International Development Matters – Issue 108 April 2012

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


Sharing lessons down under

A high-level TUC delegation, led by President Paul Kenny from the GMB and General Secretary Brendan Barber, is visiting our sister organisation in Australia, the ACTU. Over the next fortnight, they will be meeting union leaders in Sydney and Melbourne, Brendan will address the ACTU Executive, and they will be 'speed dating' with key Government Ministers, many of them ex-trade union leaders themselves. Read more here

Message of solidarity to striking Spanish workers

Writing in solidarity with the striking workers of Spain, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber sends greetings to the General Secretaries of the CCOO Ignacio Fernardez Toxo and UGT Candido Mendez.

Iraqi government bans teaching union leaders from entering UK

The Iraqi Minister for Education has placed a ban on two leaders of the Iraqi Teacher's Union from coming to the UK next week to attend the NASUWT's annual conference. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to the Iraqi Charge D'Affaires in the UK calling on his government to drop this highly discriminatory act.

Teachers' Strike in Benin

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to the Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to express concern over the treatment of striking teachers by the Beninese Government.

Armed attacks on trade union leaders in Guinea

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea to express the TUC's strong condemnation of the intimidation against the leaders of the Confederation Nationale des Travailleurs de la Guinee (CNTG).

Olympics: Building a better world through sport - but without respect for workers' rights

Playfair Olympics 2012

The Olympic Movement says that is aims to 'build a better world through sport' and the Olympic Charter states 'Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on...respect for universal fundamental ethical principles'. But does it? Read more

The Commonwealth and the ILO: rights and freedoms

As part of the strategic review of the Commonwealth carried out last year, the Eminent Persons Group proposed a series of reforms. One was the idea of a Charter for the Commonwealth, bringing together every Commonwealth agreement about people's rights and freedoms. As part of a consultation on the Charter, the TUC has submitted these views to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague.


Philippines: Trade unions face an environment of violence and intimidation

The ITUC has released a report (20 March) on core labour standards in Philippines that finds an environment of violence and intimidation against trade unions - including harassments, dismissals, false criminal charges, arrests, threats and even murder. The authorities often fail to bring the assassins and those who order the murders to justice. Read more here

Trinidad and Tobago: Excessive Restrictions of the Right to Organise

The ITUC recently (7 March) released a report on core labour standards in Trinidad and Tobago, coinciding with the Trade Policy Review of the country at the WTO. The report finds excessive restrictions to the right to organise, to collectively bargain and to strike. Read more here

Guatemala: Escalation in Trade Union Rights Violations

Guatemala is witnessing an escalation in the violation of its workers' fundamental labour and trade union rights, particularly in the municipal sector. Read more here

Also, read about the unrelenting fundamental rights violations being committed by new mayors in municipalities across Guatemala.

Brazil: Teachers strike over low pay

Public school teachers in Brazil joined a national strike on 14-16 March. Education International's affiliate, Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação (CNTE), was coordinating the nationwide movement aiming at achieving two key demands

Mali: Teachers faced with violence in the north of the country

Mali teachers
Education International is deeply concerned after the recent coup attempt in Mali. The Syndicat national de l'Education et de la Culture (SNEC), its national affiliate, has told EI of the alarming level of violence currently raging through the north of the country, causing the closure of a large number of schools and disrupting the education system.

Read more here

Zimbabwe: Six Sentenced for Watching Arab Spring Video

The government of Zimbabwe should drop all charges against six civil society activists convicted for watching a video of Arab Spring protests in 2011, Human Rights Watch said. The six, who alleged they were tortured to confess to planning violence, were sentenced to two-year suspended sentences, a US$500 fine, and 420 hours of community service on March 21, 2012.

Read more here

Teachers, Jurists, Maids and Construction Workers in the Emirates Banned from Forming Trade Unions

United Arab Emirates
A new report from the International Trade Union Confederation on workers' rights in the United Arab Emirates shows how workers are denied the right to join a union and bargain collectively as well as widespread practices of forced labour.

Saudi Arabia: King Must End Slavery of Domestic Workers

Saudi Arabia: King Must End Slavery of Domestic Workers
The international union movement marked the occasion of International Women's Day by writing to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on behalf 1.5 million women domestic workers calling on him to support laws which give domestic workers the same rights as all other workers.

International Domestic Workers Network Launches Film on Convention 189

The International Domestic Workers Network has released a documentary film that illustrates how women from around the world organized within the International Labour Organization to establish the first global standards on Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention.

Union Post - March 2012 Edition

Union Post

The March edition of The Union Post, produced in association with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, is available for download and online viewing now.


Developing nations to name two candidates for World Bank

Media reports that former UN under-secretary general José Antonio Ocampo would be nominated by Brazil, while former World Bank managing director and current Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be nominated by her own government to succeed Robert Zoellick as World Bank president. In the Bank's 67-year history the presidency has always been held by an American.

