S. cities in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to connect income inequality with racial injustice.
Global Unions denounce Bolsonaro before the ICC for genocide and crimes against humanity
JUL 27, 2020: Health workers have lodged a complaint, backed by PSI and UNI Global, before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, accusing the Brazilian president of negligence and disregard for the pandemic that has already infected 2 million people and killed almost 100,000 in the country. Four of the five national federations representing health workers are affiliated to PSI.
In a 64-page document, health unions, national trade union centers and Brazilian social movements denounce President Jair Bolsonaro's attitude of "contempt, neglect and negationism" which has "brought about disastrous consequences, with a subsequent increase in propagation, a total strangulation of health services, without even the minimum conditions to provide assistance to the population, resulting in deaths without further controls".
The complaint, filed by the Brazilian Trade Union Network UNISaúde on Sunday night (26 July), is signed, among others, by global unions PSI and UNI Global; by national trade union centers CUT, UGT, NCST; by Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST), by the Quilombola and indigenous movements. Among the five national signatories that represent health workers, four are affiliated to PSI: the National Confederation of Workers in Social Security of CUT (CNTSS/CUT), the National Confederation of Health Workers (CNTS), Confederation of Workers in the Federal Public Service (CONDSEF) and the National Federation of Nurses (FNE).
Unions in Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Alagoas, Amazonas, Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Sergipe, several affiliated to PSI, have also signed the document.
"The difference between this and other complaints against the Bolsonaro (mis)government is that it is spearheaded by health professionals' unions," says Jocelio Drummond, PSI Regional Secretary for Inter-america. "It is unacceptable, according to a survey we made of our affiliates, that 60 percent of health workers do not have PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] or adequate training to deal with the pandemic. This has led us to be among the three countries with the most deaths of health workers in the world".
"The Bolsonaro administration should be held accountable for its callous response to the pandemic and for refusing to protect health workers and the Brazilian people it has sworn to defend," says Marcio Monzane, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas. "Filing a case with the International Criminal Court is a drastic measure, but Brazilians face an extremely dire and dangerous situation created by Bolsonaro's deliberate decisions".
In the complaint to the Court, the signatories request that:
Source: Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 163 countries
International trade union declaration: 'We stand in full solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Algeria fighting for trade union and democratic rights'
21.07.20: Nine international trade union organizations including the IUF have joined together in a declaration "to express their full solidarity and support for the ongoing struggle for trade union rights and democratic freedoms in Algeria." (Click here to view the signed declaration in English)
"For many years", the declaration states, "independent unions have been bravely struggling to win legal recognition for their organizations and build a space for workers to freely join and form unions of their own choosing and bargain collectively. These unions have faced targeted dismissals, harassment and persecution of members and elected union leaders for many years, and since February 2019 have faced intensified repression in retaliation for their support for and participation in the mass movement for democracy, the Hirak.
"Since the Hirak emerged in 2019, hundreds of democracy activists and human rights defenders, including independent trade unionists, have been arrested, indicted, placed under police control or condemned to prison. Repression of journalists, media activists and political and human rights defenders has continued since measures to contain the COVID-19 emergency led to a ban on public gatherings and took the Hirak off the streets.
"We stand in full solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Algeria fighting for trade union and democratic rights, and will pursue with all available means our efforts to bring the Algerian government to unconditionally release all those detained and sentenced for their trade union and civic engagement, fully respect democratic rights, including the right to freedom of association, and implement the decisions and recommendations of the ILO to ensure that independent trade unions can organize and represent workers without fear of harassment or retaliation."
Council of Global Unions Statement on the Suppression of Democratic Rights in the Philippines
The Council of Global Unions (CGU) - representing more than 200 million workers from across the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Global Union Federations including the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD join Philippine trade unions in condemning the Philippine government's continued attacks on democratic institutions and its relentless suppression of the democratic rights of Filipino workers.
21-07-2020: We register alarm over the passage of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. This law could easily be abused. While human security, the supposed aim of the Anti-Terrorism Act, is a real concern, the same should not be pursued through undemocratic means. The Act undermines due process as it empowers the Executive Branch to identify "terrorist" individuals or groups and to conduct warrantless arrests for at least fourteen (14) days. With its deplorable record of human rights violations in the past four years in its "war on drugs", the Philippines does not need another legal instrument to legitimize illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings.
We support the initiative of NAGKAISA (United Coalition), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), SENTRO and other labor groups to petition the Philippine Supreme Court to stop the implementation of this law "for being inimical to workers' interests and for being unconstitutional".
