Trade Union Rights October 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
UNGA76: ITUC supports the Secretary-General’s “Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection”
At the end of September, ITUC reported that the ITUC had welcomed the Global Accelerator announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and its target for jobs and social protection.
It was noted that the policy brief set out a target to create at least 400 million jobs by 2030, primarily in the green and care economies, and extending social protection floors by 2025 to about four billion people currently not covered by any measures.
It was also reported that the Accelerator had been presented during the UN’s 76th General Assembly as part of the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative (FfDI), a process in which the ITUC had been involved presenting recommendations on Financing Recovery and Building the Economy of the Future.
“Our demands have been heard,” ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, who participated in the launch event was reported as saying. “The targets of the Accelerator will help to rebuild trust and hope with working people, as it can provide concrete answers to the shocks we face today and will face in the future.”
It was pointed out that the priorities of the Global Accelerator are at the heart of trade unions’ demands for a New Social Contract to ensure a human-centred recovery and resilience.
Social protection and long term care for an ageing population
On 1st October, ILO News reported that the number of people over 70 is projected to rise to 10 per cent of the world’s population by 2050. It was argued that social protection is key to ensure older people’s well-being, dignity and rights, while also supporting their families. It was also argued that in addition to pensions, it is essential that better access to adequate long-term care is provided to meet older people’s needs.
How “post-emergency” social dialogue is shaping socio-economic recovery
On 1st October, ILO news reported that ILO research showed that as countries are shifting attention to national recovery, social dialogue is now called on to promote long-term reconstruction and resilience of the socio-economic fabric.
New publications strengthen ties between trade policy and decent work
On 4th October, ILO News reported that two new publications created to pave the way for a more comprehensive and realistic analysis of the effects of trade on labour markets, based on a human-centred approach, had been unveiled by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
It was noted that the Trade and decent work: Indicator guide , provided analytical tools to support research on trade and decent work. It was said to include indicators on rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue – the four pillars of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda - that can be used to assess the interactions between trade and labour markets.
Educators and the changing world of education and work
On 5th October, ILO News argued that effective lifelong learning and quality education for all ws essential for a better future of work. It was maintained that if teachers, trainers and support workers are to fill this need they will need to master new technologies and learning techniques and receive support to deal with their expanded responsibilities.
Teachers must play a critical role in the COVID-19 recovery
On 5th October. ILO News argued that teachers would play a critical role in the #COVID19 recovery as they get education back on track and teach the skills needed for the future of work. In order to do this, teachers ILO News argued that they need decent and safe working conditions, including equitable access to vaccines.
7 October – World Day for Decent Work (#WDDW): Just Jobs
On 6th October ITIC reported that, with trade unions and workers’ rights supporters mobilising around the world on October 7, the World Day for Decent Work, the ITUC was calling for governments to adopt national jobs plans based on dialogue with unions and employers.
It was argued that every country needed to play its part to address the 575 million global jobs gap and to formalise at least half of informal jobs by 2030.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, was reported as saying: “Full employment must come to centre stage in recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure future resilience.
“Jobs with rights for all, including maximum working hours, living minimum wages and health and safety at work. Inclusive jobs – because women lost the majority of jobs to COVID-19. Climate-friendly jobs and jobs in care and infrastructure – because the recovery from the pandemic must deliver a sustainable future for the world.”
Global Call to Action
A top priority for public policy
On 6th October, the ILO called for a recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient and must become a top priority for public policy.
It was reported that ILO Director Guy Rider was stating that, “the Global Call to Action provided a clear and comprehensive way forward that will enable countries to convert the moral and political aspiration of leaving no one behind into concrete action.”
French Senate recognises Myanmar National Unity Government
On 6th October, ITUC reported that the French Senate, the upper house of the French parliament, had unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the National Unity government in Burma
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “Well done to the French Senate for setting this precedent. We call on all governments to follow this example and recognise, without delay, the NUG as the official and legitimate government of Myanmar.
“The writing is on the wall for the military junta. They’ve already been shunned by the UN General Assembly, the ILO International Labour Conference, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Health Organization. They all refused to accept the junta’s credentials.
“It’s time for the regime to return power to legitimate, elected leaders and restore democracy in Myanmar.”
It was also reported that to support the workers and families in Myanmar who had lost their livelihoods due to strikes or other protest actions the ITUC had established a solidarity fund and that people could show your solidarity and donate through the ITUC Myanmar strike fund here and promote it on your social networks.
