Here’s information on workers right situation in the region adapted from the ITUC webpage.
2016 marks the Worst Year on Record in Most Regions for Attacks on Free Speech and Democracy.
The Middle East and North Africa were again the worst region for working people, with the kafala system in the Gulf still enslaving millions of workers. At the other end of the scale, rights in Europe, traditionally the best-performing region in the Index, continue to deteriorate. Despite the obvious failure of austerity policies, many European governments are continuing to undermine workers’ rights. The failure of most European countries to fulfil their obligations to refugees, including the right to work, is making the problem worse.
The ten worst countries for working people are Belarus, China, Colombia, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
Cambodia, India, Iran and Turkey joined the ranking of the ten worst countries for working people for the first time in 2016. The Cambodian government approved a new Trade Union Law further limiting workers’ ability to negotiate over their working conditions and pay, while police in India regularly use disproportionate violence against workers holding protests with many detained for simply exercising their rights guaranteed in national laws. Iran uses heavy prison sentences against workers for peaceful activities, and Turkey is targeting public servants engaging in legitimate and peaceful union activities, with at least 1,390 public sector workers under investigation. The Turkish government has also become synonymous with attacks on freedom of speech, with ten foreign journalists banned since last October and Turkish journalists facing severe repression including trial and imprisonment on bogus grounds including “national security”.
- 82 countries exclude workers from labour law
- Over two-thirds of countries have workers who have no right to strike
- More than half of all countries deny some or all workers collective bargaining
- Out of 141 countries, the number which deny or constrain free speech and freedom of assembly increased from 41 to 50 with Algeria, Cameroon, the United States and Pakistan joining the list
- Out of 141 countries, the number in which workers are exposed to physical violence and threats increased by 44 per cent (from 36 to 52) and include Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia and the Ukraine
- Unionists were murdered in 11 countries, including Chile, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Turkey
“Working collectively for better wages, rights and conditions makes workers targets of both state security forces and thugs hired by companies,” said Burrow. “This is happening in both the public and private sectors, including in global supply chains, which are a notorious source of exploitation and poverty. Governments need to uphold their obligations under international law through the legal standards they themselves adopt at the International Labour Organization, and ensure that multinational companies based in their country are answerable for all the workers in their international operations at home and abroad. The alternative is yet more impoverishment of working families and further flat lining of the global economy as people struggle just to pay their daily bills, unable to invest in their children’s future or to make even the most modest purchases.”
The 2016 ITUC Global Rights Index rates countries from one to five according to 97 indicators, with an overall score placing countries in one to five rankings.
- Irregular violations of rights: 13 countries including Germany & Uruguay
- Repeated violations of rights: 22 countries including Ireland & Japan
- Regular violations of rights: 41 countries including Australia & Israel
- Systematic violations of rights: 30 countries including Poland & USA
- No guarantee of rights: 25 countries including Belarus, China & Nigeria
- No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law: 10 countries including Burundi, Palestine & Syria,
For more information click on the links below:
Read the report: ITUC Global Rights Index 2016
Download the ITUC Global Rights Index map
Download the ITUC Global Rights Index Infographic – Ten worst countries in the world for working people.