International Development Matters - Issue 93 November 2010

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TUC News

Global Justice, Global Solidarity: The TUC's international development strategy 2011-2015

The TUC's international development strategy has recently been launched which sets out our global justice vision, goals and priority areas for Discussingaction from 2011 to 2015. Read more

Unions celebrate adoption of ILO Recommendation on AIDS and the World of Work

"There has been significant progress in the fight against the pandemic with fewer new infections and more people living longer with HIV in developing countries", said Mark Lazarowicz MP, Shadow Minister for International Development, in his address to the TUC Seminar on the ILO Recommendation on AIDS and the World of Work held in Congress House on the World AIDS Day 1st December. Read more

View a video of Esther Ogunfowora, Coordinator of the TUC/NLC Workplace HIV/Aids Initiative in Nigeria, talking about her project

UN and TUC play football match for an AIDS free generation

A multinational UN workers football team will play the TUC and a UK MPs team on the eve of World AIDS Day (Wednesday) to highlight the power of football to improve sexual health education among players in the UK and around the world. Read more

Building Workplace Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria


The VCCT Centre in Abuja, Nigeria, has become popular with workers and exceeded its monthly target attendance by a wide margin. Read the full report here

World AIDS Day: A Focus for Action in the Workplace

Trade unions around the world used World AIDS Day, as a focus to promote action on HIV and AIDS in the workplace and to call for renewed international commitment to tackle the pandemic, which is responsible for some 5,000 deaths every day. Unions will highlight this year's theme, Universal Access and Human Rights, to build awareness of the social nature of the disease, since HIV transmission mainly takes place along the fault lines caused by poverty, gender inequality and social injustice. The union movement is intensifying its push for national implementation of the new ILO Recommendation 200 on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work. This landmark ILO instrument breaks new ground by providing a framework for HIV and AIDS to be dealt with as a workplace issue, and by reinforcing the human rights consequences of the pandemic.

Trade unions confronting climate change in Cancun


Until the middle of December, energy and environment ministers representing governments from across the globe, unions and green organisations have taken all up residence in the Mexican party resort of Cancun. Read more

Robin Hood Tax - time for banks to pay

The campaign for a financial transactions tax, called the Robin Hood Tax in the UK, is continuing to grow around the world. On Monday 8 November 183 organisations from 42 countries, urged world leaders to back a Robin Hood Tax.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Governments around the world are embarking on a sweeping programme of austerity measures that will lead to huge job losses and cuts in services that the most vulnerable in society rely upon. At the same time the banks are back to business as usual with multimillion-pound salaries being paid to the chief executives of bailed-out banks and billions handed out in bonuses.

"A Robin Hood Tax would mean the world's banks paying to reduce deficits they helped cause and would remove the need for such swingeing cuts in public spending."

Read more here:

NUJ condemns the arrest and harassment of the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Dumisani Sibanda

The National Union of Journalists (UK) has condemned the arrest of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) President, Dumisani Sibanda. He has been arrested today for writing an article about the police force.

This follows on from the recent arrest and harassment of other journalists, Nkosana Dlamini and Andreson Manyere in Harare and Sydney Saize who was beaten up, robbed and injured in Mutare.

Iraqi teaching union leader survives assassination attempt

The head of the Iraqi Teachers' Union, Dr Muhsin Ali Nassif, was lucky to escape with his life after two bombs were detonated as he was leaving the union's headquarters in Baghdad on 20 November 2010. Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, wrote a letter to Dr Ali Nassif expressing his outrage at the attack and solidarity with the union.

14,000 years for Sri Lankan sportswear workers to earn Nike CEO's 2010 potFree

TUC supporting Sri Lankan garment workers to win better pay and conditions While Nike CEO Mark Parker is deciding what to do with his £8 million compensation package for 2010; the TUC is supporting sportswear workers in Sri Lanka to organise and win an annual wage of around £700 at minimum and better working conditions. Read more.

TUC urges IOC to ensure 2012 is exploitation free

As a delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) begins a three-day visit today (Friday) to the site of the London Olympics, the TUC is urging them to ensure that no workers involved in the delivery of the 2012 Games are exploited. Read more

Behind the glitz of major sporting events - what's the reality for sportswear workers?

In this new video, Indonesian trade unionist, Lilis Mahmudah, challenges us to look behind the glitz and glamour of major sporting events and understand the reality for workers making sportswear for the big brands. Poverty wages; sexual harassment; union busting; verbal and physical abuse, long working hours; and lack of job security are just some of the conditions she describes.

