FTU calls for 20% salary increase across the board for teachers

The Fiji Teachers Union is calling for a 20% across the board salary increase for teachers.

As the 2017/2018 National Budget will be announced tonight, FTU’s General Secretary Agni Deo Singh says apart from this, all Early Childhood teachers should be put on normal Primary School teacher level salary and not on hourly wages.

Singh adds there are teachers who have served for more than 10 years but are on the same salary level with those who have taught for two or three years.

He says based on their service, there should be a staggered increase in salary for teachers who have given long and loyal service to the Ministry of Education.

The Union is also calling for the removal of contractual appointments for teachers and Singh says teachers should be put on a tenure to ensure they have job security which will enable them to get home loans.

The Ministry of Education got $432.2 million in the 2016/2017 National Budget where it was also announced that the base salaries will also increase for teachers.

It was announced last year that base salary for primary school teachers will be $16,610 while the base salary for secondary school teachers will be $23,411.

Source:  Fiji Village Newsroom

ILO ready to face world of work challenges resulting from crisis, labour migration and green transition

GENEVA (ILO News) – The 106th International Labour Conference  (ILC) closed following two weeks of deliberations on key world of work issues, including the promotion of peace and stability in countries emerging from conflict, strengthening labour migration governance and greening the economy.

The International Labour Conference adopted a new landmark standard, the Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205) , which updates the guidance of an earlier ILO Recommendation adopted in 1944 to provide responses to contemporary crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters. It also widens the focus of the standard on reconstruction and recovery to include prevention and preparedness.

The new standard provides a unique normative framework focusing on world of work related measures to prevent and respond to the devastating effects of conflicts and disasters on economies and societies, paying special attention to vulnerable population groups, such as children, young people, women and displaced people.

The Conference also adopted a Resolution which requests the ILO Director-General to take a lead in strengthening partnerships at the international level to promote the new standard. The adoption of a new Recommendation on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience – is very significant at several levels,” said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, in his closing remarks to the ILC.

“Significant because it shows, unequivocally, that the ILO is ready and able to update its standards, making them robust and relevant. And significant because it is a vital answer from the world of work to have millions of people, affected by crisis, disaster, or displacement. Not only are we listening to them, we are acting for them and acting with them.”

The head of the ILO also reminded delegates of the ILO’s responsibilities in respect of labour migration. He referred to the “widespread governance deficits which allow space for abuse, and too frequently a deterioration of public attitudes and political discourse towards migrants and migration.” He called on the international community “to make no concessions to attitudes which are offensive to the ILO’s values and standards and to provide real guidance and leadership in the construction of governance systems (…) which allow the realization of the benefits of migration for all concerned.”

Ryder lauded the “valuable debate” and “many expressions of support for the Paris Agreement ”, reminding his audience that there was not a “linear transition from brown to green”. He insisted on the value of social dialogue between governments and the social partners in this transition: “Tripartism does deliver the goods.”

Women at Work

The Conference held a World of Work Summit on Women at Work  on 15 June to discuss how to shape a better future for women at work, and what is needed to overcome obstacles for women in the world of work. The same day, three women Presidents highlighted concrete action they have taken to advance gender equality in the world of work: Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (Malta) , Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Mauritius)  and Bidya Devi Bhandar (Nepal) .

Another President, Dr Tabaré Vázquez (Uruguay) , addressed the ILO’s world parliament of labour on the opening day.

This year’s World Day Against Child Labour  on 12 June focussed on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.

Delegates also discussed a report of the Director-General drawing the world’s attention to the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories.

The 106th International Labour Conference adopted a programme and budget for the 2018-19 biennium of US$784 million which in nominal terms is some 2 per cent lower than for 2016-17.

The Conference also decided to abrogate four and withdraw two international labour standards.

A record 6,000 accredited delegates from 187 ILO member States attended the 106th ILC. The Conference was presided over by Luis Ernesto Carles, Minister of Labour from Panama.

