International Development Matters - Issue 98 June 2011

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TUC demands release of trade union leader in Côte d'Ivoire

In a letter to the Embassy of Côte d'Ivoire in London, the TUC has protested against the continued detention of Mr Basile Mahan Gahé, General Secretary of the Ivorian trade union confederation (DIGNITE), affiliated to the ITUC.

Attacks on Bahrain's unions must stop says TUC

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to Bahrain's Ambassador to the UK calling on the Bahraini government to stop its extreme reprisals against trade unionists and citizens for peacefully calling for greater democracy and reform.

Embassy Protest Against Bahrain's Anti-Union Repression

Read the ITUC protest letter delivered to the Bahrain Embassy in Brussels on 26 May by international, European and Belgian trade union organisations calling on the authorities in the Gulf state to stop their violent campaign against the country's trade union movement.

Organise like an Egyptian

The new societies being created in Egypt and the wider region must include strong, independent trade unions, says Kamal Abbas - the founder of Egypt's Centre for Trade Union and Worker Services (CTUWS), during his visit to the UK last week.

Read more here

UK Government should support international effort to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS

The TUC has written to the Foreign Secretary in advance of the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS to be held in New York on 8-10 June 2011, asking the UK Government to support the main demands made by the international trade union movement.

British trade unionists support trade union capacity building in Swaziland


A training and education initiative funded by the TUC under the PPA (Partnership Programme Agreement) with DFID, implemented in partnership with the International Research Academy for Labour and Education (IRALE), has significantly contributed to capacity-building in the trade union movement in Swaziland.

Read more about the outcomes of this initiative

Murder of Lorenzo Godoy Asencio in Guatemala

Brendan Barber has written to the Guatemalan ambassador in London to call for action following the murder of another trade union leader in Guatemala. Taxi drivers union leader Lorenzo Godoy Asencio's body was discovered on May 5.

Read the ITUC report on Guatemala: violence against campesinos continues

TUC urges Fiji to respect trade union rights

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to Fiji's High Commissioner as part of a worldwide trade union campaign to urge greater respect for trade union rights in Fiji.


Panama: Thirty-three Workers Dismissed for Forming a Union

Thirty three workers at Panamá Gaming & Services (CIRSA) de Panamá S.A. were fired for attempting to form a union.

Read more here

Syria: ITUC Supports Call for General Strike on Wednesday 18 May


As the repression against the popular uprising throughout the country continues, Syria's opposition has called for a general strike on Wednesday 18 May. 'Refusing to work is the only weapon the Syrian people have against the bullets, the tanks, the arrests and all the other brutal excesses of the Assad regime.

Read the ITUC's statement supporting the strike

Decisions for life Campaign - Young Working Women from Around the World Meet in Amsterdam


Over 100 young women from 23 countries gathered in Amsterdam from 9-11 May to plan the next stage of an international campaign aimed at reaching out to young women workers, and making sure international decision makers hear about the issues that affect young women at work.

Read more about the 'Decisions for Life' Conference here

Equal rights, respect and dignity for all workers

The global unions Education International (EI), Public Services International (PSI) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) join other human rights defenders in celebrating International Day against Homophobia. Working in cooperation, the three global unions restate their pledge to resist all forms of discrimination, intolerance and persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read more here

ITGLWF releases damning report on working conditions in sportswear supply chains, including forced overtime


The Global Union representing workers in the garment industry has released a damning report on working conditions in Asian sportswear supply chains.

Read the full report on the ITGLWF website

''Exploited Dalit girls Produce Garments in India for European and US Markets''

Companies have taken steps, but exploitation remains widespread

The report 'Captured by Cotton - Exploited Dalit girls produce garments in India for European and US markets' was recently published by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporation (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) and highlights major garment brands and retailers who have their products made under exploitative and unhealthy conditions by girls in Tamil Nadu, South India.

Read more here

Indonesian water workers gain 50% wage rise


Serikat Pekerja PDAM Jakarta, representing workers in Palyja (the GDF-Suez concession of the city of Jakarta's water system), finally won their demands for salary adjustments. After many years of stalled negotiations, recent union mobilisation and political pressure convinced the private employer to finally agree a 50% wage increase, retroactive to January 2011.

Read more here

Myths & Realities about Domestic Workers booklet


A booklet produced by IDWN (International Domestic Workers Network) called 'Myths & Realities about Domestic Workers" provides the argument and counter argument on the ILO convention on domestic workers.