The Chamber that Delivers - a report from the ZCIEA Congress, Zimbabwe


I was privileged to be invited to attend the Congress of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) held Nyanga, Zimbabwe from 22-24 October. The formation of ZCIEA began in 2002 as the result of a joint Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Commonwealth Trade Union Council (CTUC) project which aimed to bridge the gap between the trade union movement and informal economy workers and to build the capacity of informal workers to secure economic and social justice. Read more

TUC welcomes release of Aung San Suu Kyi: but warns Burma is not yet free

TUC General Secretary welcomed the release today of the leader of the Burmese opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, but warned that the Burmese dictatorship still held thousands of political prisoners, refused to allow democracy, free speech or free trade unions, and continued the systematic use of forced labour. Read more

Latin America Conference Report

The sixth annual Latin America 'Adelante' conference packed out Congress Hall on Saturday 4 December.

Open this link for a full report and photos.

Reject Burma's sham elections


Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary and the TUC General Council's international spokesperson, called on the international community to reject the sham elections just held in Burma, at a rally in Trafalgar square on Saturday, 6 November 2010. Read more

Other International News

G20 Meeting - Global Unions Decry Continued Labour Rights Violations in Korea

Pre the G20 meeting in Seoul, the global union movement is called for the Korean government to honour its international commitments and respect workers' rights.

Korea is one of the very worst countries in the industrialised world for the repression of its workers. The laws in Korea are used by the government and employers to routinely; jail trade unionists for exercising their rights; stop subcontracted workers from joining a union or bargaining collectively; and prevent many public sector workers from joining a union or bargaining collectively.

Read more

ITUC statement: SEOUL G20: Jobs Commitment Welcome but Fiscal Austerity Risks Undermining Recovery, Warn Trade Unions

Trade unions have welcomed the recognition by the G20 that decent jobs are at the heart of the recovery and their commitment to provide social protection for the most vulnerable, while expressing deep concern about the global consequences of premature austerity measures.

Read more

Violations of Workers' Rights in Papua New Guinea

Serious and continued violations of fundamental workers' rights are disclosed in a new report by the ITUC on core labour standards in Papua New Guinea, published to coincide with the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) review of its trade policies.

The report finds that the country's laws need to be updated and amended in order to offer better legal protection to workers, and to provide assistance to children at work and victims of trafficking and forced labour.

For the full report

Haiti: Trade Union Brigades Fighting the Cholera Epidemic

Haiti's cholera epidemic, a tragic consequence of the series of disasters to have struck the country, has killed over 1000 people in seven regions. The trade unions have responded by launching an awareness campaign to stem the epidemic.

For several months, ten Haitian trade union organisations from all provinces have been working together to help put their country back on its feet. The ITUC has opened an office in Haiti so that it can be there side by side every day with the country's trade unions.

Read more

Fair Trade

Portuguese unions organise 24-hour general strike against government cuts

Public sector unions in Portugal held a general strike on 24 November in reaction to the government's planned austerity measures. Public Services International general secretary Peter Waldorff sent a solidarity message to PSI affiliates in Portugal, hightlighting the trade union movement alternatives to the cuts. READ MORE >

Beating back the temporary labour agencies' global offensive

Disposable jobs are on the march - and the global temp agencies are targeting Russia as the new battleground in their global offensive.

Read about the fight back here

Iran: Continuous Harassment of the Independent Trade Union Movement in Iran

The ITUC strongly condemns the continuous harassment of the independent trade union movement in Iran. The ITUC lodged numerous protests with Iran over the past years and months in response to seeing trade unionists being arrested, harassed and facing the threat of arrest for conducting normal trade union duties.

According to the information received by the ITUC, November has been a terrible month for trade unionists in Iran

Read more

Fair Trade Without The Froth it comes to the purchase of everyday goods such as coffee, tea and sugar, most consumers believe that sellers of Fair Trade products occupy the high moral ground. Despite its strong statements, however, the claims of the Fair Trade movement have not been tested properly.

This important study, whilst not doubting the position that Fair Trade is part and parcel of a market economy, does question the claims made by the Fair Trade movement. The market economy and free trade - often decried by proponents of the Fair Trade movement - must underpin any long-term development strategy. The Fair Trade model can only help a small number of producers in specific circumstances, such as middle income countries, not the very poorest of the poor.

