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coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations
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ITUC Global Rights Index
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 2021 Global Rights Index rates the world's worst countries for workers -- 149 countries on a scale from 1 to 5+ relevant to respect of workers' rights.
ILO Labor Standards
The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Relevant NEWS and ARTICLES
Fight for the Rights of Workers with Disabilities Now and in the post-Covid Era
DEC 04, 2021: The International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) is commemorated worldwide on 3 December. This year's IDPWD, as with the last one, is coming up in the midst of a pandemic of historic proportion. The Covid-19 global emergency has had drastic effects on virtually everybody on earth.
Almost all of us (except the vaccine and other pandemic products billionaires) have been bruised in one way or the other. In this context, it is easy for most people to lose sight of the fact that people with disabilities, particularly poor working-class people with disabilities, have been the most affected in several ways.
Economically, eking a living has become more challenging, particularly for people living with disabilities in the informal economy or on precarious employment. And socially restrictions on movement have had dire consequences for people living with disabilities. This has been both directly and indirectly, by constricting some of their support systems, particularly in the Global South. Covid-19, as many have repeatedly noted, has both revealed and exacerbated existing social and economic inequalities. As the world struggles to defeat SARS-CoV-2 and the storm it has thrown up, and equally plan for a Covid-19 world, we need to be conscious of and combat ableism in all its forms.
This requires policies which role back marginalization, discrimination, vulnerability, and exploitation of people with disabilities, and the concrete implementation of these policies. "Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security" as Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations noted in his 2021 IDPWD statement.
People with disabilities must be centrally involved in the formulation and implementation of policies that protect and promote their rights and interests. PSI affiliates have been standing up for the rights of workers with disabilities.
We need to do more of this and ensure that social protection systems in our countries adequately serve to secure the welfare and wellbeing of workers with disabilities. We also need to build stronger ties with associations of people living with disabilities in our communities, countries and internationally, to combat ableism in all spheres of society.
"Fighting for rights in the post-Covid era", which is the theme of the 2021 IDPWD requires we all stand up against ableism and social inequalities NOW.
Indonesian unions celebrate critical "omnibus" law victory
"Thank you for actively helping the Indonesian labour movement win this judicial review," said Said Iqbal, president of the KSPI, in a message to the ITUC and everyone who has supported their fight against the "omnibus" law.
01-12-2021: The law stripped away workers' rights and entitlements as well as environmental protections, and it cleared the way for privatisation of the electricity sector. But last week the Indonesian Constitutional Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, immediately suspended its most harmful features and gave the government two years to repair the law.
The ITUC's Indonesian affiliates, KSPI and KSBSI, have opposed changes to labour regulations in the law, with millions of working people joining nationwide strikes.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, said: "This is great news for the working people of Indonesia, and I congratulate the KSPI and the trade unions in Indonesia for this legal victory. "They will continue to have our full support to ensure that the government fulfils its legal obligations and completely dumps these wretched laws within two years.
"As Indonesia assumes the presidency of the G20, the Indonesian government must sit down with the unions and agree on a plan, together with them, that redresses the negative impact of the omnibus law. Now is time to show global leadership, respect workers' rights and social dialogue and show that competitive advantage cannot be based on exploitation. Only when the labour protection floor is respected will the global economy contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, decrease poverty and conflict, and preserve the environment."
Amazon: Workers shine bright on Black Friday to #MakeAmazonPay
Working people across the world are leading a coalition taking action today to build pressure on Amazon to improve its treatment of its employees, the environment and the tax system.
26-11-2021: Amazon workers and activists in over 20 countries and across six continents are taking part this Black Friday. For full details, see MakeAmazonPay.com
Make Amazon Pay has chosen eight locations to represent the depth of Amazon's abuse and the scale of the resistance to its business practices:
Sharan Burrow, the ITUC general secretary, said: "Amazon workers paid for their old boss Jeff Bezos to go to space, but they're not asking for the moon. They're demanding nothing more than justice and respect.
