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Trade Union Rights November 2021

This is a quick survey of some of the major trade union issues in the world today, collated from ITUC and the ILO News.

Stories taken from: https://www.ituc-csi.org/violations-workers-rights-seven-year-high https://  and  www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/lang--en/index.htm

 

G20 Leaders Declaration: Action on jobs and just transition must drive recovery

On 1st November, ITUC reported that high level consensus from G20 leaders urgently required national action plans to create jobs with Just Transition. It was argued that the convergence of crises: inequality, the global pandemic and the climate emergency had exposed workers to the greatest social and economic shock in a generation.

It was said that G20 leaders had recognised that the global health and economic crisis had affected billions of lives and puts at risk progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

We are in a race against time put in place action plans to deliver on G20 commitments. 575 million jobs are needed by 2030 to stabilise the economy, with Just Transition plans to create climate friendly jobs and keep the world on a pathway to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC was reported as saying.
 

What is the ILO doing to become greener?

The ILO has been mainstreaming environmental sustainability in its operations and programmatic work.

On 1st November, ILO NEWS reported that the approach of COP26 was focusing world attention on the risks of climate change and the imperative of environmental sustainability. It was said that the UN system was coordinating international efforts to limit emissions, and the ILO was spearheading the UN's Climate Action for Jobs Initiative , to boost climate action and green jobs.

It was also noted that alongside the policy leadership, the ILO had also undertaken a series of concrete actions to improve its own organizational sustainability, and to achieve carbon neutrality.

It was noted that the ILO’s efforts are part of a broader strategy within the UN system called "Greening the Blue".

 

Small-holder farmers reap benefit of ILO rural development project

On 3rd November ILO News reported that ILO Chief Technical Advisor, Nashwa Belal, has spoken from the field about the EYE Project in Egypt, which promotes rural development, while helping businesses in the country’s dairy sector.
 

Bangladesh: Abuse of workers’ rights on increase, warns ITUC

On 3rd November, ITUC reported that labour rights were deteriorating in Bangladesh, despite government promises to commit to an International Labour Organization (ILO) road map for reform. It was noted that while the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic had been a period of crisis for workers, the pattern of abuse for workers’ rights has been entrenched for years.
 

ILO welcomes COP26 Just Transition Declaration

On 5th November, ILO news reported that the ILO played key role in developing the Just Transition Declaration, agreed at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow.

It was said that the Just Transition Declaration , had agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland, recognized the need to ensure that no one is left behind in the transition to net zero economies – particularly those working in sectors, cities and regions reliant on carbon-intensive industries and production.

It was said that the Declaration reflects the ILO’s 2015 Guidelines for a Just Transition , which outline the necessary steps towards well-managed environmentally sustainable economies and societies, decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty.

 

Governments at COP26 pledge support for Just Transition

On 5th November, ITUC reported that governments at COP26 had declared support for Just Transition through green growth, decent work and economic prosperity as economies move towards net-zero emissions.

It was noted that the declaration signed by fourteen governments and the European Commission had pledged to support six steps in support of the conditions for Just Transition:

  1. Support for workers in the transition to new jobs.

  2. Support and promote social dialogue and stakeholder engagement.

  3. Develop economic strategies which include wider economic and industrial support beyond clean energy.

  4. Promote local, inclusive, and decent work.

  5. Support for human rights in global supply chains and the importance of building climate resilience.

  6. Report on Just Transition efforts in Biennial Transparency Reports and NDCs.

Addressing COP26 delegates at the launch of the declaration, Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary was reported as saying,

We all know we are in a race against time for a sustainable future for both people and the planet. Trade unions are committed to climate ambition designed as a Just Transition - there must be no stranded workers and no stranded communities.

Climate friendly jobs with Just Transition, this is the key to build trust and support at the speed required.

We need national jobs plans and company jobs plans agreed through social dialogue in line with the ILO Just Transition Guidelines.”
 