Source: ILO Newsroom

ILO Governing Body elects Luc Cortebeeck as new chairperson

ILO Governing Body elects Luc Cortebeeck as new chairperson.

GENEVA (ILO News) – The Governing Body  of the International Labour Organization (ILO) elected Luc Cortebeeck, President of the Workers’ Group and Vice-President of the ILO Governing Body since 2011, as Chairperson for 2017-18.

Luc Cortebeeck replaces Dr. Ulrich Seidenberger, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva, who served as Governing Body Chairperson since June 2016.

Luc Cortebeeck looks back at a long career within the trade union movement, both in Belgium and internationally. He is also Honorary President of the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions of Belgium (ACV-CSC).

H.E. Luis Enrique Chávez Basagoitia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Peru to the International Organizations in Geneva, was elected as Government Vice-chairperson. Mthunzi Mdwaba, Founder and CEO of TZoro IBC, Chairman of the University of the Western Cape, Chairman of Productivity SA, was elected as Employer Vice-chairperson.

Catelene Passchier, until recently vice president of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV), was appointed as Worker spokesperson .

The Chairperson and two-vice chairpersons will serve as Officers of the Governing Body during the period 2017-18.

The 330th Session of the Governing Body also considered a range of other business, including a report of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association .

The members of the Governing Body were elected for a three-year term (2017-2020) during the 106th Session (5-16 June 2017) of the International Labour Conference .

The Governing Body is the Executive Body of the International Labour Office (the Office is the secretariat of the Organization). It meets three times a year, in March, June and November, and takes decisions on ILO policy, the agenda of the International Labour Conference, and the draft Programme and Budget of the Organization for submission to the Conference.

It is composed of 56 titular members (28 Governments, 14 Employers and 14 Workers) and 66 deputy members (28 Governments, 19 Employers and 19 Workers). Ten of the titular government seats are permanently held by States of chief industrial importance (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States). The other Government members, and the worker and employer members, are elected by the Conference every three years.

Source:  ILO Newsroom

NZCTU – Economy not meeting the needs of the working people

Figures out today from Statistics New Zealand showing our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are proof that the economy is not working as it needs to nor is it performing as Treasury had predicted.

“Just three weeks ago Treasury forecast in the Budget that GDP would increase by 1.1 percent in the three months to March, not the 0.5 percent increase that GDP that actually happened. Even worse, GDP is falling after accounting for our growing population. This is simply not good enough. Working people need fairer incomes. Where is the strategy from Government to ensure better wage increases?” CTU President Richard Wagstaff asked.

GDP per capita fell in both the last two quarters. The CTU estimates that productivity (GDP per hour worked) fell 1.3 percent in the last year compared to the year before.

“These figures show that the economy isn’t working as it should.  None of this is good for working people and their future wages and incomes.”

“The Government should stop trying to plug the income gaps by tax reductions which rob us of quality public services like health, housing and education that working people need.  It is time to fix our wages system so working people get a fair share of the income that their work produces.”

“If the Government doesn’t show some real leadership on this issue, working people will have gone through a whole economic cycle without seeing the rise in their standards of living which they deserve,” Wagstaff said.

Source:  NZCTU News

Qatar Blockade: Fears for Migrant Workers in a Region in Turmoil

Workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal are telling of essential food prices doubling with the sealing of the Saudi border and closure of air and sea links to Qatar. Food deliveries by costly air freight from Iran and Turkey are pushing up prices, while the availability of materials for the huge World Cup infrastructure programme, involving stadiums, transport links, thousands of hotel rooms and other construction works, is also in question.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Migrant workers in Qatar, earning as little as USD 70 per week, are facing yet another squeeze as food prices go up. While wealthy Qataris may not notice a difference, the brunt of the crisis is already being felt by impoverished migrants who have no rights under the kafala system. Probable delays in construction projects are likely to add further pressure on the huge migrant workforce, in a country where they have no real recourse to justice. Those who want to leave the country have to get their employer’s permission, and many workers are still paying off debts to recruitment agents who arranged their passage to Qatar. The Qatar government should, as an immediate humanitarian step, remove the kafala exit-permit requirement so that those who want to return home are not trapped in Qatar.”