In the ITUC Report of 2020, the Philippines is included in the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world for workers. The Philippine trade union movement can attest to the alarming level of repression of workers' rights in the country. There have been too many unexplained disappearances and killings of labor leaders and members. Moreover, in its attempt to silence dissident labor leaders, the Philippine government has resorted to 'red-tagging'. This tactic has not only jeopardized the lives of labor leaders, it has also undermined efforts of trade unions to hold employers and government accountable for anti-labor actions since these efforts are always maliciously exposed as bearing communist sentiments.
The United Nations and the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations have on several occasions expressed disquiet about government's use of anti-terror and other public order legislation to suppress human rights. The Anti-terrorism Act is a violation of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and other international human rights obligations.
In the context of COVID-19, the situation of Filipino workers has worsened. The Philippine government itself projects that some 10 million Filipinos will be out of jobs by the end of this year. Hundreds of thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are also expected to return to the country due to job loss. The health pandemic has also been used as a pretext by many employers to cut costs and further labor flexibility. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has bolstered employers' efforts to circumvent existing labor standards by issuing advisories that allow employers to negotiate new terms of work.
Under Labor Advisory No. 17 issued May 16, for example, employers are allowed to do the following: transfer employees to another branch or outlet of the same employer, assign employees to another function or position in the same office or branch, reduce normal working hours, rotate jobs, and, partially shutdown some units while continuing work in other units. Needless to say, employers have been given the elbow room to "negotiate" reduction of pay along with these flexible work arrangements. The pandemic has also been used by some to justify or deliberately conduct union(busting activities. For example, at Coca-Cola Philippines three union leaders who were asserting the right of their members to a safe workplace were terminated for "economic sabotage". The government is also using the pandemic to attack informal sector workers who are most vulnerable, denying them the right to livelihood. The government is attempting to phase out jeepneys - a move that would deny the livelihood of more than 500,000 transport workers around the country.
On top of this economic situation, the Philippines now has the second highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in Southeast Asia. Yet, the actions of government do not reflect the worsening situation. Instead of focusing on boosting its public health system and planning for economic recovery, the Philippine government has focused its energies on self-serving political agendas such as the anti-terrorism law and the closure of the ABS-CBN, the largest TV network in the country. The latter has resulted in the firing of at least 11,000 workers and the government does not seem to be disturbed by this massive job loss. Displaced workers of ABS-CBN have thus very little chances of finding new jobs. Ever since the Congressional rejection of the ABS-CBN franchise renewal on July 10, trade unions have been rallying the Philippine government to provide assistance and safety nets to displaced ABS-CBN workers. The government's denial to renew its permit to operate, after Rappler editor Maria Ressa was convicted of libel, is clearly an attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The situation of workers in the Philippines is beyond appalling. The attacks on the jobs and lives of workers must stop! We call on the Philippine government to rethink its current priorities and to focus instead on measures that will contain the pandemic and alleviate the lives of those severely affected - especially those of displaced Filipino workers, in the country and overseas. We remain in solidarity with the Philippine trade union movement in its fight against increasing authoritarianism. We pledge our continued support for the efforts of Filipino unions and workers to restore democracy and peace in the country.
UNI to Amazon: "It shouldn't take a lawsuit for you to stop punishing workers for washing their hands"
17 July 2020: This week, Amazon workers in the United States won an important victory after the company made changes to its insufficient COVID-19 safety policy following the lawsuit filed in June by three New York warehouse workers and three family members. The day before a scheduled court hearing to decide whether Amazon should be immediately forced to change its safety procedures, the company announced that time away from the job to wash hands would not be grounds for discipline.
"It shouldn't take a lawsuit to move Amazon to announce that it won't punish workers for washing their hands. That shows just how brutal the working conditions are for warehouse workers, and the constant pressure during the pandemic for workers to keep up an unrelenting pace," said Christy Hoffman General Secretary of UNI Global Union.
"Amazon's incredible wealth and power have been growing during the pandemic, but the conditions on the job have only improved when the company has been forced to act in the interest of workers."
UNI Global Union and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that, as evidenced in Italy, France, Spain, and other European countries, unions can and have played a crucial role to hold Amazon and other companies accountable and put the welfare of the public first. The lawsuit, filed on June 3, 2020, in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, claims that the Amazon JFK8 warehouse, which employs about 5,000 workers was a "place of danger" putting both workers and the community at risk.
It said that Amazon forces employees to work at "dizzying speeds, even if doing so prevents them from socially distancing, washing their hands, and sanitizing their work spaces." It further claimed that the company's efforts were rife with "purposeful miscommunication with workers," "sloppy contact tracing," and poorly enforced social distancing. The workers who filed the suit also state that production goals were unrealistic if proper safety protocols were followed.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, conditions at many Amazon warehouses have not met the basic health and safety standards prescribed by the WHO or national authorities. As the company strained to meet the increased demand for its deliveries, it increased the speed and pace of work rather than slow it down to allow time for hand washing and social distancing. Now, in light of legal pressure and worker activity, Amazon has told workers in New York that they won't be punished for taking extra time to wash their hand.