UN Human Rights and Business Treaty – US and EU Must Step Up

On 6th November ITUC reported that the unions were also critical of business associations for their lack of commitment to successful negotiations. It was noted that the concerns were being raised following the 7th round of discussions involving governments, company representatives, unions and civil society organisations which ended on 29 October.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, was reported as saying “It’s time that governments stopped shielding multinational companies from accountability for labour and human rights violations, including in their supply chains. The US, which is proposing a weaker “framework agreement” alternative to a treaty with teeth, and the EU are home to many of the world’s multinational companies and bear particular responsibility. They need to step up and engage in serious negotiations to arrive at a binding treaty. Business interests need to recognise that they can no longer be allowed to get away with rights violations.

We welcome the efforts by various parties to the discussions to make real progress by the time the 8th negotiating session takes place. Our ITUC Global Poll shows two-thirds of people want their governments to adopt new rules for multinational corporations to end human rights abuse through their supply chains. We must work together to deliver a legally binding instrument that addresses existing gaps in international business and human rights legal architecture and supplements domestic legislation in this area. This must build on the UNGPs and other multilateral, national and regional initiatives.”
 

Social protection for migrant workers, refugees and their families

On 8th November, ILO news reported that 4.1 billion individuals worldwide had no access to social protection. It was said that this includes millions of migrant workers, refugees, and their families. They were said to face legal and practical challenges to access social protection. It was argued that many options exist to secure and maintain social security rights across borders and address the protection gaps, inequalities and discrimination evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

ILO reaches ratification target for landmark social security Convention

ON 8th November, ILO News reported that Paraguay had become the 60th country to ratify the flagship ILO social security Convention, No.102, reaching a target set in 2012 by the ILO’s Governing Body.

 

China: A gold medal for repression

On 9th November, ITUC reported that new ITUC research showed that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party had made Beijing unsafe for athletes and others involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics, 4 – 20 February 2022.

China: A gold medal for repression” details five repressive policies of the ruling party that make China and the world less safe:

  • repression and imprisonment in Hong Kong;

  • intimidation of LGBT+ people;

  • violations of fundamental rights at work, in supply chains and in society;

  • repression and exploitation of ethnic minorities; and

  • silence and obstruction over the spread of COVID-19.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “The sports of the Olympics have rules, but the Chinese Communist Party has shown that it has little or no respect for international laws and standards and is becoming increasingly repressive.

Just look at Hong Kong. In full view of the world, they have crushed any person or group that attempts to exercise the most basic rights and freedoms. If they handed out medals for repression, the Chinese Communist Party would get a gold every time.”

 

Working from home: From invisibility to decent work

On 11th November ILO news reported that with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers around the world had shifted to working from home, joining the hundreds of millions of other workers who had already been working from home for decades.

However, it was argued that the laws and policies that govern the labour market had not been designed with the home as a workplace in mind.

 

ILO launches new tool on social dialogue

On 14th November, ILO News announced that the new ILO tool, which outlines steps to create effective and inclusive social dialogue, would assist with the achievement of several UN Sustainable Development Goals.

COP26: Jobs plans with Just Transition essential to implementation of Glasgow Agreement

On 15th November ITUC reported that the COP26 climate agreement had acknowledged the science, recognised the gaps to realise the 1.5C target and embedded the call for Just Transition but also that the compromises made in Glasgow had fallen short on ambition, finance, responsibility and inclusion.

It was argued that 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,” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC was reported as saying.

 

We open opportunities for persons with disability in the workplace

On 16th November, ILO News reported that ILO Chief Technical Advisor, Pauline Swagi, was speaking from Nairobi about the Innovation to Inclusion (i2i) programme, which is developing, testing, and sharing effective ways to engage and retain persons with disabilities in waged employment in the private sector in Kenya. Tit was noted that the programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) UK and is implemented in Kenya and Bangladesh.

 

Cambodia: Rong Chhun praises “solidarity between workers”

On 16th November ITUC reported that Rong Chhun had thanked the ITUC and everyone who had showed him solidarity during his detention, and he had called on workers and unions to keep up the pressure on the Cambodian government.