Seafarers desperately need prompt access to medical care say ILO and International Maritime Organization
On 6th October, ILO News reported that , with hundreds of thousands of seafarers unable to disembark due to COVID-19 restrictions, a joint statement issued by the two organizations said the issue of medical care for seafarers was ‘a matter of life or death’.
It was noted that describing the issue as a ‘matter of life or death’, the joint statement also urged nations to prioritize seafarers for COVID-19 vaccinations and to designate seafarers as key workers, recognizing seafarers' valuable contribution to world trade.
It was further reported that the joint statement by ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, and IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim outlined the difficulties facing seafarers in accessing medical care due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was also said to highlight the “obligation to ensure seafarers can access medical care ashore without delay, whenever they need it, and to extend medical assistance on board should the need arise by allowing qualified doctors and dentists to visit ships”.
“Receiving such care can be a matter of life or death for seafarers who fall ill while working on ships. The international community should do its utmost to support those who have maintained the global supply chain under pandemic conditions over the last 18 months and keep carrying on often despite enormous personal hardships.”
A more ambitious financing strategy to enable the world to build back more inclusively and sustainably is feasible, says a new ILO paper
On 7th October, ILO News argued that fuller utilization of the existing capital and tools of the international financial institutions could more rapidly reduce the threats to humanity posed by the pandemic and climate change, says a new working paper of the International Labour Organization.
It was said that the paper Financing Human-Centred COVID-19 Recovery and Decisive Climate Action Worldwide: International Cooperation’s 21st Century Moment of Truth , provided a concrete illustration of how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multilateral development banks could mobilize a tripling of official development assistance-related external flows to developing countries over the next several years to reverse the growing disparity in pandemic response and recovery between them and developed countries and to confront one of the biggest and most immediate obstacles to achievement of the Paris agreement’s goals: the burning of coal.
ILO adopts code of practice on safety and health in textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries
On 8th October, ILO News reported that more than 60 million workers around the globe would benefit from concrete guidance on improving safety and health in one of the world’s oldest manufacturing sectors.
It was argued that, based on international labour standards and other sectoral guidelines, the code provides comprehensive and practical advice on how to eliminate, reduce and control all major hazards and risks. This was said to include chemical substances, ergonomic and physical hazards, tools, machines and equipment, as well as building and fire safety.
It was noteds that more than 60 million workers around the globe would benefit from the new code, which would be of particular importance to developing countries and emerging economies.
Protect mental health in the workplace during COVID-19
On 10th October, ILO News reported that work arrangements and conditions had changed considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was noted that this had brought new psychosocial challenges for the health and well-being of workers. It was said that an ILO guide contains the key elements needed to protect the health and well-being of workers.
Minimum global corporate tax rate: a launchpad for greater ambition
On 11th October the ITUC reported that it had welcomed the agreement by 136 countries on global tax reform, which included a 15% minimum global tax rate, but stated that it must be the beginning of changing the system so big companies pay their fair share.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “We welcome this long overdue example of multilateralism, but this must act a launchpad, not a destination, for greater ambition to ensure that multinational companies pay their fair share of tax.
“A minimum rate of 15% is too low, it will slow the race to the bottom of corporate tax and deal tax havens a major blow, but there are too many loopholes in the deal. However, now that there is agreement by most of the world that we need a minimum rate, we must push for the right rate, which we have argued should be 25%.
“The G20 finance ministers meet this week, and they must show the ambition the world needs and go above the 15% rate. We have made it clear in our briefing why the world needs fair corporate taxation – now the ministers must deliver.
“And let’s not stop here. The governments of the world must find agreement on other cross-border tax challenges, such as a tax on the excessive wealth of the world’s richest people and a tax on financial transactions so that this sector makes a fair contribution to tax revenues.
“Now is the time to create the financial conditions to achieve economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, provide for quality public services, reduce inequality and tackle unemployment. To fund this we need a fair corporate tax.
“So, this is a good start, but we must go further and the people of the world shouldn’t have to wait until the next crisis for everyone to pay a fair, effective rate of tax. Most working people pay more than 15% tax, why should they wait for multinationals and the super-rich to pay their fair share?”
Action needed at COP26 to reduce the risk of natural disasters
On 13th october, ILO reported that natural disasters threatened to wipe out years of development progress in some areas of the world. It was noted that ahead of COP26, the ILO was calling for greater global cooperation to reduce natural disaster risk and provide support to those impacted by climate change and natural disasters.