Multinational companies doing business in Qatar must also take responsibility for the workers in their supply chains, including transport workers who were stranded when the blockade started, and migrant workers travelling via Qatar, which has been a hub for onward travel to other countries in the region. The immediate needs of these workers need to be taken care of, and contracts and promises of wages must be fulfilled. The International Federation of Journalists has also called for Saudi Arabia and its allies to stop treating journalists as political footballs as the Qatar-financed Al Jazeera network faces shut-down in a number of countries < http://www.ifj.org/nc/news-single-view/backpid/50/article/stop-using-journalists-as-political-footballs-in-qatar-crisis-demands-ifj/ >. Construction companies in Qatar should ensure that any delays to infrastructure projects do not lead to lay-offs or wage cuts.

The position of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, the driving forces behind the blockade, points to the divide between countries in the region and the different positions taken by the ruling families regarding their support for various fundamentalist groups including the risks posed to their absolute grip on power in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are also locked into an escalating arms race, with the Saudi government announcing a USD 110 billion arms deal with the US, and Qatar purchasing USD 12 billion in military hardware, also from the US. These weapons deals come on top of a flood of military hardware from other arms-exporting countries into the region in recent years. The proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Yemen has cost thousands of innocent lives and driven the country into a cholera epidemic, with some 5,000 new cases every day. Turkey’s announcement that it will deploy thousands of troops in Qatar, where the US already has a huge military presence, is likely to increase tensions in the region.

“The absence of democracy and human rights in the Gulf countries and the massive weapons deals with the US and other countries, coupled with authoritarian policies of regional powers such as Turkey and Iran, threatens even more widespread conflict than the devastating wars already underway in the Middle East. It is ordinary people, the citizens of the countries in conflict and the migrant workers whose labour keeps the economies of the Gulf countries afloat, who are paying the price,” said Burrow.

Source:  ITUC Newsroom

ITF unions meet in Cape Town for crucial maritime conferences

Almost 1.5 million maritime workers from 148 countries are represented by ITF unions.

ITF president and chair of the Dockers’ Section Paddy Crumlin said: “This conference comes at a crucial time for dockers’ unions and their members – dockers worldwide are facing serious challenges. Automation, outsourcing, union busting, liberalisation of ports and unsafe workplaces are some of the issues dockers are facing daily somewhere in the world. The upcoming conference is a global platform for ITF unions to come together and discuss these issues and agree on a strategy to deal with them to protect their members. Workers have the right to be an equal party in the discussion on what the future of work looks like in our industry and the ITF is our organisation that will help us defend that right – we are the ITF.”

ITF Seafarers’ Section chair Dave Heindel said: “Economies rely on maritime workers nationally, regionally and globally, yet seafarers and dockers are constantly subject to attacks on their rights to safe and decent work nationally and internationally. Seafarers are too often criminalised or exploited internationally while seafarers in domestic trade are replaced by foreign labour at a much lower cost and who are exempt from protection in the country they work.

“The seafarers’ conference, and in particular the cabotage conference, will reaffirm the commitment of the ITF to protecting seafarers in national trade as well as in international trade. As it has been a priority for the ITF for almost 70 years to better the wage and working conditions for seafarers on FOC vessels in international trade, it is equally a priority for us to defend the rights of unions to obtain and retain employment in national waters at rates that don’t undermine the ability of their members to live a decent lifestyle.”

The dockers’ conference and seafarers’ conferences are two events in a series of ITF conferences leading up to the organisation’s next congress in Singapore in October 2018. The Pathway to Congress series will define the priorities and decisions made by the ITF at an international level.

Source:  ITF Global

 

Education Workers win $100m in compensation for breach of right to Collective Bargaining

In what may be one of the largest settlements of its kind for employees who have suffered a workplace breach of Charter rights, CUPE education workers have reached an agreement on “remedy”, or financial compensation, with the Ontario government. The settlement comes slightly more than a year after the Ontario Superior Court issued a decision in favour of several education unions, ruling the government’s Bill 115 unconstitutional.

“We are pleased to finally have reached agreement on monetary recognition that the Ontario government violated our basic Charter rights,” said Terri Preston, chair of the union’s education sector coordinating committee, who led the remedy talks alongside CUPE’s Jim Morrison. “Bill 115 should never have been introduced in the first place. Justice Lederer’s decision gave us the ability to negotiate redress for our members.”

The negotiated deal will provide for $56.7 million, to be paid out over an agreed amount of time, if CUPE education workers ratify it. Ratification votes will be held across the province by the end of June.

The exact number to be paid to each CUPE member will depend on the final number of claimants. Claimants who were employed for both affected school years (2012‑13 and 2013‑14) will receive a full share of the award, and those who were employed during only one affected school year will receive a half‑share of the award. The award could affect over 60,000 CUPE members who were employed in the education sector during the years covered by Bill 115.

CUPE’s interest in this was clear from the start,” said Mark Hancock, CUPE National President. “Even before the Bill 115 case was heard, CUPE took the lead in pushing the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour case forward. In that case, the Supreme Court of Canada found the Saskatchewan government had gone too far in its attempt to ban strikes. In the Bill 115 case, we argued – and Justice Lederer agreed – that in giving the Ontario government the ability to prohibit strikes, the Bill violated the Charter. Taken together, these cases are building a strong body of jurisprudence in Canada that confirms workers’ Charter right to freedom of association. Now, with this remedy settlement, we can clearly say to governments, if you violate workers’ rights, it will cost you. CUPE is proud to be on the frontline of these efforts.”

The Bill 115 court challenge was filed in 2013 after Bill 115 stripped Ontario education workers of their right to bargain collectively. In CUPE’s case, in addition to banning strikes, the Bill lumped CUPE members’ interests in with those of teachers, even though the union could only bargain on behalf of its members. The challenge was postponed in 2014 and then resumed in December 2015.

“The court validated our position that Bill 115 was a gross overreach that trampled basic freedom‑of‑association rights,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “Justice Lederer wrote that the impact of Bill 115 was ‘not just on the economic circumstances of education workers but on their associational rights and dignity, autonomy and equality that comes with the exercise of that fundamental freedom.’ The ruling and this remedy settlement combined send such a clear message to governments: do not interfere in free collective bargaining. Do not mess with workers’ rights.”

The parties to the challenge, alongside CUPE, were the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). UNIFOR also had intervenor status.

CUPE asks any members who were employed in the education sector between 2012 and 2014 to be in touch with their local union for details of the deal and eligibility for remedy payment.

CUPE represents roughly 60,000 education workers in Ontario, including custodians, administrative and clerical staff, educational assistants, instructors, tradespeople, early childhood educators, and many more, across all four school board systems (English and French, Catholic and public).

Source:  Canadian Union of Public Employees

ILC 2017: Closing speech by Marie Clarke Walker, Worker Vice President of the Conference

Marie Clarke Walker, Worker Vice President of the 106th International Labour Conference
President,
Vice Presidents,
Director General,
Distinguished delegates, 

 

It has been a great pleasure and honour for me to be elected Vice-President of the 106thSession of the International Labour Conference. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the worker delegates for the trust they have placed in me.

I would also like to congratulate the President of the Conference, Mr Luis Ernesto Carles Rudy (Panama), the Government Vice-President Ms Saja S. Majali (Jordan) and the Employer Vice-President Mr José María Lacasa Aso (Spain), for their excellent and fruitful cooperation.