It was noted that the president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) had been freed from prison on 12 November 2021 along with fellow labour rights advocates Sar Kanika and Ton Nimol.

Freedom and human rights have been deteriorating in Cambodia for the past five years with the dissolution of opposition parties and a new law making it difficult to register independent trade unions that are not under the government umbrella.

Trade unions have lost their voice, they are in fear of expressing their opinion, and they fear being accused of inciting social disorder and being criminally charged.

We need trade unions across the world to support each other when they come under attack like this and to put pressure on governments that violate basic rights like in Cambodia.

I try to promote the freedom of all workers around the world, I support solidarity between workers, and I thank the ITUC for supporting this,” said Rong Chhun, speaking by video to the ITUC Human and Trade Union Rights Committee.
 

ILO Governing Body concludes its 343rd session

On 17th November ILO News reported that the ILO Governing Body had concluded on 12 November. ILO News discussed the key elements with Dimitrina Dimitrova, Deputy Director of the Department for Official Meetings, Documentation and Relations of the ILO.

      1. This Governing Body session was hybrid, with an increased physical presence compared to the previous three virtual sessions. How did it go?

The work of this Session benefitted from greater face-to-face interaction among limited numbers of representatives of the three constituent groups. The vast majority of participants connected remotely. The exceptional methods of work adopted by the Governing Body  to deal with the circumstances of COVID-19  allowed it to conclude its work in full and to assure continuity of the business of the Organization.

      1. The June International Labour Conference (ILC) adopted a Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Did the Governing Body consider concrete actions for its implementation?

Yes, the Governing Body focused on four principal lines of action to give effect to the Global Call to Action  and to support national recovery strategies: tracking progress towards a human-centred recovery; financing a human-centred recovery; tripartite national dialogues to define national priorities; and multilateral action for a human-centred recovery. It included the modalities for the high-level Multilateral Policy Forum called for in the Global Call to Action. The purpose of this Forum is to mobilize a strong, coherent global response in support of Member States. It will be convened in the first months of 2022 in a hybrid format, with the participation of the ILO’s tripartite constituents, heads of state and government and leadership of relevant international and regional organizations. All of this will focus and accelerate the ILO’s work to advance the ambitions of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work .

      1. The Governing Body also discussed proposals to include safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO's framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. What was the outcome of the discussion on this item?

In 2019, the ILC adopted a resolution requesting the Governing Body to include safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. The importance of Occupational Safety and Health has become all the more evident in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governing Body agreed to place this issue on the agenda of next year’s ILC . It requested the Office to prepare a background paper for the 344th Governing Body Session in March 2022, as well as a draft resolution for consideration at the 110th Session of the Conference next year.

      1. The Governing Body plays a key role in the ILO supervisory process and it followed up on complaints submitted under article 26 of the ILO Constitution. What was the outcome of the discussions?

Following up on a complaint against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , the Governing Body deplored the continuing non-acceptance by the Government of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. The Governing Body acknowledged the steps taken by the Government to start a dialogue with social partners and urged it to develop this further, into a social dialogue forum with the assistance and presence of the ILO. The Governing Body also requested the Director-General to engage with the Government on the full and effective implementation of the Commission of Inquiry recommendations, as well as on the provision of technical assistance to support the process, including the option of establishing a Special Representative of the Director-General by March 2022; and to present to its Session next March a report on the actions taken by the Office. In the light of the assessment of the developments, the Governing Body will consider all possible measures, including those foreseen in the ILO Constitution to that effect.

The Governing Body also discussed developments regarding the complaint against the Government of Bangladesh . The Government submitted in May 2021 the final road map for the implementation of the outstanding issues mentioned in the complaint and sent a report on the progress of its implementation in September. The Governing Body agreed to continue to follow up on the developments at its 344th Session (March 2022) and deferred the decision on further action in respect of the complaint to its 346th Session in November 2022.