"Amazon made so much money during the pandemic it could pay every worker $690,000 and still be as rich as at the start of the pandemic. Amazon makes this money by exploiting its workers, fighting their right to organise unions to improve their working lives, damaging the environment, and not paying its fair share of tax that provides the services we all rely on. "The ITUC categorically backs this call to make Amazon pay and make Amazon a better company that respects, listens to and values the working people behind its success."
The Make Amazon Pay coalition includes the ITUC, UNI Global Union, over 70 trade unions, civil society organisations, environmentalists and tax watchdogs. At MakeAmazonPay.com anyone can sign up to the Common Demands of the coalition, donate to the campaign or find an action near them to support.
Qatar: Two Norwegian journalists temporarily detained over their report about working conditions at world cup constructions sites
25 November 2021: Two Norwegian journalists working for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) were arrested by Qatari authorities for 36 hours. They had been investigating the poor working conditions of migrant workers in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) and their Norwegian affiliate, the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), strongly condemn this detention and call on the Qatari authorities to provide full explanation for the arrests and respect the independence of journalists.
On Sunday, 21 November, journalist Halvor Ekeland and photographer Lokman Ghorbani were detained outside their hotel in Doha before their flight back to Norway. They were released from custody over 30 hours later on Tuesday 23 November in the morning and departed Doha the same day, safely arriving in Oslo on 24 November. Their equipment was confiscated.
Ekeland and Ghorbani were in Qatar to cover the one-year mark before the beginning of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Shortly before their arrest, they had reported on the work and living conditions of migrant workers during a live broadcast on the NRK news program Sportsrevyen. Ekeland had told viewers there were "stark contrasts", with some workers "doing awfully" or having "fear in their eyes".
Media and human rights organisations have previously reported on the systemic exploitation and high numbers of deaths among migrant workers while building soccer venues in searing heat since 2010. Investigations into the brutal working conditions caused international outrage, leading Qatar to announce sweeping labour reforms in 2019. However, many workers say that the conditions have not really changed.
Ekeland told Norwegian media VG: "We have been questioned, but are first and foremost happy to be back in Europe. We've had a hard time. We will have a number of meetings with NRK and find out a number of things, and come back with comments eventually."
The NJ welcomed the comments by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre who strongly condemned the arrests, calling them "unacceptable". Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs has called in the ambassador of Qatar, demanding an explanation.
NJ President Dag Idar Tryggestad denounced the detention: "This is an unjustified attack on press freedom. The authorities of Qatar are trying to prevent journalists from presenting a broad picture of what is happening in the country."
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "Thousands of workers have been exploited as slaves at construction sites of stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World cup and the public has the right to know the truth. Independent reporting is key to transparency about such a global event and we ask the Qatari government to come up with a full explanation on what appears to be a clear attempt to intimidate our NRK colleagues."
EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez reacted: "Journalists must continue to investigate human rights violations. We call on journalists to protect their sources and to take appropriate safety measures when operating in authoritarian countries."
Qatar defended the arrests, stating that the reporters were detained following complaints of trespassing by the owner of a private property.
Domestic violence is a workplace issue and a men's issue, unions tell employers
24 Nov 2021: Workplaces and employers must do more to tackle domestic violence, according to a new report from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF). It is usually the impacts on survivors which are the focus of studies on domestic violence, but the report, titled Shifting the focus: impacts on workplaces when men engage in domestic violence, evidences that domestic violence perpetration has a major impact on the safety and productivity of workplaces.
This report launched on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women details the impacts of domestic violence on workplaces in Maharashtra, India, and outlines eight core recommendations for employers to create safer workplaces. Recommendations include conducting domestic violence risk assessments and implementing reporting processes and training infrastructure.
"In order to eliminate domestic violence, we must shift the focus. Our society focuses on the impacts of domestic violence on women, as if this is solely a women's issue," said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton. "But this is fundamentally flawed. Domestic violence is predominantly perpetrated by men, and if we're serious about tackling domestic violence we must shift the focus to men changing their behaviour, and the negative impact of their abuse particularly in workplaces."
