Trade Unions and human rights

The right to form and join trade unions, to collectively bargain and to strike are universal human rights. And these rights have been our cause since our beginning.  

Toni Ambatielos, a Greek trade unionist imprisoned for defending seafarer’s rights was among the six prisoners of conscience whose case was highlighted by Peter Benenson in the newspaper article that led to the foundation of Amnesty International. 

Twelve years later, it was the case of jailed Brazilian Trade Union leader Luis Basilio Rossi that sparked our first ever Urgent Action

Today workers’ rights remain at the heart of what we do. 

An injury to one is an injury to all

Trade unionists are at the forefront of the struggle for human rights. But standing up for fairness, justice, freedom and truth can come at a heavy price. 

Many union leaders have lost their lives or risked their liberty in their attempts to claim basic human rights. 

Trade unionists are committed to social justice and international solidarity, and typically have strong community roots. These can make them prime targets of government repression. 

They have to deal with their organisations being banned, harassment, political killings and 'disappearances', arbitrary detention, torture, exile and murder.

Workers' rights are human rights

Trade unions have been part of the Amnesty movement since our beginning. 

In the UK unions affiliate to Amnesty International . They are amongst our staunchest supporters and activists. Many other national sections of Amnesty work closely with unions in their countries. 

Internationally we are coordinating our intelligence, strategies and campaigns with the global unions to tackle the profound challenges of impunity, labour exploitation, and restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression.  

We are ordinary people from around the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Standing up together we can make a difference wherever fairness, justice and freedom are denied. 
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