What to know when comparing data on women and men’s work
On 12th October, the ILO asked some pertinent questions regarding comparing data on women and men’s work. How many men and women were employed last week? How many hours did they work in their main jobs? And how many hours did they work in unpaid activities such as caring for children? These are seemingly straightforward questions but measuring paid and unpaid work through household surveys is anything but straightforward. This holds true especially for women in developing countries, who are more often engaged in informal activities such as microenterprises or small-scale farming — activities that can fall through the cracks of traditional surveys.
Nobel Prize in economics explodes minimum wage and jobs myth
On 13th October the ITIC argued that the award of this year’s Nobel Prize in economics had further exploded a decades-old myth that increasing minimum wages costs jobs.
It was noted that the prize had been awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that had demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “These Nobel Prize winners have demolished the unproven, yet influential, theory that ensuring that workers have a decent minimum wage somehow means job losses.
“Those who have peddled that mythical theory for decades, and the governments and institutions that have imposed the same theory, without proper evidence or against evidence to the contrary, are responsible for millions upon millions of people living in poverty.
“This prize is a serious indictment of many economists in that it has taken some thirty years for the facts to be given prominence over a damaging and groundless idea. At a time when the world needs evidence-based and scientific research to tackle a global pandemic, economics too needs to be based on factual analysis rather than ill-informed and ideological speculation dressed up as legitimate policy advice.
“Ensuring minimum living wages through statutory processes or collective bargaining is crucial to ending poverty; reversing the long-term trend of declining labour income shares; increasing demand; and building the basis for recovery – with jobs, decent work and resilience – in an increasingly unequal world.”
Time for the World Bank and IMF to embrace full, decent employment
On 15th October, ITUC reported that ahead of the meetings, the IMF extended cancellation of some loan repayments and took the crucial step of allocating $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDR), an international reserve asset. It was noted that the allocation had already provided much-needed liquidity and freed up resources for crisis response in developing countries.
It was said that the benefits could be maximised by the reallocation of SDRs from high-income countries toward squeezed developing countries and at the annual meetings, governments and the IMF had agreed to create a Resilience and Sustainability Trust Fund for this purpose. It was noted thsat the Bank increased funding for vaccines by $8 billion and is updating its strategy on social protection and jobs.
IRENA and ILO work together for a just and inclusive transition
On 18th October ILO News argued that organizations should step up their efforts to work for a sustainable energy future that promotes decent work for all.
“The rapid deployment of renewable energy is indispensable to the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals . Making such a transition conducive to decent work creation, with more and better jobs, while ensuring a just transition for all is essential,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder was reported as saying. “Working together, the ILO and IRENA can further promote decent work and social justice in the energy transition, in a comprehensive manner.”
"We have seen significant progress in renewable energy deployment, which is reflected in the continuously increasing number of workers in the sector worldwide, but it is uneven across geographies and communities,” IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera was reported as saying. "Progress that is not just or inclusive is not sustainable. Achieving a green economy can not be done without creating opportunities for all, making sure that all groups of society have access to decent, well-paying jobs."
The Green Jobs Advantage: How Climate-Friendly Investments Are Better Job Creators
On 18th October ITUC reported that new research showed that it is possible to tackle the massive disruption to the labour force of COVID-19 and the climate crisis together.
It was reported that the ITUC, the World Resources Institute and the New Climate Economy have launched a new working paper that provides evidence that climate-friendly investments create more jobs than unsustainable investments on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
It was said that the paper provided job creation estimates for investments in clean energy, public transportation, electric vehicles, and nature-based solutions compared to alternatives.
It was also argued that it offers recommendations for how to improve job quality in green sectors including wages, work security, and accessibility for excluded groups.
It was said that a launch webinar would present the paper’s main findings with a panel discussion with representatives from around the world working on issues of green jobs, job quality, and just transition.
G20 trade ministers fail on TRIPS waiver and COVID-19 response
On 18th October, ITUC argued that last week’s G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting shows there is no agreement on a path forward for reform of the global economy and global trade rules.
It was said that hope for sharing intellectual property and production capacity for vaccines and hope for reform of the WTO had been left in a vacuum, with vague statements and no agreement on urgent action.