"From the workplace perspective, this report shows the detrimental impact that domestic violence perpetration has on the workplace from increased risk of accidents, injuries, and fatalities to reduced productivity. This puts responsibility on employers to take action and lead the way by developing and supporting policies and procedures that create safer workplaces, and critically engage men in conversation about domestic violence prevention and intervention," said Cotton.
Too often, domestic violence is dismissed as a private matter, but we can now show conclusively that employers have significant liability - as well as a serious moral responsibility - to do more to end domestic violence amongst their workforce.
"Attracting and retaining women is a challenge in the transport industry. Transport is vital to women's lives yet remains a male-dominated industry where women are grossly underrepresented and too often the victims of violence and harassment," said Diana Holland, ITF Women Transport Workers' Committee Chair. "Covid-19 has further exacerbated the shadow pandemic of violence against women, so right now it's crucial that all employers read this report and implement its recommendations so that every transport worker is safe. It's also a reminder to governments that they too can play their role in eradicating violence and harassment in the world of work and join the growing list of countries ratifying the C190 Convention on violence and harassment," said Holland.
German construction workers have a new CBA
Germany's 890,000 construction workers now have a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
11/23/2021: After five rounds of negotiations and two rounds of arbitration, a new CBA was inked in the construction industry which will provide German construction workers an increase in their wages. In West Germany, workers will receive a 6.2 percent wage hike, while those in the Eastern parts of the country will get an 8.5 percent increase. The increases bring closer the alignment of wage levels in the said areas, which will reach parity by 2026.
The CBA also provides a new milestone provision by compensating workers who are commuting daily to work. Commuting workers covering an average of 60 kilometres per day will receive EUR 147 for 21 working days per month. On the other hand, commuting workers who travel a shorter distance will receive EUR 18 to 78 each week.
"For the first time, our CBA provides compensation to many construction workers who travel long distances just to get to their work. These workers, who often have no say at all on where they are deployed, spend a lot of their time commuting to construction sites. The workers' daily commuting takes time away for their rest and recreation. It is only right that they are justly compensated," Carsten Burckhardt, a member of IGBAU's Federal Board for Construction remarked.
The CBA is valid until 31 March 2024.
A serious game: Time to unionize the game industry
17 November 2021: In an online gathering today, unionists from Australia to Finland and everywhere in between agreed that the electronic and video gaming industry is ripe for union organizing.
The participants of Organizing to Win: UNI Game Workers Digital Workshop, coordinated by UNI Global Union (ICTS), explored opportunities to unionize an industry still seen by many as a privileged high-paying IT sector, but where workers commonly face sexual harassment, low-wages, lack of standardized training and a "crunch culture" that makes a healthy work-life balance challenging.
"Gaming is a sector where workers can organize in unions to raise standards and together bring dignity to jobs that should be good jobs no matter the prestige or size of the company," said Benjamin Parton, Head of UNI Global Union ICTS. "Gaming companies prospered during the pandemic, and UNI aims to bring games unions together from around the world to fight for dignity and fairness in this sector."
Labour activists from companies such as Ubisoft (France( and Paradox )Sweden) joined trade union representatives from Professionals Australia and Game Workers Unite-Australia to discuss how their organizing efforts can serve as a model for other unions as well as what is needed to scale up unions in the sector globally.
"Many of the big companies in the industry have a total disconnect between the profits they make and what they pay their workers," said Pierre-Etienne Marx from the French union SJTV.
COP26: Jobs plans with just transition essential to implementation of Glasgow Agreement
The COP26 climate agreement acknowledged the science, recognised the gaps to realising the 1.5C target, and embedded the call for just transition, but the compromises made in Glasgow fall short on ambition, finance, responsibility and inclusion.
15-11-2021: COP27 must keep 1.5C in reach through raised ambition, and agreed Loss and Damage Mechanisms must be central to any outcome.