Read more in the Reuters article

The World Bank needs reform: democracy, accountability, climate change, and more

An online poll on which issues at the Bank need the most reform was closed recently. You can see the results here. It's worth noting that there was a fairly even spread of issues that people thought needed reform.

Read more here


ACT NOW! Save Abdolreza Ghanbari's life

Prof Abdolreza Ghanbari, an Iranian university lecturer, has been sentenced to death for 'enmity towards God'. Education International, which represents its member organisation in Iran, the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers' Trade Associations (CCITTA) are demanding his release, and the TUC is urging trade unionists to email the Iranian regime in support of the campaign.

Justice for South African miners

South Africa Miners

ACTSA has recently launched a new campaign working for justice for South African miners. The National Union of Mine Workers in South Africa is calling for the set up of a dedicated silicosis fund, and ACTSA's campaign supports this call.

For more information and to support ACTSA's campaign click here


ACT NOW! End harassment of Colombian trade unionists

A Labour Start/PSI campaign calling for the reinstatement of Sintraemcali workers (as called for by the ILO and a local court ruling in Colombia) and an end to the harassment of their president has now gone live. Please support it and spread the word.

ACT TODAY! Tell EU Finance Ministers to back the Robin Hood Tax

Europeans for Financial Reform have developed an online campaign tool - with a map of where each EU Government stands on the financial transactions tax issue - which allows you to email Finance Ministers who support the Robin Hood Tax to express your support, email those who oppose it and those who haven't yet expressed a view to ask them to come down on the side of justice and fairness.


Exclusive - interview with Rene Gonzalez (Miami Five)

Shortly following his release in October 2011, Miami Five prisoner Rene Gonzalez recorded an interview for the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and Unite the union's new campaigning DVD on the Miami Five. Watch the interview and the new campaign films here

ITUC Spotlight interview with Salman Jaffar Al Mahfoodh (Bahrain - GFBTU)

Interview Bahrain - GFBTU
'We feel that people are supporting our fight'

Salman Jaffar Al Mahfoodh, General Secretary of the General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions (GFBTU), speaks about the assault on labour organisations and the urgent need to reinstate dismissed workers in Bahrain. Read the full interview here


RadioLabour interview with Jeffry Vogt (ITUC)

RadioLabour Vogt Listen to the RadioLabour interview with Jeffry Vogt, Legal Advisor in the Human and Trade Union Rights Department at the International Trade Union Confederation, on his return from a fact finding tour where he met with workers and reports on the latest efforts of trade union organising within Burma.

RadioLabour interview with Anabella Rosemburg (ITUC)

RadioLabour Rosemburg Listen to the RadioLabour interview with Anabella Rosemburg, Policy Officer of Environment and health and safety issues at the International Trade Union Confederation as she explains what the international union movement is calling for at the Rio+20 UN conference taking place 20-22 June.



VIVA VENEZUELA! Cultural Celebration

Saturday 14 April, 7.00pm until late
Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London, W1T 5DL

Viva Venezuela!A Night of Cultural Celebration of 10 Years since the Defeat of the US-Backed Coup in Venezuela! Very Special Guests from Venezuela & Latin America plus DJs with Latin Sounds, free Salsa Class and live acts from across the region plus much more!

Ticket info is here!


Palestine film festival 2012

20 - 25 April

Barbican Cinema, Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS

The London Palestine Film Festival returns to the Barbican Cinema with a vital series of premieres, screen talks, panel discussions, and cutting-edge film.

Don't buy into the Israeli occupation

PSC trade union conference
Saturday 21 April, 10.30am-3.30pm,
Unison Centre, 130 Euston Road,
London NW1 2AY

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is organising a trade union conference for delegates from trade unions affiliated to the PSC. This conference will discuss how to take forward union campaigning on Palestine, and how to implement the policy endorsed by TUC Congress most recently in 2011.

Click for more details, and to register here

Beyond the Frame exhibition

April / May 2012, London/ Glasgow

In April and May 2012 the Cuba Solidarity Campaign will host Beyond the Frame, a major exhibition by 26 of Cuba's leading artists in support of the campaign for Justice for the Miami Five. The exhibition will also feature the work of renowned British and international artists, all of whom have donated their work for free to raise awareness and funds in support of the Miami Five campaign.

Book Event- Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First Century City

with Anna Minton
Thursday 3 May, 6.30pm
Bookmarks Bookshop, 1 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QE
£2* (refreshments inc)

Anna Minton's acclaimed polemic, now updated to cover the UK property collapse and London's controversial Olympic Park, shows us the face of Britain today. It reveals the untested - and unwanted - urban planning that is changing not only our cities, but the nature of public space, of citizenship and of trust.

*£2 redeemable against any purchase on the night

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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