      1. The GB discussed the resolution adopted at the June 2021 ILC, calling for a return to democracy and respect for fundamental rights in Myanmar. What were the main points?

Having discussed developments after the adoption of the resolution, the Governing Body expressed grave concerns about the lack of progress toward restoring democratic and civilian rule in the country, human and labour rights, and the continuing use of intimidation and violence. The Governing Body urged the military authorities to stop harassment, to ensure that workers and employers organizations can exercise their rights in a climate of freedom and security, and to end immediately the use of forced labour. The Governing Body requested the Director-General to report to its 344th Session (March 2022) on developments in Myanmar , including on potential follow-up action by next year’s ILC.
 

In the uneven recovery from the COVID-19 jobs crisis, women are being left behind

On 18th November, ILO News reported that tthe COVID-19 pandemic had had a devastating impact on the world of work. It was noted that a new ILO brief showed that the crisis in labour markets had had an uneven impact on women.

 

Bangladesh: Government uses excuses and delay tactics to deny workers their rights

On 18th November, ILO News reported that the government of Bangladesh had reported little to no progress to the ILO Governing Body on the road map to improve workers’ rights agreed earlier this year.

It was reported to have used delaying tactics and was said to be continuing to put the lives of working people at risk:

  • 35,000 Bangladeshis die at work every year.

  • Eight million are injured.

  • Sexual violence is rife.

  • Millions of workplaces are barely monitored by government labour inspectors.

  • Working people are trapped in jobs with poverty wages.

  • Five workers died after a fire broke out at shoe factory in Dhaka as the government was preparing its report to the ILO.

 

ILO research highlights massive COVID-19 impact on tourism employment in Asia and the Pacific

On 18th November, ILO News reported that the Asia–Pacific tourism industry had been left reeling from job losses, deterioration in work quality and shifts towards increased informality
BANGKOK, Thailand (ILO News) – It was noted that the outsized impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment in the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific  had been confirmed by new research from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Evidence from five countries where data is available – Brunei Darussalam, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam – revealed job losses in tourism-related sectors in 2020 had been four times greater than in non-tourism sectors.

Nearly one-third of total job losses had been linked to the tourism sector with an estimated 1.6 million tourism-related jobs lost in these five countries alone. With many additional jobs indirectly linked to the sector, the real estimate of tourism-related jobs suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region was said to be likely to be much higher.

 

ILO publishes report on work-related deaths and injuries in Qatar

On 18th November, ILO News reported that a report had identified gaps in data collection on work-related deaths and injuries and called for improvements.

It was said that an in-depth analysis of work-related deaths and injuries in Qatar by the International Labour Organization, had shown that 50 workers lost their lives in 2020 and just over 500 had been severely injured, with 37,600 suffering mild to moderate injuries.

It was said that most had been suffered by migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, mainly in the construction industry. Falls from height and road traffic accidents were the top causes of severe injuries, followed by falling objects on worksites.

 

New era of transparency for the ILO and Qatar in support of workers’ rights

On 19th November, ITUC reported that the ILO and the Government of Qatar had published a new report on health and safety provisions for workers in Qatar demonstrating a new level of openness and transparency in support of workers’ rights.

It was said that the report is a new marker of progress since the introduction of a modern system of industrial relations in Qatar which includes:

  • A non-discriminatory minimum wage for all workers with 13% of workers in Qatar receiving a wage increase since March 2021. The Minimum Wage Commission will review an evidence-based increase for the minimum wage in 2022.

  • The end to the kafala system which abolished exit visas and gave 242,870 workers the freedom to change their job without their employer’s permission between 1 October 2020 and 31 October 2021.

  • The Labour courts resolving complaints with non-payment of wages and conditions from unscrupulous employers covered by a Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund

  • Domestic workers given a standard employment contract and receive pay slips from their employers.

  • Elected committees of workers resolve complaints at workplace level with Joint Committees elected in sectors including hospitality, construction, security, and transport.