"For workers and their communities, the social dialogue vital for just transition plans, with jobs at their centre, must begin now. Nothing less than national jobs plans and company jobs plans can be accepted. "Commitments on deforestation, methane, increasing finance for adaptation, recognising the need for more support for vulnerable countries and the agreed rules on carbon markets are all welcome but don't go far enough.
"Science tells us that the absolute priority must be rapid, deep, and sustained emissions reductions in this decade - specifically, a 45% cut by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe. Now it is time to see all governments and all companies get serious about transition plans - with just transition measures in all industries - if we are to have a fighting chance of staying within the 1.5 target," said Sharan Burrow, general secretary, ITUC.
The voice of workers
Despite the limitations of a Covid-19-impacted world for a global summit, 100 unionists from 30 countries were in Glasgow representing workers at a critical time when we need to address the climate emergency. Ensuring workers are a part of decision-making on climate policies and action, at COP26 and in national decision-making, is critical for building trust and driving climate ambition.
"We all know we are in a race against time for a sustainable future for both people and the planet. Investments in job creation - good climate-friendly jobs with just transition - are the key to building trust and support in the speed of the shifts required. Of governments, we need more ambitious and renewed nationally determined contributions (NDCs) with national jobs plans. Of companies in every workplace and sector, we need company jobs plans, agreed through social dialogue with unions in line with the ILO Just Transition Guidelines, which set the framework for how to do it," said Sharan Burrow.
No time for compromise
"Many governments let their people down by arguing for watered-down commitments that mean an agreement that fails too many vulnerable nations. We don't have time for compromise, and COP27 must see a responsibility that delivers on major commitments from past UN climate conferences with new pledges for action. "Unions are clear that ambition and just transition are joint pillars for action and demonstrate how national and sectoral dialogues can deliver ambitious plans with just transition," said Sharan Burrow.
In Glasgow during COP26, frontline health workers and refuse collectors, unions, scientists and indigenous people from all over the world took to the streets when over 100,000 people joined together to call on governments to listen to the people and raise the bar on delivering for climate justice.
Organizing success wins prize for writers
11 November 2021: The Writers' Guild of America, East (WGAE) has been honoured with UNI Global Union's Breaking Through Award for overcoming the challenges of organizing during the pandemic, increasing its membership and expanding into new sectors.
The WGAE used an array of digital tools to recruit hundreds of new members who were working remotely during lockdown. This builds on organizing victories that have increased their membership by more than 60 per cent in the last six years. To continue to grow their density, they targeted shops in various WGAE sectors, including comedy and variety, broadcast and cable news, and digital news. They won recognition at every shop where they demanded it.
WGAE Executive Director, Lowell Peterson, said: "On behalf of the Writers Guild of America, East, I thank UNI Global Union for this great honour. The solidarity and concrete support of UNI have been essential to the WGAE over the years. "We at the WGAE are committed to building power for our current members and for professional storytellers in what used to be non-union sectors, and we have grown tremendously in recent years. Our growth continued, and perhaps accelerated, during the pandemic. "What we found is that working people, including creative professionals, are eager to take collective action to build their own power. With thoughtful strategy and careful execution, the labour movement can continue to grow even as the global economy transforms and sectors like entertainment, news, and digital technology come to predominate."
Since March 2020, the WGAE has won recognition MSNBC's cable news operations, at non-fiction production company Jigsaw Productions, and at digital operations Hearst, Bustle Media Group and several smaller digital shops including FT Specialist and Chalkbeat.
At the same time, the union successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements covering hundreds of members without in-person sessions. As with the new-organizing campaigns, WGAE representatives used video platforms such as Zoom to conduct the meetings, and used email, various forms of text messaging, and work-sharing platforms such as Slack to mobilize members.
