Building Workers' Power
ITUC Newsletter November 2019

Coming up this month – Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

The ILO Governing Body is concluding its meeting this week.
Amongst key country issues, this Governing Body will consider the Article 26 complaint on Bangladesh. This complaint comes after many years of frustration, during which the Bangladesh government has denied freedom of association through failing to register unions, arresting and detaining union members, non-enforcement of fundamental rights and minimum living wages in their support for corporate exploitation of workers in all sectors of the economy. The debate will continue at the ILO’s March 2020 Governing Body and the ITUC will work to expose the anti-union discrimination and the widespread violence, threats and dismissals. Some 46% of union registrations have been rejected and workers in Export Processing Zones are still denied the right to form unions.
A report on Guatemala will also demonstrate that impunity continues with the resurgence of rampant attacks on trade unionists and the stalling of legislative progress on rights.  ILO intervention to get the country back on track is urgently required.
The ITUC demand for occupational safety and health to be included in the list of fundamental rights has taken a step forward. We believe it will be agreed to discuss this in March next year with a proposal for a process through the ILO Conference in May/June, so there will be a vital program of lobbying for 2020. 
The good news continues with a new set of laws due to be put in place in Qatar, which, when enacted, will end the Kafala system. This is now the challenge for all countries in the region.
And there is progress on a UN treaty to mandate the UN Business and Human Rights Principles with due diligence requirements that ensure corporate responsibility for identifying risk of rights violation and commitment to remedy.
ITUC Africa meets for its congress in Nigeria in just a few weeks with a focus on unity to make a difference in the lives of working people and their families. Secure jobs, minimum living wages and collective bargaining with social protection for all – with a Labour Protection Floor for all workers as set out in the ILO Centenary Declaration. Organising for workers power is central to changing Africa’s future.

Call to Action - Break up Amazon
Amazon workers are standing up to punishing performance targets, jobsite hazards, and anti-union hostility. Facing increased scrutiny from governments, regulators and civil society, the unprecedented concentration of global platforms such as Amazon poses a real threat to democracy. It’s time to break up Amazon. The ITUC and UNI Global Union are co-hosting a symposium on the unchecked power of Amazon in today’s economy and society 2-3 December 2019 in Brussels.

Contact us if you would like to take part in the meeting.  
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Highlights from the past month

Economic Briefing
The power of people to fight for secure democratic futures is on show in Latin America where the fight against austerity has changed the government in Argentina, forced Chile’s President to cancel APEC and the COP and seen the withdrawal of measures creating despair in Ecuador. The IMF and the World Bank must finally realise that impoverishing people and fueling wealth to the corporate sector and the 1% is not an economic model people can accept.  

Read the economic briefing here.

Freedom Report
Now we need to see Lula released and justice served in Brazil and the peace agreement and workers’ rights respected in Colombia.

Read the ITUC's Freedom Report 2019 here.

ITUC Frontline Campaigns and Four Pillars for Action
These challenges for peace democracy and rights with the guarantee of equality and a new social contract including Just Transitions for the climate crisis and the challenges of technology are global and the General Council has approved updated plans for 2020.

Read the ITUC Frontline Campaigns and Four Pillars for Action 2020 here.

Key Upcoming Dates

ILO Governing Body
24 October – 7 November 2019 – Geneva, Switzerland
ITUC Africa Congress

20-21 November – Abuja, Nigeria
Colombia solidarity actions

25 November – worldwide
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November – worldwide
Amazon day of action

29 November – worldwide
World Aids Day

1 December – worldwide

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
2 December – worldwide 

ITUC/UNI Global Union Amazon Symposium
2-3 December - Brussels, Belgium
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