International Development Matters - Issue 102 October 2011

Share this page

Articles for inclusion in International Development Matters should be sent to at [email protected]


World Day for Decent Work - Friday 7 October, Seminars of the Day

WDDW 2011Next Friday, 7 October, is World Day for Decent Work - the day when trade unionists around the world make the case for rights at work, the welfare state and better jobs for all. The TUC is running three events on World Day for Decent Work at Congress House. Morning seminars on the Robin Hood Tax campaign and the campaign to ratify the new ILO Convention for Domestic Workers will be followed in the afternoon by a high profile debate on the global economy: is the G20 delivering for workers?

The events are free to attend and there is still time to register by emailing [email protected] Come along for discussion, campaign planning and solidarity!

Fair's Fair - life and rights in the global sports industry

The Playfair 2012 Campaign has produced an interactive, cross-curriculum resource for 9 to 14 year olds to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics.

It provides a fantastic opportunity for pupils to learn more about who makes the sportswear and sporting merchandise they buy. Fair's Fair brings alive the concepts of human rights, equality and fairness by telling the stories of people who make these goods in poorer countries, often working with few rights, and for poverty wages.

Order your free copy of Fair's Fair teaching pack.

An EU trade policy for decent work

The TUC is calling for decent work to be put at heart of the EU's trade and development work, in its submission to the European Commission's current consultation.

Read more here

TUC Protest letter - killing of Lesbia Xurup & Maria Mejia - Guatemala

The TUC General Secretary has written to the Guatemalan ambassador in London to protest at the murder of more trade unionists there.

TUC Protest letter - murder of Rafael Tobon Zea - Colombia

The TUC General Secretary has written to the Colombian ambassador to protest at the killing of another trade unionist in Colombia.

TUC Supports Palestinian bid for UN statehood

The TUC is supporting the Palestinian bid to be recognised as a member state of the United Nations at the end of this week. Pressure is urgently needed on the UK government to vote in favour.

Find out more here

Egypt needs an ILO-compliant labour law

Unions across Egypt and the world are calling on Egyptian Prime Minister Sharaf, to finally give Egyptian workers their fundamental rights at work, by passing a labour law based on ILO standards.

Read the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber's letter to the Egypt Prime Minister.

Empowering Egyptian women at work and in their unions

"Women in Egypt sorely need a voice in their workplaces; to demand the right to decent work and to insist on a place in their unions," said Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, at the TUC Congress fringe on Egypt.

Read her full speech here

Swaziland: independence doesn't mean freedom

6 September, was Independence Day in Swaziland. But the trade union movement there took action all that week to demonstrate against the last feudal dictatorship in Africa. Independence, sadly, has not meant freedom for ordinary people in Swaziland, which is one of the poorest countries on the planet and has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection anywhere.

Read more here

Zimbabwean unions elect new leadership


The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions held its 7th national congress in Bulawayo in August, and elected a new leadership. Annie Watson, TUC International Development Advisor reports.

Trouble in paradise for Fijian workers

On 1 September, the TUC took part in a demonstration outside the Fiji High Commission in London as part of a global protest at the arrest and court appearance of one of the country's leading trade union officials.

Read more here

RadioLabour Special Report

Trades Union Congress (UK) debates on international solidarity issues

Listen to Radio Labour's special report on the international solidarity debates that took place at the annual TUC Congress held 12-14 September.

ILO - International Labour Conference report

The report details developments at the 100th ILO International Labour Conference, including the adoption of ILO Convention 189 on the rights of domestic workers and cases reviewed by the Committee on Application of Standards.

Read more here


Middle East and North Africa Observatory

The ITUC has just launched its 'MENA Observatory' at: which aims to: 'monitor the development of the trade union movement in the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on trade union rights.

Click here for more information

Unions prepare for World Teachers' Day 2011

World Teachers' Day, on 5 October, will be celebrated around the globe under the theme of 'Teachers for Gender Equality'. Many education unions are already gearing up for the event by preparing actions that call for better and equitable working conditions, as well as demanding education systems that empower both girls and boys.