Mr President, let me start with expressing some concern. I recall the words of the Director General in his opening statement last week, on the importance and the relevance of the ILO Constitution for today’s world of work. It is indeed crucial to recall our values especially in these difficult social and economic times with many challenges surrounding us. It is therefore disheartening to see how difficult some of the discussions have been at this conference, on very fundamental values and rights that have been questioned or opposed in the various committees.

Despite this, I welcome the fact that the spirit of consensus prevailed and all the committees were able to adopt good conclusions. I congratulate the Conference on the successful adoption of a new instrument that reaffirms the principle of universal and lasting peace based on social justice and social dialogue.

I would also like to welcome the adoption of the Programme and Budget for 2018-2019 which will enable this organization to carry out the work we have all asked them to do during this conference.

Allow me now to briefly address the various subjects discussed at our conference this year.

Let me start with the work of the Committee on the Application of Standards.

This year, the Committee on the Application of Standards was again able to examine the application of international labour standards in 24 countries. The Committee discussed five so-called double-footnoted cases in relation to which the Committee of Experts requested governments to supply full particulars to the Conference. These countries include Ecuador on Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association, El Salvador on Convention No. 144 on Tripartite Consultation, Malaysia on Convention No. 19 on the Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation), Poland on Convention No. 29 on Forced Labour and the Ukraine on Convention No. 81/129 on Labour Inspection. A consensual list of 19 additional countries was agreed upon, including fundamental, governance and technical conventions. The Workers’ Group regrets that a number of countries with serious violations of fundamental rights were not examined by the Committee. These countries include Brazil, Colombia, Belarus, Honduras, Indonesia and the Philippines. Our Group welcomes clear and straightforward conclusions adopted by the Committee in order to provide recommendations to Governments in relation to their obligations under the relevant Conventions ratified. This year’s conclusions include a high-level tripartite mission to Kazakhstan, a high-level mission to Mauritania and direct contacts missions to Bahrain, Egypt and Algeria.

Let me now turn to the Committee on the transition from War to Peace, which has ably finalised its work on the Recommendation No.71. The workers’ group arrived here with the firm determination to achieve a Recommendation focused on Employment and Decent Work in the transition from war to peace, disasters, and building resilience.

We wanted a standard that clearly reflects the Decent Work pillars of social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work. It was further important to recognize the importance of public services and the role of the public sector; the need for just transition measures towards an ecologically sustainable economy as an element of responses to disasters and building resilience; progress for due diligence in global supply chains operating in countries in situations of crisis or in recovery; and to provide concrete measures to respect the fundamental principles and rights at work for refugees as well as for migrants and other forcibly displaced persons within countries as well as across borders.

We have achieved much of that. We are convinced that the new instrument will serve the cause of employment and decent work in the transition from war to peace, disasters, and in strengthening resilience. But of course it will do so only if we dedicate ourselves to giving it life and pertinence.

We further welcome the conclusions of the Committee on the second recurrent discussion on fundamental principles and rights at work. We congratulate the committee not only for its speedy work, much more for its spirit of consensus. The Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work are at the heart of the organization. They are the human rights of workers. It is therefore reassuring to know that constituents renew their commitment and that there was a strong consensus on the way to make better progress in their full respect, promotion and realization.

The conclusions outline a clear direction for the road ahead. There is commitment to work towards universal ratification of all core labour standards by the Centenary in 2019. In the campaign for ratification, but also for action tackling gaps in implementation, we welcome the clear focus on freedom of association and collective bargaining as enabling rights. The 2030 Agenda offers an important opportunity for the ILO to develop a plan of action to support projects around SDG target 8.8, which aims to protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers. Indeed, this target can only be reached through tripartism, social dialogue, freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
We are facing serious challenges, but with an ILO that will scale up its work on policy coherence and partnerships with and outreach to economic institutions, capacity building of constituents as well as research, analysis and data to guide future standard setting and policy development, we are confident to face the challenges of the future of work, with freedom of association and through tripartism, social dialogue and collective bargaining, in the same spirit of consensus.