Social dialogue between workers, government and employers is the model that Qatar has followed to establish its labour law reforms. This gives workers the foundation to resolve complaints and sets the standard for industrial relations across the Gulf region. Qatar’s labour laws have passed the scrutiny test by international unions.

One year ahead of the World Cup in Qatar employers are now being put to the test to follow the laws that protect workers’ rights in Qatar. Abuses of workers’ rights can now be resolved through dialogue with the Ministry of Labour or through the Labour Courts. There is nowhere for unscrupulous employers to hide.” said Sharan Burrow

Legislation to protect workers from heat stress in May 2021 which extended the prohibited working hours and the and the world’s largest study into heat stress conducted in 2019 has given a legislative and evidence base to health and safety provisions. The ILO’s analysis of work-related injuries in Qatar and the level of transparency offered by the Government is model by which other countries can be judged.

No worker expects to go to work and not come home. The recognition of occupational health and safety rights for workers is a global scandal. In Qatar progress is being made, from the transparency of data which identifies risks for workers and practical recommendations from training of workers on risks to enforcement of penalties for non-compliance by employers. The culture being established in Qatar to openly report accidents underpins strong safety measures in the workplace,” said Burrow.

Qatar’s labour laws are embedded in national legislation. While workers are now given rights and protections, implementation, and scrutiny ahead of the World Cup will continue to test the laws as cases of abuses of workers’ rights are exposed.

As workers continue to be recruited to work in Qatar, the use of illegal recruitment fees will not be tolerated. Employers should be put on notice that those who deny workers the provisions of the law and charge illegal recruitment fees will be prosecuted. The cultural of impunity where employers won’t acknowledge the new labour laws is coming to an end. Workers in Qatar have rights and protections in line with international standards and these are being upheld through the labour courts. Fear is being used to intimidate workers and discredit the labour laws negotiated with trade unions and the International Labour Organisation. The laws are in place, let’s use them to uphold workers’ rights and resolve grievances”, Sharan Burrow was reported as saying.
 

COVID-19 has made life even more precarious for migrant workers

Stranded in their destination countries or forced to leave, unemployed and with no access to social protection, migrant workers have suffered the worst of the pandemic.

On 22nd November, ILO News reported that the COVID-19 crisis  had had a devastating impact on migrant workers all over the world, in particular those employed in precarious low-wage sectors, who had often been the first to experience the economic shock of the pandemic, said a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

It was noted that migrant workers had also been targets of discrimination and xenophobia, says the report, Locked down and in limbo: The global impact of COVID-19 on migrant worker rights and recruitment .

It was further reported that many migrant workers had had their employment summarily suspended or terminated as the virus spread, leaving them without a source of income. It was noted that some employees had been stood down without pay, while others had their hours or rates of pay reduced, or had been required to go on leave, while others had not been paid for work they had done, in violation of the terms of their contracts.

It was said that migrant workers had often found themselves stranded due to lockdowns and border closures andf that others were suddenly repatriated, without operational systems and protocols in place. It was noted that in some instances, public health law was used to justify their expulsion and returnees were then often stigmatized and subject to long periods of compulsory quarantine because they were considered to be carriers of COVID-19.

 

Youth unemployment in Thailand hits new highs due to COVID-19

On 23rd November, ILO news reported that an ILO assessment of the Thai labour market found high levels of joblessness among young workers due to pandemic restrictions.

It was noted that joblessness among young men and women in Thailand had reached a level unseen in recent years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO).  

It was said that the Thailand labour market update  found that youth employment had fallen by 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 (from the fourth quarter 2019) and the youth unemployment rate had increased by 3 percentage points for both men and women, reaching a high of 6 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

 

Out of the fields and into the classroom

On 23rd November, ILO News reported that Senior Programme Officer in Turkey, Nejat Kocabay, has explained how four ILO projects were helping to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in seasonal agriculture in Turkey, including hazelnut harvesting. It was said that the projects, targeting seasonal agricultural workers, are being implemented in collaboration with the EU, Dutch and Turkish governments, Ferrero and CAOBISCO – The Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe.