Read more

The story of electronics

A new video explaining how unsustainable the electronics industry is has been released from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition in a partnership with the Story of Stuff to produce the short video that illuminates the life cycle of the electronics industry in 7 minutes. The take away message: So, let's have a green Moore's law. How about: the use of toxic chemicals will be cut in half every 18 months? The number of workers poisoned will decline at an even faster rate?


Sweatshop conditions abound in electronics industry

Trade union and NGOs meeting at the latest GoodElectronics general meeting conclude that trade union rights and working conditions for electronics workers around the world are still far below acceptable standards and require the urgent attention of companies and governments.

Read more

Unions Demand Rights for Migrant Workers at Global Forum

Trade union representatives at a Global Forum on Migration and Development (GMFD) meeting in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, on and 8 and 9 November were joined by migrant rights organisations in calling for a rights-based approach to migration, along with more effective action to combat racism and discrimination.

Global unions statement

Brazil: The trophy is decent work for the unions ready to win the World Cup in 2014

The BWI, construction trade unions and federations participated in the third meeting for the FIFA World Cup 2014 to be held in Brazil. 18 workers organizations attended the event, achieved unity and decided to launch the national campaign in Rio de Janeiro in April of 2010. Organised by the BWI, the meeting took place in Sao Paulo Brazil on 10 November 2010. The leaders of the construction workers approved a manifesto which sets out the fundamental demands of the sector in Brazil. Construction contracts will reflect core labour standards as stipulated in the ILO Decent Work Agenda

Read more

UNDP publishes 2010 edition of Human Development Report

This 20th anniversary edition notes that since 1990 many countries have succeeded in improving health, education and other human development outcomes without necessarily having consistent economic growth, but that inequality has increased both within and between countries. HDR 2010 recognizes "the centrality of inequality and poverty in the human development framework" and introduces three new country indices: the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.

Read report

IFI News

Doing Business

The World Bank has released the 2011 edition of its annual Doing Business (DB) report. The ITUC and its predecessor organizations have been very critical of the labour section of DB since the first edition was published in 2003 because it encouraged countries to deregulate labour markets and reduce workers' and social protection.

In response to pressures from the ITUC, ILO and a some governments, the Bank has removed the DB labour indicator, known as the "Employing Workers Indicator" (EWI), from the overall "Ease of Doing Business Index" and country rankings, pending the ongoing work of a consultative group on the EWI

Read more

IMF approves changes to governance

IMF's executive board approved the shift in voting power towards fast-growing emerging market countries that was agreed between G20 finance ministers who met in Korea two weeks ago. China will overtake several European countries and obtain the third largest number of votes in the Fund's governing structures, after the US and Japan.

Read more

Plans for increased World Bank climate finance role criticised

A much awaited November report from the UN high level advisory group on climate change finance (AGF) drew criticism for recommending an increasing role for multilateral development banks (MDBs). The noise generated by the report also highlights concerns about the development of a new fund hoped to be decided in Cancun, additional trust funds announced at the Bank and the continued roll-out of the Bank-housed climate investment funds (CIFs).

Read more

IMF paper on inequality as a cause of economic crisis

The IMF has released a working paper that presents stylised facts on the US economy and a theoretical framework to explain how increased income inequality leads to increased financialization of the economy, which in turn increases vulnerability to economic crisis.

Read more

Global calls to action

Christmas actions for the Miami Five

To mark the United Nations International Day on Human Rights, from Friday 10 December CSC is asking all supporters of the Miami Five to CALL, FAX and EMAIL the US Government to demand that President Obama free these five Cuban men unjustly imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism.

Please take the Christmas actions for the Five here

Write to the Five this Christmas. Full addresses here

ACT NOW: protest at the shooting of Guatemalan health trade unionist Mateo López

The TUC has joined with Amnesty International in protesting about the shooting of Guatemalan trade unionist Mateo Lopez. General Secretary Brendan Barber has written to the Guatemalan Ambassador in the UK demanding an enquiry and protection for Mateo.

Please take action now and call for an end to Sweatshop conditions here in the UK and overseas

Channel 4 recently aired a documentary exposing the appalling conditions faced by workers in sweatshops in Leicester.

Workers in the UK, making clothes for New Look, Bhs (Arcadia Group), Peacocks, C&A and Jane Norman, were found working for only half the legal minimum wage in 'dangerous, pressurised sweatshop conditions'. They were being made to work in cramped, over-heated conditions with unsanitary toilets and at least one blocked fire exit. The factories exposed were also found not to have checked the identities or legality of their workers.