The COVID-19 pandemic was said to have laid bare the fault lines of the world’s economy, fuelled even greater inequality and revealed the weaknesses in global supply chains.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “The case for reforming the global trading system to better protect people and the planet is overwhelming and urgent. As the world talks of reform of global trade and investment, the choices are stark.
“The devastation for many millions of workers who have lost their incomes and livelihoods and cannot access vaccines means that trade ministers need to be at the forefront in driving change to the rules that govern the global system. Countries must work together to rebuild trust based on decent work, with human and labour rights as a floor for fair competition.”
ILO launches new online database on employment policies and strategies to promote an inclusive job-rich recovery
On 18th October, ILO News reported that the online platform would serve as a unique worldwide reference and source of information on national employment policies, and strategies to promote youth employment.
The platform The Employment policy Gateway was said to be aimed at governments, social partners, research institutions, practitioners and other development stakeholders, and to enable users to search existing national policies and strategies for employment promotion by region, country and themes. It was argued that this would allow comparisons of national policies across countries and supports research and analysis on existing policy instruments.
Employment Policy Gateway: For accessing national employment policies, and youth employment strategies
On 19th October, the ILO produced a video presenting the ILO Employment Policy Gateway, a unique worldwide reference and source of information on national employment policies, and strategies to promote youth employment.
ILO to release new report on the effects of COVID-19 on labour markets
On 20th October the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced that it would publish the 8th edition of its Monitor report series that tracks the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers and businesses worldwide.
It wass aid that the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Eight edition, and accompanying press release, would be published on Wednesday 27 October.
It was noted that this flagship report gives a global overview of how countries are grappling with the recovery, eighteen months into the crisis. Based on new data, it provides a detailed picture of the different recovery trends between developed and developing countries.
The report also analyzes the impact of vaccination rates on labour market by region, and the distortions the COVID-19 crisis is having on productivity and enterprises.
Decent work for sanitation workers in South Asia under the spotlight
On 21st October ILO News reported that a recent workshop had highlighted existing challenges and opportunities, as well as actions taken by the ILO, governments and social partners to address decent work deficits facing sanitation workers in South Asia.
Renewable energy jobs have reached 12 million globally
On 21st October ILO News reported that ahead of COP26, a report by IRENA and ILO underscored the jobs potential of an ambitious climate strategy and called for comprehensive policies in support of a just transition to a greener future.
It was noted that renewable energy employment worldwide had reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019, according to the eighth edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021 . It was also noted that the report had been released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) at a high-level opening of IRENA’s Collaborative Framework on Just and Inclusive Transitions, co-facilitated by the United States and South Africa.
It was said that the report confirmed that COVID-19 had caused delays and supply chain disruptions, with impacts on jobs varying by country and end use, and among segments of the value chain. While solar and wind jobs had continued leading global employment growth in the renewable energies sector, accounting for a total of 4 million and 1.25 million jobs respectively, liquid biofuels employment decreased as demand for transport fuels fell. Off-grid solar lighting sales had suffered, but companies were able to limit job losses.
ILO calls for global solidarity to build peaceful and sustainable future
On 22nd October ILO News reported that the world was faced by its biggest crises since the United Nations whad been established in 1945. A global pandemic and a climate emergency. It is humanity’s common agenda to address both and secure a resilient recovery for people and planet. It was noted that ahead of COP26, the ILO was calling on all countries to work together for a more equitable, peaceful and sustainable future.
Eswatini: Global unions condemn brutal attack on civilians
On 23rd October, ITUC reported that the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Education International (EI) and Public Service International (PSI) had condemned the latest attacks by state forces in Eswatini on working people.
It was noted thsat on 20 October, public sector workers had been assaulted by police on their way to deliver a petition calling for a salary review, decent working conditions and basic trade union rights.
It was also noted that reports said that at least 80 people had been injured in the violence in the capital, Mbabane, and the city of Manzini.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “We condemn outright this latest brutal assault on the people of Eswatini, and our thoughts are with the injured people and their families.
“It’s clear what the government has got to fix the situation: investigate and prosecute those responsible for this attack, and formally commit to a path to democracy that includes trade unions, civil society and political parties.
“The international community, including the UN, the SADC, the African Union and the Commonwealth – all of whose rules the regime in Eswatini is breaking – must take a stand against these flagrant abuses.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Eswatini and their fight for workers’ rights and democracy. The government there must understand that they can’t crush this movement and that they must start talking.”