Mauritania and Guinea: Persistence of Child Labour and Slavery


The ITUC has released a report on core labour standards in Mauritania and Guinea, coinciding with the Trade Policy Review of the two countries at the WTO. The report finds poor compliance with international labour standards, especially with regard to child labour and forced labour.

Georgia - Striking Steelworkers Forced Back to Work by Police

One hundred and fifty striking workers at the Hercules Steel plant in Kutaisi, Georgia, were forced to end their strike and return to work in a sudden raid by an overwhelming force of police yesterday. Fifty police vehicles, led by the local Governor, descended on the strikers and detained more than 40 of them for several hours.

Read more here

Support the Labour Start campaign here

Mine Managers Turn on Indonesian Strikers

Government-mediated talks broke off last week and labour relations further soured between Freeport-McMoRan and 8,000 striking Indonesian miners of ICEM affiliate FSP-KEP (SPSI), the Trade Union of Chemical, Energy, and Mine Workers (CEMWU).

Read more here

Union Post - September Issue

Union post

The September edition of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Union Post is available here


TUC welcomes European Robin Hood Tax

Welcoming the announcement by European Commission President Barroso of a draft directive for a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), read what TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said in a statement here

The Great Financial Hoax

Financial hoax

The ITUC has released a video message from General Secretary Sharan Burrow calling for action by G20 leaders to fulfil their promises to create jobs and reform financial institutions.

Read more here

Calls for global focus on jobs


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) say government support for the unemployed ? both with subsidies and job training ? is vital since long-term joblessness is particularly intractable.

Read more here

International trade union movement calls for social protection floor

Global Unions, in a statement issued on the occasion of Autumn Meetings of the World Bank and IMF held on 23-25 September 2011 in Washington, has called for the establishment of a social protection floor in all countries.

Read the full statement here

World Bank policies "enabling" African land grab New research claims World


New research accuses the World Bank Group's policies of facilitating land grabs in Africa and favouring the interests of financial markets over food security and environmental protection.

Read more here

Substantial reduction in IMF growth predictions

World Bank

In its new World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released recently, the IMF stated that global economic growth will be half a percentage point lower than what it predicted only five months ago. The scaling down of growth forecasts is particularly important in the advanced economies, for which the Fund expects 1.6 % GDP growth in 2011 (vs. 2.4 % forecast in April) and 1.9 % in 2012 (vs. 2.6 % forecast in April).


ACT NOW: Join the 100 days campaign against caste-discrimination in Nepal

'I commit to end caste-based discrimination and untouchability!' said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in her video message, kicking off the bold 100 day campaign launched by her office and the National Dalit Commission (NDC) in Nepal.

The High Commissioner is encouraging everyone to pledge their commitment to end caste discrimination and untouchability.

The campaign website is collecting pledges here

ACT NOW! Fiji: Withdraw anti-union laws, respect workers' rights

Fiji's military government has dramatically stepped up its harassment of trade unionists. Leaders and activists of the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) have been assaulted or detained on several occasions. A new government decree issued on 29 July will, 'effectively abolish all trade unions in Fiji', according to the FTUC.

Read more and take action now

ACT NOW! Kazakhstan: Support striking oil workers

Since May 2011 two towns in Western Kazakhstan have been seeing protest actions in the oil sector that still involve thousands of workers. Some of the protest action participants suffered detention, disciplinary punishments, and criminal prosecution, including Natalya Sokolova, a union legal officer, who was sentenced to 6 years in prison for so-called 'incitement to social animosity'.

Support the campaign now


ITUC Spotlight interview with Gabriel del Rio (CASC - Dominican Republic)

"We offer social security to over 31,000 informal economy workers"

The Dominican trade union confederation CASC (1) has secured social security coverage for over 31,000 informal economy workers and their families. It also supports essential projects providing concrete assistance to Haitian migrants.

Read Gabriel's full interview here

ITUC Spotlight interview with Shaher Sa'ed (PGFTU, Palestine)


'A Palestinian State is an essential prerequisite for the Palestinian workers' rights'

The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) is firmly backing the Palestinian Authority's bid for the recognition of a Palestinian State by the United Nations. Shaher Sa'ed, its General Secretary, explains why in this interview.


With the London Olympics less than a year away and the demand for sportwear and merchandise at an all time high read firsthand accounts of factory employees working to meet the great demand.

Struggling for workers' rights in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Behind the scenes in the garment sector with trade unionist, Assela

Read the full interview here

Mlathi: paid below the legal minimum wage for making Adidas shirts in Indonesia


'I get paid Rp.1,121,000 (around £82) per month - which is below the legal minimum wage'.

Read more here

Malani: My life as a garment worker making Adidas sportswear in Sri Lanka


'...there is no trade union in my factory. I think workers are too frightened to join a union, fearing they will be sacked'.

Read her account here


'I am not afraid' - Syrian Embassy demonstration

When: 10-11am, Tuesday 4 October
Where: Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic, 8 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PH

Syrians in the UK will stage a demonstration outside the Syrian embassy in London on Tuesday 4 October (10am) to show that they are not intimidated by recent threats made against them and other Syrians by embassy staff.

The demonstration, organised by Amnesty International, will come the day after a new Amnesty report on the threats being made to Syrians living in various countries by embassy staff working for the Syrian government.

World Day for Decent Work: Newcastle event

5 October, 5.45pm - 8.00pm
Tyneside Cinema

This year, to mark 'World Day for Decent Work' Fairtrade campaigners, trade unionists and anti-sweatshop activists have come together to host a mini film festival in Newcastle on this issue.

For more info and tickets click here or Download flyer

Anti-Slavery Day Young People's Conference

18 October - 9.00am - 3.30pm
Museum in Docklands


18th October 2011 will mark Anti-Slavery Day in the UK. The day was established in 2010 to provide a focal point for raising awareness about the many people in the UK and around the world who continue to be trapped in modern slavery, and to promote the need for many individuals and organisations across society to play a part in ending it.

Click here for more info for this free event

18 October Food Sovereignty Day

War on Want, All Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology with Cuban speaker
Houses of Parliament Visitor entrance, Cromwell Green

Seminars and a rally will also take place during the day and evening. Full details and how to attend any of the events are listed here. Advance registration necessary.

Short Documentaries Made By Iranian Women - WAN

Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA,
4th November, 7.00pm

Amnesty International Women's Action Network (WAN) in Collaboration with International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI) Present:

Symposium of Short Documentaries made by Iranian Women

The event is free but a suggested £5 donation towards the work of the Women's Action Network will be requested at the door.

Book this event online here

World AIDS Day Seminar

Worlds AIDS day

1 December 2-4pm
AIDS in a Time of Austerity

HIV/AIDS continues to be not only a serious public health problem but also a major challenge to development in many parts of the world.

The event will bring together trade unionists, interested NGOs and government officials to look at the status of the disease in the UK and examine the current budget constraints and their impact on the services available to people living with HIV/AIDS.

It will also invite reflections on possible implications of public spending cuts on the implementation of the ILO Recommendation on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work.

Registration is free but places must be booked in advance.

More details will be in the next IDM issue.

Latin America 2011

Saturday 3 December, 9.30am - 5pm
TUC Congress House, Great Russell St, London, WC1B 3LS

With guest speakers from Cuba

Mothers of the Miami 5: Magali LLort, Mirta de la Santisima Trinidad, Irma Teodora Schewert and Alberto Juantorena Olympic Gold medal winner and former Cuban Vice Minister for Sport

Plus speakers from across the Latin American continent.

Tickets on sale here or 020 8800 0155.

Useful websites

There are a number of websites with useful information for trade unionists, policy makers and campaigners. Details here: Useful websites

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Share this Page