Learning from one another: EI publishes "Forward to School"
15.07.2020: Education International released its publication Forward to School on 13 July. The document is based on the five pillars identified in the EI Guidance on Reopening Schools and Education Institutions released in April.
The publication reflects the experience of member organisations organised around those pillars:
There has already been considerable experience with school reopening. Forward to School adds common concerns of education trade unions and specific material in those five areas. It features information, research, and examples of union actions in more than 50 countries from all regions. Given the rapid changes in school and community environments, Forward to School, is a work in progress that will be periodically updated. It is only available in English at this time but will be translated. Additional national experience, described in more detail, can be found on the Education International's Information Hub.
Reopening challenges include dealing with the legacy of the pandemic in education. The emphasis on social and policy dialogue in the April guidance was based on reports that such dialogue was rare during closures. Subsequent information indicates improvement in dialogue, but it is still missing or of poor quality in many countries.
Existing inequities were highlighted and aggravated by the pandemic and by distance learning. Not only did access to the internet vary widely and disadvantage vulnerable individuals and marginalised groups, but, even in countries where everything worked well, students suffered, with greater impact on some individuals, from the lack of social contact that is so vital to education. Governments need to consider the damage that has been done to learning, but also to morale and well-being by education in pandemic conditions and compensate for it as much as possible in the re-opening process.
One lesson learned from the pandemic is that, although it was difficult everywhere to adjust to such a radical change with closures and reopening, school systems and public authorities that invested resources in the teaching profession and trusted the judgement of teachers were more flexible and adaptable. Recognition of the profession and for the status of those who exercise it should be a priority to advance education in the post-pandemic era.
Education International's General Secretary David Edwards, in commenting on "Forward to School", said: "The experiences during closures and reopening of schools have varied considerably among countries. This reflects the ability and willingness of governments to effectively fight COVID-19, but also the strength and resilience of systems of education. This is a very stressful and disruptive time for teachers and other education staff, for students and for parents. Successful recovery from the pandemic and its massive social and economic devastation can only take place if it is built on the well-being, progress, and respect of learners and educators. It must be much more than returning to normal or even re-building better. We must imagine and realise education for a dramatically different future of healthy and peaceful societies with justice, inclusion, freedom, and solidarity."
Avera garment workers strike for suspended colleague
10 July, 2020: The union at Avera garment company in Tunisia successfully went on strike on 10 July to protest the suspension of the local union leader.
Aicha Dhouioui, who has worked in the company for 26 years, was accused by the company of inciting workers and organizing a meeting without a permit, which the union, IndustriALL Tunisian affiliate Fédération Générale du Textile, de l'Habillement, Chaussure et Cuir - FGTHCC-UGTT, says is not true.
As Avera garment company, a subsidiary of Granjard, in Tunisia opened up after the Covid-19 lockdown, union representatives tried to engage with the company management, demanding a safe work environment. Management responded by suspending workers.
Union representatives met with management in early June to discuss working conditions and the number of workers present at the same time, only to be met with the suspension of 18 workers. Among the suspended workers are union and workers' leaders, and Aicha Dhouioui, Avera union general secretary and member of the executive board of FGTHCC-UGTT.
Two days later, a reconciliation session was held at the state (Ben Arous) headquarters together with representatives from company management, the ministry of social affairs, UGTT and FGTHCC. It did not lead anywhere; instead management referred the 18 colleagues to the company disciplinary council. On 29 June, the disciplinary council decided that all workers, except Aicha Dhouioui, could return to work if agreeing to deduct four days' worth of wages.
Management failed to turn up for a session on 3 July at the state headquarters to discuss Aicha Dhouioui's situation. FGTHCC-UGTT had no option but to call for a strike on 10 July, in solidarity with Aicha Dhouioui.
Habib Hazami, FGTHCC-UGTT general secretary, says: "After we exhausted all attempts to find a solution for Aicha's return to work, we went on strike. What Avira management did against sister Aicha undermines all labour relations as all accusations against her are false and lack credibility."
Congratulating FGTHCC-UGTT on the successful strike, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says: "The employer needs to respect workers' rights and their legitimate trade union. We urge Avira to improve health and safety in consultation with the union, respect the agreements in place and pay workers' wages when they are due. "I hope with this amazing show of solidarity from Aicha's colleagues today, the company finally understands that the workers fully back their union until victory."