Trade union rights are human rights
This year marks thirty years of the Amnesty International (UK) trade union network, so people working at the TUC are marking the year by providing a collective guest blog on trade union rights, linked to the blog by Shane Enright, AIUK's trade union campaigns manager.
Trade unions and human rights go way back, of course, but few people know that the person who really started Amnesty International, Peter Benenson, had worked many years earlier for the TUC, sent to Spain in the early 1950s to observe the trial of some trade unionists being persecuted by the Franco Government. (His complaints to the judge were so effective that the case against them was, unusually, dismissed and they were set free.)
In recent years, AIUK and the TUC have been working closer and closer together, especially on campaigns about the repression of trade unionists in Iran, LGBT rights around the world, and the terrible situation facing trade unions in Colombia, where just being involved in trade unions exposes people to arbitrary arrest, harassment and even murder.
Many people wonder whether trade union rights are human rights at all, but they are the core labour standards of the UN International Labour Organisation include freedom from forced and child labour, freedom from discrimination at work and freedom of association and the right to free collective bargaining. These are fundamental human rights, as the Declaration of Philadelphia made clear in 1944.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.