Last but not least, the Committee on Labour Migration, despite difficult and long discussions, was able to achieve a good result and adopt an important set of conclusions. They reaffirm an important and leadership role for the ILO in the area of labour migration, based on tripartism and our normative framework, not only in its’ future work but also in its’ role towards the development of the Global Compact for Migration. The relevance of the migration conventions was reaffirmed, both for protecting the rights of migrant workers as well as for contributing to good labour migration governance.

The conclusions identified key areas that warrant special attention. Three of the areas I would like to mention in particular are the need to address much more effectively abuses around temporary migration, irregular migration and fair recruitment. Protection of migrant workers, their right to organise and especially the need to guarantee equal treatment for migrant workers were important achievements.

The conclusions further include priorities for action by the ILO in all these areas in particular more action on the awareness raising of the migration conventions; an assessment of decent work impacts of temporary migration schemes; and an assessment of the impact of the recently adopted guidelines for fair recruitment. We therefore think these conclusions strengthen the ILO’s mandate for a fair labour migration.

The work of these committees is the manifestation of the founding objectives of the ILO and its commitment to social justice. Its unique tripartite structure gives equal voice to workers, employers and governments in advancing internationally recognized human and labour rights in pursuit of its founding mission that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace.

The ILO must continue social dialogue and promote tripartitism to not only set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men but to also assist in their implementation.

My report would not be complete without mentioning the World of Work. This year the ILC World of Work Summit was dedicated to the theme of “A better future for Women at Work”. Workers welcomed the interactive nature of the summit and its engagement of ILO stakeholders and constituents in discussing how to ensure a better future for women at work, looking at work life balance, the care economy, violence and harassment as a barrier to decent work and the gender pay gap. A key part of the discussion also included the role men must play in the process. The Summit also welcomed three women Presidents who spoke about how they had advanced the gender equality agenda.

Finally let me congratulate all the new Governing Body members on their election and wish them all success in their important work over the next three years.

Mr. President, let me conclude by thanking the Director General, the ILO staff and the interpreters, who all worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this Conference, as well as my worker colleagues who did an excellent job in the various committees.

I thank you for your attention and wish you all a safe journey back home.

Source:  ILO ACTRAV Media Centre

ITUC Global Rights Index 2017: Violence and repression of workers on the rise

The number of countries experiencing physical violence and threats against workers has risen by 10 percent in just one year, according to the annual ITUC Global Rights Index.  Attacks on union members have been documented in fifty-nine countries, fueling growing anxiety about jobs and wages.

The report shows that corporate interests are being put ahead of the interests of working people in the global economy, with 60 per cent of countries excluding whole categories of workers from labour law.

“Denying workers protection under labour laws creates a hidden workforce, where governments and companies refuse to take responsibility, especially for migrant workers, domestic workers and those on short term contracts. In too many countries, fundamental democratic rights are being undermined by corporate interests,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

The ITUC Global Rights Index 2017 ranks 139 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected in law and in practice.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Eighty-four countries exclude groups of workers from labour law.
  • Over three quarters of countries deny some or all workers their right to strike.
  • Over three quarters of countries deny some or all workers collective bargaining.
  • Out of 139 countries surveyed, 50 deny or constrain free speech and freedom of assembly.
  • The number of countries in which workers are exposed to physical violence and threats increased by 10 per cent (from 52 to 59 countries) and include Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia and Ukraine.
  • Unionists were murdered in 11 countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Mauritania, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and Venezuela.

“We need to look no further than these shocking figures to understand why economic inequality is the highest in modern history. Working people are being denied the basic rights through which they can organise and collectively bargain for a fair share. This, along with growing constraints on freedom of speech, is driving populism and threatening democracy itself,” said Sharan Burrow.

The report ranks the ten worst countries for workers’ rights in 2017 as Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Philippines, South Korea and Kazakhstan have joined the ten-worst ranking for the first time this year.

Once again the Middle East and North Africa was the worst region for treatment of workers, with the Kafala system in the Gulf still enslaving millions of people. The absolute denial of basic workers’ rights remained in place in Saudi Arabia. In countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, conflict and breakdown of the rule of law means workers have no guarantee of labour rights. In conflict-torn Yemen, 650,000 public sector workers have not been paid for more than eight months, while some four million private sector jobs have been destroyed, including in the operations of multinationals Total, G4S and DNO, leaving their families destitute. The continued occupation of Palestine also means that workers there are denied their rights and the chance to find decent jobs.

Conditions in Africa have deteriorated, with Benin, Nigeria and Zimbabwe being the worst performing countries – including many cases of workers suspended or dismissed for taking legitimate strike action.

The International Trade Union Confederation has been collecting data on violations of workers’ rights to trade union membership and collective bargaining around the world for more than 30 years. This is the fourth year the ITUC has presented its findings through the Global Rights Index, putting a unique and comprehensive spotlight on how government laws and business practices have deteriorated or improved in the last 12 months.

In South Korea, Han Sang-gyun, President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, has been imprisoned since 2015 for organising public demonstrations during the candlelight revolution, to prevent the now deposed Park government from passing anti-worker labour laws.

Trade union leaders in Kazakhstan were arrested merely because they called for strike action. In the Philippines, the climate of violence and impunity, which has proliferated under President Duterte, had a profound impact on workers’ rights.

Working conditions also worsened in other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Myanmar.

Argentina has seen a spike in violence and repression by the state and private security forces – in one case, 80 workers were injured during a stoppage for better pay and conditions. The build up of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil saw a significant increase in labour exploitation, and the dismantling of labour legislation by the new Brazilian government last year caused a sharp decline of labour standards. In Ecuador, union leaders were forbidden from speaking out and their offices were ransacked and occupied by the government. Problems in the garment sector in Myanmar persist, with long working hours, low pay and poor working conditions being exacerbated by serious flaws in the labour legislation that make it extremely difficult for unions to register.

“The challenge is for governments to accept their responsibility to govern for people, not just in the interests of big business, by making laws that respect international labour standards. Even under the most oppressive circumstances, workers will continue to organise unions, and it’s time that politicians stood up for them instead of trampling on their rights,” said Sharan Burrow.

The 2017 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.

1.  Irregular violations of rights: 12 countries including Germany and Uruguay
2. Repeated violations of rights: 21 countries including Japan and South Africa
3. Regular violations of rights: 26 countries including Chile and Poland
4. Systematic violations of rights: 34 countries including Paraguay and Zambia
5. No guarantee of rights: 35 countries including Egypt and the Philippines
5+ No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law: 11 countries including Burundi, Palestine and Syria.

Read the report: ITUC Global Rights Index 2017
Download the ITUC Global Rights Index map
Download the ITUC Global Rights Index Infographic – Violation of workers’ rights
Download the ITUC Global Rights Index Infographic – Ten worst countries in the world for working people

Source:  ITUC Newsroom

In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour

Globally over 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by conflict, violence and fragility. At the same time, around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year. A third of them are children. A significant proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. The World Day Against Child Labour this year will focus on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.

Conflicts and disasters have a devastating impact on people’s lives. They kill, maim, injure, force people to flee their homes, destroy livelihoods, push people into poverty and starvation and trap people in situations where their basic human rights are violated. Children are often the first to suffer as schools are destroyed and basic services are disrupted. Many children are internally displaced or become refugees in other countries, and are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and child labour. Ultimately, millions of children are pushed into child labour by conflicts and disasters.

As the world strives to achieve the elimination of child labour by 2025, on this World Day Against Child Labour, let’s join forces to end child labour in areas affected by conflict and disaster!

Source:  ILO Newsroom