Governments must make progress on UN Human Rights Treaty
On 25th October, ITUC reported that a key intergovernmental meeting in Geneva that week needed to make substantive progress towards a UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights, following a joint statement by UN human rights experts calling for a level playing field globally for responsible business conduct.
It was further reported that the trade union position on the negotiations was set out in this joint position paper from the ITUC and Global Union Federations. This week’s meeting will deal with a revised document, the third version of the text.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “This legally binding instrument represents a unique opportunity to set enforceable global standards of responsible business conduct that end the impunity for corporate human rights abuses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic once again has exposed a global economy built on corporate impunity and a race to the bottom, the fragility of global supply chains and business models built on non-standard forms of employment and informality.
“This stage of the negotiations must send a clear message to governments and businesses that you cannot run a business on exploitation of workers, communities and the planet.”
It wasnoted that the key priorities for the trade union movement are that:
· the scope of the treaty must be broad and substantive, covering all internationally recognised human rights, including fundamental worker and trade union rights as defined by relevant international labour standards;
· all business enterprises must be covered regardless of size, sector, operational context, ownership and structure or parent company-based extraterritorial regulation;
· there must be justice for victims of transnational corporate human rights violations in the home country of the corporation;
· there must be regulatory measures that require businesses to adopt and apply human rights due diligence policies and procedures; and
· the applicability of human rights obligations to the operations of companies and their obligation to respect human rights must be reaffirmed, with a strong international monitoring and enforcement mechanism.
“We have an opportunity to build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to hold businesses accountable to their obligations under internationally recognised human rights, including the fundamental principles and rights at work. We will highlight the clear, distinctive and disproportionate impact of business-related human rights abuses on workers, trade unions, communities, and the environment and the need for unambiguous language on liability and a clear mechanism for enforcement and for victims to access remedy.
“We call on all actors, including States and the business community, to participate in the process in good faith and to constructively negotiate a legally binding instrument that respects international rule of law, ends corporate impunity, protects workers and communities and safeguards the planet,” Sharan Burrow was reported as saying.
Investment and decent work in care: 29 October - Global Day of Action for Care
On 29th October, ITUC reported that care workers had experienced extraordinary pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was noted that there is an urgent need to demand adequate investment in good quality health and care systems.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “The pandemic has exacerbated some of the worst features of life as a care worker. For example, long hours of work, lack of protective equipment, poor working conditions and low pay. Care workers in the informal economy have lost incomes and had no safety net to support them and their families in the absence of universal social protection.
“The pandemic has made it clear that care workers are indispensable. It is time to reverse the decades of underinvestment in health and care. Investment and decent work in care will not only save lives but will also start to tackle structural inequalities across gender, class and, in many cases, racial and ethnic lines.”
G7 trade ministers take major steps on workers’ rights
On 26th October, ITUC reported that trade ministers from the G7 countries had committed to achieving full employment and taken major steps forward on workers’ rights, including eliminating forced labour and securing respect for fundamental labour standards in global supply chains.
It was said that the decisions had been made at a 22 October meeting convened by this year’s G7 host country, the UK.
In their communiqué, the ministers were reported to have said: “We stand united in our commitment to build back better from the pandemic and provide our citizens with the intended benefits of free, fair, and sustainable trade, including raised living standards, full employment, sustainable development, and a protected and preserved environment.”
It was also noted that in a statement from the meeting on eliminating forced labour from global supply chains, they had called for all countries, multilateral institutions and businesses to
· uphold international labour standards;
· take key steps around supply chain transparency, due diligence, prevention of forced labour, protection of victims and remedy for them; and
· adhere to the standards set out in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work.
G20 Rome summit: Access to vaccines, investment in climate-friendly jobs and social protection are key to lasting global recovery
On 27th October, ITUC announced G20 leaders were meeting in Rome for their annual summit as the world faces a convergence of crises with the global pandemic, unemployment, lack of social protection, rising debt burdens and inaction on climate change.
It was said that the Labour 20 Statement to the G20 sets out policy recommendations for leaders to commit to a just recovery based on
· investment in jobs – climate-friendly jobs for all with just transition;
· rights in supply chains and all forms of work;
· equality of women’s participation; and
· inclusive economies.
It was argued that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stall a global economic recovery, with less than 2% of the population in many developing countries vaccinated. It was argued that developing countries will be $12 trillion poorer through 2025, with a continued failure to roll out vaccines, wiping out an additional $1.5 trillion in income.