Union Post - May 2011 Issue

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


The Trade Union statement to the G20 Conference on Coherence

Yesterday's (23 May) G20 high-level conference on 'Strengthening Economic and Social Policy Coherence', hosted by the French government, was attended by delegations from all G20 countries as well as the ILO, WTO and OECD, UNDP, IMF, World Bank and regional development banks, the ITUC/TUAC and IOE/BIAC.

Read the trade union statement to the G20 conference on coherence

G8 Summit Must Deliver on Jobs

This week's G8 Summit of World Leaders must deliver leadership to end the global jobs crisis, according to the world's trade unions. Over 30 million people who lost their jobs due to the crisis are still unemployed.

Read more here

New IMF Head Must Give Priority to Jobs and Reducing Inequalities, Unions Say

The incoming head of the IMF must have the capacity and will to tackle the global employment crisis and growing inequality, according to the ITUC. At least two candidates have so far announced interest in replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF Managing Director.

Read more here

Financial Transactions Tax Global Day of Action, 22 June

A brochure on preparations for the Global Day of Action for the Financial Transactions Tax, 22 June 2011 has been prepared by Oxfam (UK) on behalf of the global coalition in support of the FTT, of which the ITUC is part. It contains suggestions for action and contact points for further information.


ACT NOW! Free Ivory Coast union leader Basil Mahan Gahé!

Ivory Coast leaderOn April 26, Basil Mahan Gahé (pictured), general secretary of the national trade union center Dignité in the Ivory Coast, was arrested at his Abidjan home and taken into detention. The union office was sacked, and many union officers have gone into hiding.

Please take a moment and send off your message of protest

Uganda's anti-gay bill -- Stopped!

Great news -- the bill has been shelved! The appeal won a major fight for equality and justice. Over 1.6 million people signed the petition opposing the anti-gay bill, tens of thousands of us called our heads of state, and we helped make the attack on gay rights in Uganda a major international news story -- and it worked.

Defend Iraqi trade unions

Iraq's union federation, the GFIW, have been facing a crackdown from their government, with unions derecognised and a heavily partisan committee appointed to take control of union elections and assets.

For more information and various campaign actions click here

Defend trade union rights in Turkey - stop mass criminal indictments of union members and officers!

Over 100 trade union leaders in Turkey have been indicted in connection with a protest demonstration held in Ankara in April. Their trial is set to begin on 3 June. If convicted, they face up to five years in jail.

Please take a moment to send off your message of protest today via the online campaign.

Burma Campaign UK Welcomes Release of 34 Resistance Fighters

imageCampaign Success!
34 resistance fighters from Burma, who had been held in prison in India for more than 13 years, despite never having committed a crime, were released this month.

Read more here

You can take action to help free other political prisoners here

ACT NOW! Keep aid promises, make tax transparent, support a Robin Hood Tax

On Thursday, 9 June, the TUC is supporting a lobby of Parliament organised by British development NGOs.

Read here for more information and to get involved


ITUC Spotlight on Irina Livkovich (PIT.Ua Ukraine, Decisions for Life campaign)

'More young women can be leaders and, thanks to this project, dare to do what they want to'

Irina Livkovich used to be an economist but is now the head of the women's committee of PIT.Ua, a union for IT people in Ukraine. The Women's Committee was created under the Decisions for Life project, and as a direct result its mission is more or less the same as the campaign mission.

Read Irina's interview here

ITUC Spotlight on Jardélia Rodrigues (CUT Brazil - Decisions for Life campaign)

'The stories and struggles of the women are strengthening me.'

Jardélia Rodrigues is a Training Secretary for the Brazilian confederation CUT, in the Rio Grande de Sul region. She was approached by the CUT Women's Secretary and asked to join the Decisions for Life Campaign.

Read Jardelia's interview here



Tuesday 21 June 2011, 7pm
Maritime House, Clapham, London
Tuesday 21 June 2011
from 7pm

With special guest speaker: Juan José Polo Vázquez, General Secretary of National Union of Transport Workers, Cuba Plus live Cuban band, food and bar, and chance to win flights to Cuba with the CSC raffle.

Tickets on sale now priced £15 per person - includes food and drink.

Tolpuddle Festival 2011

Friday 15th July - Sunday 17th July 2011

More details here

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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