 

Why inequality is in the spotlight at the International Labour Conference

On 23rd November, ILO News reported that inequality was on the agenda of the second segment of the 109th International Labour Conference. It was said to be an issue that has been at the heart of the ILO mandate since it was founded.
 

Skills and lifelong learning: four key questions at the International Labour Conference

On 23rd November, ILO News reported that skills and lifelong learning had become ever more important as the world of work transforms rapidly, including due to changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The issue will be discussed during the second segment of the 109th International Labour Conference.

 

State-level Local Economic Development Committees capacitated to provide critical field-level feedback in Sudan

On 24rh November, ILO News reported that in November 2021, the ILO had held a workshop withiLocal Economic Development Committees (LEDCs) representatives from the East Darfur and West Kordofan to transfer relevant technical knowledge and skills to ensure coordinated, locally appropriate technical and measurable interventions under PROSPECTS.

It was noted that under the PROSPECTS partnership in Sudan , the ILO, as the leading agency for the employment pillar, seeks to strengthen rural livelihoods, improve agricultural productivity and create multi-dimensional channels of assistance for the newly established agro-cooperatives.

It was saud trhat to support ILO’s objectives, state-level LEDCs are being established. They will act a critical field-level feedback mechanism for the ILO and will play a core role in the identification, verification, and validation of planned interventions in PROSPECTS’ targeted areas.

 

#RatifyC190: Workers rise across the world to end gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work

On 24th November, ITUC reported that on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, trade unions across the world would take action for the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment.

It was noted that they would maintain this action for 16 days of activism, 25 November – 10 December, calling for the further ratification of ILO Convention 190.

It was noted that nine governments have ratified C190, with over 20 governments in the process of doing so.

It was said that on 25 November, the ITUC would be hosting webinars and posting information on this Facebook page. Materials can downloaded with the ITUC campaign tool kit.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, was reported as saying: “While the world has continued to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, women have endured a surge in domestic violence and gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work.

Even before the pandemic, gender-based violence affected one in three women in their lifetime, with devastating impacts on women’s health, safety and economic independence.”

This underpins the urgency for governments across the world to #RatifyC190 and to pursue its effective implementation to end gender-based violence and harassment for millions of women workers.”

 

Farm laws: Indian unions say victory part of wider social movement

On 24th November ITUC reported that on 19 November, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, had announced the repeal of the laws after a year of protests with thousands of farmers camped on the edge of Delhi. It is thought that nearly 700 farmers have died from heat, cold and COVID-19.

It was noted that in a statement, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) said: “Congratulations to the farmers unions. The ongoing historical struggle … has taken the shape of a mass movement, with extended solidarity from trade unions, other like-minded organisations and the general public. This success is an inspiration for others.”

Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, general secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) trade union federation, was reported as saying: “Truth, nonviolence and democracy have won over arrogance. Hats off to Sanyukta Kissan Morcha [farmers unions’ coalition]. Its matured, experienced leadership, its tremendous organising capability and, above all, rock-hard unity and patience have made the farmers’ movement a historic one.”

 

ILO and cooperatives raise awareness, promote labour rights on farms in Jordan

On 24th November, ILO News reported that the ILO and a number of agricultural cooperatives are working together to ensure that workers are well informed of their rights and responsibilities at work through awareness raising sessions held on farms.

 

Mrunal Thakur: Ratify C190 to end violence and harassment

On 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ILO News reported that actress Mrunal Thakur was speaking from the heart to address violence and harassment in the world of work. It was added that the COVID-19 crisis had exacerbated vulnerabilities, inequalities, and domestic violence and that Mrunal stands with the ILO to call on countries to ratify ILO Convention 190 and build a future where everyone is free from violence and harassment. #RatifyC190

ILO and Gallup to publish new report on HIV/AIDS discrimination

On 25th November, ILO News announced that the International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with Gallup, the global analytics and polling organization, would publish a report on 30 November that would highlight the level of stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and AIDS.