UNI General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said: "We congratulate the WGAE on rewriting the rules of organizing and, despite all the drawbacks of the pandemic, actually increasing the pace of union growth. By adapting quickly and using digital tools to reach new members in new sectors, the WGAE have shown that remote work doesn't have to be a barrier to organizing. Their success is a model for us all. UNI's Breaking Through Awards recognize unions that have built union strength through innovative organizing campaigns in the face of adversity.
The National Labor Relations Board, US Department of Labor, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Align to End Retaliation, Promote Workers' Rights
November 10, 2021 WASHINGTON - The National Labor Relations Board, U.S. Department of Labor, and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today announced a joint initiative to raise awareness about retaliation issues when workers exercise their protected labor rights.
The initiative will include collaboration among these civil law enforcement agencies to protect workers on issues of unlawful retaliatory conduct, educate the public and engage with employers, business organizations, labor organizations and civil rights groups in the coming year. On Nov. 17, 2021, the initiative will launch with a virtual dialogue with the employer community focused on the importance of workers' anti-retaliation protections for those exercising their rights, and the agencies' shared commitment to vigorous enforcement.
"The enforcement of labor laws only works when workers who speak out for themselves and their fellow workers and not fear or suffer from retaliation," said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. "In the U.S. Department of Labor's fight against wage theft, misclassification, discrimination, unsafe or unhealthy workplaces, and other unlawful employment practices, we will use all tools available to protect workers from retaliation. This collaboration among federal labor enforcement agencies will form a bulwark against unlawful retaliation."
"All too often, workers face adverse action for speaking out about their pay, health and safety issues, discrimination, or other working conditions. Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against workers for taking collective action to improve their working conditions," said National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. "These issues cut across multiple worker protection agencies, which is why it is so important to work collaboratively to effectively prevent and forcefully address retaliatory acts against workers."
The initiative announced today will build on the work of Memoranda of Understandings between the agencies, and strengthen interagency relationships. By doing so, the three agencies seek to ensure they cooperate effectively and efficiently to enforce related laws and protect workers' rights. Typically, these agencies have dual mandates: to enforce laws that protect workers who exercise their workplace rights, and help employers understand their responsibilities under federal workplace laws.
"Retaliation is a persistent and urgent problem in American workplaces. Charges alleging retaliation have increased as a percentage of the total number of charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission every year for the last 20 years," said U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Charlotte A. Burrows. "Together, working with our interagency partners and with employers, we must tackle this urgent problem and help ensure that employers have effective strategies for taking immediate action to stop retaliation."
Retail workers in Poland to protest over poor conditions
3 November 2021: Commerce unions and workers in Poland will take to the streets on 4 November to demand better trade union representation, decent pay, work-free Sundays and measures to address chronic understaffing and high workloads.
The protest, which will take place in the capital Warsaw, is being organized by UNI Global Union affiliate Solidarnosc.
There are more than 2.2 million retail workers in Poland, making the sector the second biggest employer in the country. With this massive workforce, the Polish commerce sector ranks seventh in terms of employment in Europe. Many major retailers including Amazon, Auchan, Carrefour, Castorama, H&M, Jysk, Lidl and Metro operate in the country. However, while retail workers in Poland make up 14 per cent of the workforce, only 3 per cent are covered by a collective agreement. Low levels of collective representation and bargaining in the commerce sector have led to poor wages and conditions, including inadequate occupational health and safety measures.
There are many underlying reasons for a lack of sector-level collective bargaining in Poland, including requirements imposed by legislation. Furthermore, there is inadequate protection against discrimination for being a trade union member. Solidarnosc affiliates report serious violations of trade union rights in many companies, including:
Despite being on the frontline during the pandemic, making sure that people have access to food and basic needs, retail workers are being denied the rights and trade union representation that they deserve.
"We have commissioned an investigation into the violation of trade union rights by retailers in Poland and the preliminary findings are highly alarming," said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce, "While fully supporting Solidarnosc in its just fight, we will engage with the companies - especially with the ones with which we have a global agreements - to make sure that all obstacles to union organizing and collective bargaining are removed and commerce workers in Poland are free to enjoy trade union rights."