ILO calls for universal social protection in Latin America and the Caribbean following the severe impact of COVID-19
On 26th October ILO News reported that the pandemic had revealed serious deficiencies that had amplified the impact of the crisis, while at the same time generating a setback in contributory social security coverage and putting strong pressure on non-contributory schemes that had served to address loss of income and mitigate an increase in poverty. Strengthening social protection, universalizing its coverage and improving its governance will continue to be vital, says a new ILO study.
ILO: Employment impact from the pandemic worse than expected
On 27th October ILO News reported that the loss of working hours in 2021 because of the pandemic would be significantly higher than previously estimated, as a two-speed recovery between developed and developing nations threatens the global economy as a whole.
It was noted that the ILO was projecting that global hours worked in 2021 would be 4.3 per cent below pre-pandemic levels (the fourth quarter of 2019), the equivalent of 125 million full-time jobs. It was said that this represented a dramatic revision of the ILO’s June projection of 3.5 per cent or 100 million full-time jobs.
Prioritize world of work in implementation of Paris climate agreement
On 28th October, ILO News announced ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference – which opened on 31 October – that the International Labour Organization had called on countries to prioritize the world of work aspects of the Paris agreement on climate change to ensure a just transition to greener economies.
It was argued that governments need to integrate into their long-term plans towards zero carbon emissions, clear and concrete measures to promote decent work. In addition, countries should join the coalition of 48 countries that have already committed to formulate national policies to ensure that decent work and livelihoods are at the centre of global and national climate action, the ILO was saying.
ITUC condemns Sudan military coup
On 28th October ITUC reported that several anti-coup protesters have been killed by the military and more than 100 people injured in the violent crackdown unleashed by military head Abdel-Fattah Burhan.
It was noted that Sudan’s trade unions are at the forefront of widespread civil opposition to the military’s seizure of power.
It was said that the African Union has suspended Sudan, and there is pressure intensifying from many countries for the junta to step aside and allow a democratic transition.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow was reported as saying: “We unequivocally condemn the actions of the military, which are designed to allow military leaders to fully regain control of key economic sectors and escape accountability for human rights violations over many years, much like the military junta in Myanmar.
“The actions of the United Arab Emirates, which has sustained the military with weapons and economic support for some years, as well as interference from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, must also be condemned.
“We stand in solidarity with the Sudanese trade unions and the people of the country who are opposing the military and demanding the resumption of a democratic transition. All those who have been detained by the military must be released immediately, and the authors of the coup must be held accountable for their murderous crimes against the people.”
UN Climate Summit Glasgow: Just Transition is the pathway to climate ambition
On 29th October ITUC reported that unions were warning world leaders attending COP26 in Glasgow on Sunday 31 October that lack of action to reduce global emissions with Just Transition measures puts at risk economic and political stability.
It was argued that working people face a convergence of crisis with the climate emergency, a global pandemic, inequality, and the breakdown of trust in democracy.
“We are in race against time to stabilise the planet and COP26 is a significant milestone. All industries need to transition to give us a hope of a positive future yet too many government leaders will go to the UN Climate Summit with ambitions that do not meet the vital constraints of a temperature rise of 2 degrees let alone keeping within a 1.5 degree limit,” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC was reported as saying.
It was said that UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, had called the latest IPPC Climate Report, ‘Code red for humanity’, yet government implementation plans, NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) were failing the test of climate ambition, social dialogue and Just Transition.
Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights groups as terrorists deemed ‘outrageous’
On 29th October, ITUC reported that Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights experts had joined the widespread criticism of the move.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, was reported as saying: “This step by Israel is outrageous. The human rights groups in Palestine are doing vital work in protecting the rights of Palestinians and in working for transparency and accountability of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
“This includes crucially important work in corporate accountability of multinationals operating in the Occupied Territories. We call upon Israel to reverse the designations immediately.
“It is no coincidence that this announcement coincides with Israel’s decision to build more than 4,000 new houses in illegal Israeli settlements inside Palestine, a move that has been sharply criticised by even Israel’s closest allies.
“The Israeli government seems intent on wrecking any prospect of a two-state solution, with Palestine and Israel co-existing as sovereign states. The existence of the settlements is a flagrant violation of international law, and instead of being expanded they should be dismantled.”
Compiled by Peter Sagar, A Living Tradition CIC, October 2021