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.
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.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary