International Development Matters - Issue 107 March 2012

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Women and austerity: Impact and resistance

International Women's Day 2012 will be held on Thursday 8 March. The TUC is holding an evening of discussion and music to mark International Women's Day.

Full details and to register attendance, click here

International Women's Day: Action on gender pay gap

For International Women's Day 2012, the ITUC will highlight the persistence of the gender pay gap across countries and sectors and put the light on the crucial role played by unions in the struggle for pay equity. To that end, the ITUC will launch a report entitled 'Frozen in time: Gender pay gap unchanged for 10 years'. The full report will be posted on their website before 8 March.

Ask the Government to sign up to preventing violence against women

Last May, the Council of Europe agreed a new convention to combat violence against women and domestic violence. The Istanbul Convention has been signed by 18 countries since then, but the UK isn't one of them. The convention seeks to make sure countries are working towards a new minimum standard on violence against women.

Please sign our petition to Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone, asking her to commit the UK to signing the Istanbul Convention.

Olympics set to get fairer for workers making goods for London 2012

Toying with Workers Rights reportIn response to the evidence of exploitation of workers producing goods for London 2012, detailed in the new report Toying with Workers' Rights (Play Fair, 2012), the organisers of the London Games have signed a ground-breaking agreement with the Playfair 2012 campaign to protect the rights of workers in its supply chains.

Read more here

'The Arab Spring is a courageous stand for freedom and decent work'

Diana Holland speechOne year after the Egyptian revolution toppled Mubarak, Diana Holland, Unite Assistant General Secretary addressed Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa "demonstration for a human rights revolution" in Trafalgar Square, on 11 February 2012.

Protest re killing in Guatemala

SITRABIThe TUC has written to the Guatemalan ambassador in London to protest at the assassination of Banana union activist Miguel Angel Gonzalez Ramirez on 5 February.

Read the full story here

TUC letter to Mexican Ambassador to the UK on violations of freedom of association in Mexico

Read the letter from Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary to the Mexican Ambassador to the UK on the violations of freedom in Mexico.

HIV/AIDS - Union involvement boosts VCT in Nigeria

VCT clinic HIV/AIDS - Union involvement boosts VCT in Nigeria Voluntary Counseling Confidential Testing (VCCT) organized under the NLC-TUC workplace initiative has proved popular among workers in the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria where HIV prevalence is considered to be third highest in the country.

Read more about the outreach activities carried out under the Project.

Live Below the Line

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the UK is backing the Live Below the Line campaign.

The Live Below the Line campaign seeks to stir people's conscience on the need to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger at global level. It invites people to make a commitment to spend just £1 a day on meals for five days and have a glimpse into the lives of some 1.4b people throughout the globe having to do so out of sheer necessity. The UK campaign starts on 5 March and the global campaign will be from 7 to 11 May 2012. Last year's campaign supported by the TUC and affiliates raised over £180,000 for charities.



Turkey: Repression Against Women Trade Unionists

Turkey repression The ongoing police harassment of public Turkish trade unions has this time targeted women. On 13 February, 15 women - leaders and activists preparing for International Women's Day (8 March) - were arrested and taken into custody.

Read the TUC's letter to the Turkish Ambassador to the UK to protest against the harassment and detention of the women trade unionists and activists in Turkey.

First ever global meeting of women banana workers!

Women trade unionists and small producers from the banana industry in Latin America, the Windward Islands, Ghana and Cameroon met on February 24 and 25 to exchange their experiences within the household, workforce and labour movement. The meeting would precede the second global conference of the World Banana Forum (WBF) in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on 28 and 29 February.

Read more here

Banana union leader wins top award

Bananalink A woman union leader has won a prestigious award for her struggle to support workers in Honduras supplying bananas to British stores for as little as £5 a day. Iris Munguia, a former banana worker herself, will next month in Brussels receive a Silver Rose prize from SOLIDAR. The presentation ceremony on 6 March will coincide with events to mark International Women's Day.


Death Threats against SINTRAELECOL Leaders

Colombia death threatsColombian trade unionists have seen a rise in the level of death threats since the beginning of the year, especially representatives of the Colombian energy workers' union Sintraelecol, affiliated to the CUT and ICEM.


Spate of Trade Union Rights Violations in Cameroon

Reports have been received of a string of trade union rights violations in Cameroon. The ITUC has firmly condemned the reported intimidation, harassment, suspension and unfair dismissal of trade unionists.

Make Burma meet benchmarks before dropping sanctions, says ITUC

Burma santions The ITUC has just published a short report detailing what human rights benchmarks the government of Burma should meet before sanctions against it are lifted. The report is available here

We've also just uploaded a summary of it on the TUC website



"International aid agencies cannot just pitch up, patch up and push-off"

A new report from Oxfam says the international ability to provide humanitarian aid will fail unless there are more resources closer to where crises happen and there is more investment in disaster prevention.


RadioLabour, Latest news bulletin

Radio Labour Listen to the latest RadioLabour news bulletin including the 24 hour general strike called by more than a million workers in India on 28 February, protesting about rising prices and demanding respect for workers rights and labour unions.


Enough is Enough! European Trade Union Action Day - 29 February 2012

Enough is enough
Working people and their unions will be protesting across Europe calling on their governments to turn their backs on austerity and concentrate on creating jobs and stimulating growth - all part of a day of action on 29 February called by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).


UK opt-out from Robin Hood Tax could cost taxpayers £21 billion

Read TUC's General Secretary, Brendan Barber's response to a report published Tuesday 7 February by Ernst and Young, which says that the City would still pay more than half the revenue of an EU-wide financial transactions tax (FTT) or Robin Hood Tax, even if the UK opts out.

Single Market, Equal Rights? - pamphlet

Single Market
Single Market, Equal Rights?
is a series of essays by academics, trade unionists and business representatives - includes the argument that recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) cases and the eurozone crisis have left the single market unbalanced, with common laws and systems for business, but inconsistent rules on workers' rights.


IMF in a euromess?

The IMF responds to calls from European leaders to get more involved in the European debt crisis through greater lending to the region, however, the austerity policies being demanded are stoking further criticism from civil society organisations.

Read more here

Mass unemployment the 'spectre at the G20 finance ministers feast'

Mass unemployment

The international union movement said G20 Finance Ministers will fail their populations if they don't take action to raise job creation and employment in the global economy.

Read more here



Governments Urged to Act on UN Jobs and Social Protection Call

Governments & UN

The ITUC has welcomed calls by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for governments to act on job creation and universal social protection in a report being presented at the UN Commission on Social Development.



ACT NOW: Unjust prison sentence on Turkish trade union activists

Education InternationalEducation International (EI) calls on you to condemn the prison sentences imposed on 25 Turkish trade unionists from the teacher union Egitim Sen and the Confederation of Public Employees' Unions (KESK).



ACT NOW: Stop union-busting, reinstate sacked union leaders in Peru

Peru sacked unionists

Ten union leaders, including eight women, who were employed by the agricultural export plantation Euro S.A. in Ica, Peru, were dismissed without notice less than three weeks after forming a union.

Please sign the petition to reinstate the workers and their union



ITUC Spotlight interview with Pari Moses (Malaysia - MTUC)

Pari Moses "Working with placement agencies opens up new perspectives"

The vast majority of domestic workers in Malaysia are migrants, mainly from Indonesia. The MTUC is running a project aimed at preventing the abuses and exploitation they often face.

Read the full interview here

ITUC Spotlight interview with Zita Cabais-Obra (France - CFDT)

Zita Cabais-Obra 'Keep my passport and your money. I'll see you in court!'

As a domestic worker in Paris, Zita Cabais-Obra was badly exploited until she ran away, and was helped by the French national centre, the CFDT. Now she is General Secretary of the CFDT's Ile de France branch for employees of private individuals.

Here she talks about her experience.


The Failure of Capitalist Production

Failure of CapitalistWith Andrew Kliman
Bookmarks Bookshop, 1 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QE
5 March, 6.30pm, £2*

The recent financial crisis and Great Recession have been analysed endlessly but this is the first book to conclude, on the basis of in-depth analyses of official US data, that Marx's crisis theory can explain these events.

*£2 redeemable against any purchase on the night

Please click here to reserve a place, 020 7637 1848

Venezuela 2012

How Social Progress & Democracy are transforming a nation
Monday March 5, 7-9pm
Portcullis House, Parliament, SW1A 2LW

chavez supporters
Public meeting with: Sandra Angeleri, writer, 'Women Weaving the Dream of the Revolution in the American Continent' & professor, Universidad Central de Venezuela
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vice Chair, APPG on Latin America

Organised by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

International Women's Fair

Saturday 10 March 2012, 10am - 5pm Spitalfields Traders Market, Brushfield Street
London E1 6AA, (Admission Free)

On Saturday 10 March Spitalfields Traders Market will host a wonderful collection of creative women including artists exhibiting paintings and photography, handmade crafts, books, fashion designers, music, poetry, participatory workshops, fabulous food and great entertainment.

Useful websites

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

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