‌‌‌Building Workers' Power

ITUC Newsletter – April 2022

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

Ukraine: refugees welcome

We stand in solidarity with Ukraine, we denounce the invasion and destruction by Putin’s war machine, and we say “all refugees are welcome”.

The ITUC’s emergency fundraising appeal for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and surrounding countries has received donations from 900 individuals and organisations. Ukrainian workers and their families are being supported with food, clothing, medical supplies, hygiene items and other essentials.

Thank you to everyone who has been able to donate or who has signed the petition for peace, dialogue and democracy in Ukraine. 

But it must not stop there. We must see all governments step up and plan for inclusion of all refugees. It should not take a crisis like this!

You can make a donation here to the  emergency fundraising appeal that is supporting the work of unions in and around Ukraine to help affected families, and you can sign the petition here for peace, dialogue and democracy.

If you would have five minutes, please complete this survey before 5 April. We are building the ITUC global campaign "Refugees Are Welcome", and we want to know more about what unions and partner organisations are doing to support refugees and/or internally displaced persons (IDPs).

ITUC warns of devasting impacts of Putin’s war beyond the borders of Ukraine and Russia

The ITUC condemns Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and calls for peace, democracy and dialogue.

Solidarity with Ukraine

The ITUC and ETUC, with their Belgian affiliates, have rallied at the headquarters of the European Union in solidarity with Ukraine, in protest at the invasion and destruction by Vladimir Putin’s military and in support of welcoming all refugees.

This April:

21 April: Common Security 2022

In 1982, Olof Palme’s “Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues” developed the concept of common security – the idea that no country becomes more secure or safe by making its neighbours less secure or less safe, and that all of us benefit from replacing military and nuclear escalation with dialogue and social justice.

Today, the threats to our security are growing, as the invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s nuclear threats show. Social injustice and inequality, climate change, enforced migration, shrinking democratic space, and pandemics are challenging human security more than ever. 

Forty years later, a new High-Level Advisory Commission, convened by the ITUC, the Olof Palme International Center and the International Peace Bureau, has applied the concept of common security to the world’s current challenges. A ceremony will present the new “blueprint for survival” on 21 April 2022 in Stockholm. The event will be livestreamed.

28 April: International Workers’ Memorial Day

This 28 April we demand that the International Labour Organization (ILO) recognise that occupational health and safety (OHS) in employment must become a fundamental right along with freedom of association; the right to collective bargaining; and the elimination of forced labour, child labour and discrimination. It is time to make OHS a fundamental right at work.

It is three years since the ILO Centenary Conference agreed that this would be done. Three years too long. Three years in which 8.1 million people have died as a result of their work, with more now living with life-altering injuries and illnesses because their employer did not protect them. The ILO Governing Body has now formally put this issue on the agenda of this year’s International Labour Conference in June, an important step towards success.


We continue to campaign for the government of Bangladesh to improve conditions that put the lives of working people at risk. Our report revealed the impact of government inaction on the lives of working people across three economic sectors.

In its latest progress report to the ILO Governing Body, it is clear that the government of Bangladesh has again failed to make any serious progress in reform; it has been put on notice to improve conditions for workers by November 2022 or face a Commission of Inquiry.

Hong Kong: Lee Cheuk Yan

April marks one year since Lee Cheuk Yan, general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, was imprisoned for his pro-democracy work.

To quote Lee himself, the fight for democracy in Hong Kong and the resistance to the Chinese Communist Party’s political takeover are “the struggle of memory against forgetting”.

We will make sure that the world does not forget Lee and all the other democracy defenders being persecuted in Hong Kong.

ILO Director-General

Finally, congratulations to Gilbert Houngbo, who will take over as director-general of the ILO this October, the first person from Africa to do so. He has demonstrated his commitment to the tripartite mandate of the ILO and its role in promoting decent work and setting standards for the world of work.

The ITUC supported Gilbert, and we look forward to working with him in taking on the challenges of ensuring peace, creating good jobs, transitioning to a zero-carbon economy and harnessing technology for the good of all.

In solidarity,

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary


The government of Bangladesh has been put on notice: improve conditions for workers by November 2022 or face a Commission of Inquiry.

The ITUC has welcomed the election today of Gilbert Houngbo as the next director general of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

A report by the UN Human Rights Council has exposed the scale of the violence systematically used by the military junta

Key Upcoming Dates

IMF and World Bank spring meetings
18 – 24 April

Common Security 2022
21 April

Earth Day
22 April

ITUC Youth Committee
27 April

International Workers’ Memorial Day
28 April

ITUC Women’s Committee
28 – 29 April

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