Commonwealth Summit: Unions Call for Action on Jobs, Democracy, Development and Climate

Trade unions from the Commonwealth countries are calling on leaders at the 52-member Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London on 19-20 April to act on jobs, democracy, development and climate. The biennial summit brings together national leaders from the grouping that includes more than a third of the world’s population.

In a submission to the meeting, the Commonwealth Trade Union Group puts forward a set of priorities which Commonwealth countries should implement. They include:

  • an annual Commonwealth Labour Ministers meeting to tackle the jobs crisis
  • full ratification of the ILO core conventions by all Commonwealth countries
  • action against modern slavery including due diligence in supply chains
  • the development of a youth employment strategy with support for vocational education and quality apprenticeships
  • adoption of ambitious climate plans to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees
  • resources and support for development of small island states
  • strong audit and peer review mechanisms to implement the Harare Declaration - maintaining pressure for the restoration of democracy in Fiji and for an end to persistent breaches of the Commonwealth Charter by Swaziland
  • incorporating LGBTI rights in the 2018 CHOGM Declaration.

“The Commonwealth is founded on the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. At a time when these values are under strong attack in every region of the world, this large gathering of national leaders in London should adopt clear and robust measures to defend democracy and human rights, create jobs and ensure economic development. With Commonwealth countries amongst those hardest hit by devastating climate disasters, a just transition to a zero-carbon zero-poverty future must be an absolute priority for the Commonwealth’s member states,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.