 

Amazon: Workers shine bright on Black Friday to #MakeAmazonPay

On 26th November ITUC reported htat Amazon workers and activists in over 20 countries and across six continents were taking part this Black Friday. For full details, see MakeAmazonPay.com.

It was said that Make Amazon Pay had chosen eight locations to represent the depth of Amazon’s abuse and the scale of the resistance to its business practices:

  • an oil refinery in Latin America

  • a supply chain factory in Asia

  • a container ship in Latin America

  • a warehouse in North America

  • a trucking depot in Europe

  • a regional office in Africa

  • a finance ministry in Europe

Sharan Burrow, the ITUC general secretary, was reported as saying: “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.”

 

#PalestineDay: ITUC calls on UN to update list of companies backing illegal settlements

On 28th November ITUC reported that to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 29 November, the ITUC had written to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, calling on him to support the resolution to regularly update the UN database of companies operating illegally in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The ITUC was also said to be calling for a relaunching of the peace process and the recognition of Palestine as a state.

It was noted thsat on 12 February 2020, the UN Human Rights Council had published the database of 112 companies, but it has not been updated, despite resolution 31/36 requiring this and “that the Human Rights Council establish a group of independent experts, with a time-bound mandate, to report directly to the council for such a purpose”. A group of experts is yet to be appointed.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “Adding and removing companies from the long-awaited database creates a necessary incentive and deterrent against engaging with Israel’s illegal settlement industry.

It is vital that the UN Secretary-General do all that he can to ensure this update is completed and published, and that, in order to sustain the database, the group of independent experts be appointed without delay. This is not just in the interests of justice for the Palestinian people, but also of the companies on the original database that have since cut ties with illegal Israeli settlement.”

 

COVID-19: Global Unions call for universal access to vaccines, healthcare products and medical technologies

On 29th Novembewr ITUC reported that in a statement, the CGU explained that while working people everywhere have been at the front line of saving lives during the pandemic, a handful of governments are “sabotaging global recovery by blocking the sharing of … medical advances, costing more lives and putting workers and communities at further risk.”

It was noted that the CGU called, “on all governments, in particular, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland, along with the European Commission, … to support the temporary and targeted ‘TRIPS waiver’ proposed by South Africa and India at the World Trade Organization (WTO), tackling a key obstacle to protecting workers and communities around the world as the coronavirus continues to impact. The WTO system envisages suspending intellectual property rules in exceptional circumstances: the pandemic is clearly an exceptional circumstance.”

 

Stigma and discrimination remain major issues for workers with HIV/AIDS

On 30th November, ILO News reported that a report by the International Labour Organization and the opinion poll company, Gallup International, revealed persistent HIV-related stigma and discrimination in the world of work.

It was noted that more than 40 years after the AIDS epidemichad begun, significant HIV-related, stigma and discrimination persist, according to a new global survey, released ahead of World Aids Day.

It wss aid that nearly four out of ten respondents said that people living with HIV should not be allowed to work directly with those who do not have HIV and as many as six in ten people, also supported mandatory HIV testing before people are allowed to work.

 

 

ECLAC and ILO call for urgent measures to support the labour reintegration of women and youth

On 30th November ILO news reported that in a new joint report, the two UN organizations, ECLAC and the ILO indicated that in the medium term it would be necessary to rebuild more resilient labour markets and foster formalization.

It was noted that a new report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that in current context of the crisis, governments in the region face the challenge of labour market entry and reintegration of the most vulnerable – especially women and youth – while also creating conditions for decent jobs, particularly among micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

It was also argued that they contend that in the medium term reforms will be needed to make labour markets more resilient by supporting reactivation measures with programmes to drive the shift from informality to formality, together with a redesign of social protection.

 

Collated by Peter Sagar, A Living Tradition CIC, December 2021

 

 

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