These factories are exploiting their workers, endangering people's lives, their health and their livelihoods. Take action now!

Colombia: Free jailed trade unionist Rosalba Gaviria Toro

On 9th March 2009 Rosalba Gaviria Toro, a member of FENSUAGRO, the Colombian Agricultural Workers' Trade Union was detained and accused of 'rebellion'. She has been imprisoned since then in Villa Cristina jail in the city of Armenia, without being convicted of any crime. Rosalba has been an active trade unionist and human rights activist for many years, however, the Colombian authorities have described her as a 'terrorist' - jeopardizing her right to a fair judicial process. There is no legitimate evidence against Rosalba and it would seem that, like so many other political prisoners in Colombia, she has been jailed to silence her and prevent her from carrying out her legitimate work in defense of trade union and human rights. Take action here

India: Nokia supplier companies refusing to recognize unions

3,500 workers working 12 hour days and earning at best US$121 a month at Nokia supplier company BYD Electronics in Chennai held a three-day sit-in strike and yet the company stillrefuse to recognize the workers' union and negotiate improved conditions.

Meanwhile, at Foxconn India in a neighbouring Nokia special economic zone, hundreds of workers continue to face criminal charges for striking and the company still refuses to recognize the union.

The LabourStart campaign launched on October 15 calling for the release of the hundreds of jailed Foxconn workers generated almost 5,000 messages of protest and the workers were released.

Keep up the pressure and send another message

Vietnam: Labour rights advocates face prison

Three Vietnamese labour rights advocates face 5-15 years imprisonment for helping organise a strike by 10,000 workers at the My Phong shoe factory in January 2010. Doan Huy Chuong, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, and Do Thi Minh Hanh, all in their 20's, have been detained virtually incommunicado since their arrests in February. Take action here


Migrant workers have the right to workers' compensation. Read more and take action here


ACT NOW to Support Forestry Workers! On Strike for 35 Days.

Focus on Trade Unionists

Radio Labour interview with Esther Ogunfowora, Coordinator of the Building Trade Union Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria Project

Esther is the Co-ordinator of the NLC-TUC HIV-AIDS Building Trade Union Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS in Nigeria Workplace project. The initiative is a joint project of the NLC and the Trades Union Congress. Nigeria, a country of 150 million, has about 4.6 per cent of its population suffering with HIV and AIDS. Radio Labour asked Esther how HIV/AIDS is affecting the country. Read the full interview

United Nations Climate Change Conference - trade union delegates interviews

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held in Cancun Mexico, November 29th to December 10. And many trade unionists will be attending.

This week's Radio Labour Solidarity Report has a special report on trade unions and climate change. The report features interviews with: Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah the General Secretary of the Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana; Max Conteh the Director of Education for the Sierra Leone Labour Congress; Read other interviews within the segment entitled: 'Climate Change and Trade Unions in Africa'.

ITUC Spotlight interview with Priscilla González (DWU - USA)

As of 29 November this year, domestic workers in New York State finally have a number of rights recognised, following the enactment of a new Bill of Rights specifically protecting them. This victory, a first on United States territory, is the result of a long struggle led by Domestic Workers United (DWU), an organization grouping over 4,000 domestic workers. Priscilla González, director of DWU, tells the ITUC about the progress made.

ITUC Spotlight interview with Solange Nzigire (UNTC - DR Congo)

"It is my own experience that drove me to fight for women in the informal economy, who are highly exposed to sexual violence". Read the full interview here

Spotlight interview with Paul Loulou Chery (CTH-Haiti)

"We have reached rock bottom. The word solidity must be put into practice" Read the full interview here

Augusto Sandino's grandson to speak at Latin America 2010

Augusto Sandino is one of Latin America's leading historical icons, an inspiration in struggles over liberation and self-determination for the region.
This December will see an opportunity to find out more about him as his grandson and biographer Walter Castillo Sandino will be a keynote speaker at the Latin America conference 2010 in London.
Before the event a member of the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign spoke to Walter and his wife Marbely Cerna Castillo. Read the interview here


NUJ Student Journalists Conference

Saturday 20th November
The School of Pharmacy,
29-39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX.
Registration and coffee from 10.15am - and the conference will end at 3.30pm. A sandwich lunch will be provided.

Foster Dongozi, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) General Secretary and President of the Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA) and ZUJ executive member Jennifer Dube will be visiting the UK to take part in an NUJ speaker tour starting this weekend, more details on the NUJ website

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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