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This edition contains the latest international solidarity news and issues affecting trade unionists around the world.

From the TUC 

Belgium: The TUC condemns the persecution of Belgium trade union leaders from the FGTB. 

Brazil: Following a successful launch event, the TUC has released a new long format report: The Challenge to Democracy in Brazil, with TUC calls not to ‘lend legitimacy’ to the Bolsonaro government echoed by the Independent newspaper. 

TUC blog: Bolsonaro is waging war on labour rights in Brazil

Chile: The TUC made a statement on the December election in Chile, expressing solidarity with our trade union sisters and brothers and all those defending democracy and social justice in the face of the far right threat. 

Colombia: “Why the Colombian peace deal hangs in the balance.” The TUC for Tribune Magazine.
The TUC wrote to the Colombian Ambassador in December to express urgent concerns about death threats against leading union and human rights leaders. 

Cuba: The TUC has reaffirmed our historic ties of friendship with the workers’ movement in Cuba and our sister centre, the CTC. 

Eswatini/Swaziland: New TUC blog on The Freedom Struggle in Eswatini 

Latin America Conference 2021: The TUC had a strong participation in this year's union sponsored solidarity conference, taking part in plenary sessions as well as panels on Colombia and Brazil. 

Far Right: The TUC has welcomed the adoption by the ETUC of a roadmap for action against the far right and continues to support the work of anti-far right organising and trade union education. The TUC took part in a panel at the ITUC Women’s Conference alongside several international speakers to highlight our work to combat the far right. 

Global Health:  The TUC sent a letter to the international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan in November calling for the government to support the waiver to the WTO TRIPs intellectual property rules to enable Global South countries to produce affordable versions of the Covid vaccine.  

International Development: The TUC has released a detailed new briefing on the role of trade unions in International Development, accompanied by a blog on how this supports the UN 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Refugee Rights: "No wall, no law, nor any institution will prevent women and men from fleeing war, terror, climate change, and hunger." Joint TUC/CGT statement in response to Channel crossing deaths

Sudan: The TUC has welcomed the first steps towards civilian rule in the Sudan but calls for increased vigilance from the international community to ensure a successful democratic transition. 

Global Union Campaigns 

Algeria – Release Ramzi Dardar: Trade union campaign for the release of wrongly imprisoned Algerian trade unionist, Ramzi Dardar

Bangladesh - A Better Bangladesh: The ITUC is supporting a campaign to hold Bangladesh accountable at the ILO for its appalling labour standards. 

TRIPs Waiver: The Council of Global Unions is also supporting a major campaign for TRIPs waivers for vaccines

Domestic Workers: ITUC campaign for Commonwealth countries, including the UK, to ratify ILO Convention 189 to ensure domestic workers have the same rights as other workers. 

Fast Food Workers: One 2 December 2021 the IUF held a global day of action in support of the rights of fast food workers

Make Amazon Pay: Trade unions around the world have united to support the Make Amazon Pay campaign. The campaign was given a boost as a US labour court has ruled that Amazon’s union busting during the high-profile Bessemer unionisation drive was illegal, and the ballot must be re-run. 

Myanmar – UN Must Reject Military Dictatorship: The global union campaign against the illegitimate military junta in Myanmar continues. 

Palestine - Day of Solidarity with Palestine: On 29 November 2021 unions around the world joined together to support the United Nations Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine

Philippines - Stand for Filipino workers’ rights: ITUC campaign and day of action on 10 Dec 2021

Violence Against Service Staff: UNI Global Union, the federation for service workers, has been campaigning to end violence against customer service staff in stores

Labour struggles around the world 

Argentina: The ITF has condemned the attempted murder of a dockers’ union leader, Roberto Coria. 

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Strike action has been averted at a major AcelorMittal steelworks after a last minute deal with unions.  

Brazil: Pressure mounts on the Bolsonaro government, as multinational companies are linked to extensive deforestation in the Amazon and violence against indigenous communities. Brazilian unions have denounced Bolsonaro’s attacks on health and safety standards at work. 

Cambodia: Imprisoned union leader Rong Chhun has been released, following an international union campaign.  

Canada: A hundred workers are fighting to regain their jobs after being locked out by construction material multinational Cimenterie Ash Grove in May. 

Chile: Progressive candidate Gabriel Boric has decisively won the presidential elections during the second round. Boric’s victory follows the previous president’s exposure in the Panama Papers leak and subsequent collapse of the centre-right vote, and defeats an insurgent challenge from the far-right candidate Jose Antonio Katz.  

Colombia: The United States has removed the FARC from its terror list, five years after the signing of a historic peace deal between the FARC and the Colombian state. 

Germany: The German construction industry has achieved a historic sectoral collective bargaining agreement which lifts wages for hundreds of thousands of workers, as well as mitigating inequality between the West and East of the country. 

Honduras: Progressive candidate Xiomara Castro has been elected to the presidency of Honduras, ending 12 years of right-wing rule which has followed a 2009 coup. 

Hong Kong: An activist leader has been given a prison sentence for candlelight vigil.

Hungary: Hungarian teaching unions have united to oppose government inaction on Covid-19 health and safety measures in schools. 

India: After a year of struggle between the far-right Modi government and an alliance of farmers and workers, involving millions of people in mass demonstrations and strike actions, the farmers have won their demands. The three laws proposed by the government to privatise and liberalise the state involvement in agriculture – part of rural India’s basic social safety net – have been withdrawn. Indian trade unions continue their struggle to block the ‘national monetisation pipeline’ that would see huge swathes of basic national infrastructure privatised away. 

Indonesia: Indonesian unions have celebrated the defeat of a set of laws attacking workers’ rights and clearly the way for privatisation in the electricity industry. 

Myanmar: The struggle between labour movements and the illegitimate military junta continues, with garment factories on the front line of the junta’s crackdown on labour and civil rights

Spain: A historic sectoral collective bargaining framework has been negotiated between the Spanish government, trade unions and employers, marking the country’s first progressive labour reform since the return to democracy. 

South Korea: Road haulage unions have undertaken strike action to achieve a framework agreement on minimum standards of pay and safety in the industry.

Imprisoned union leader Han Sang-Gyun has been released following an international trade union campaign. 

Turkey:  There has been significant progress for unions in the agribusiness sector. 

United Arab Emirates: The ITUC has criticised inadequate labour law reforms in the UAE. 

Ukraine: Open Democracy has revealed the shocking extent of UK government interference in Ukrainian government attempts to impose crash labour market liberalisations. The liberalisation package was apparently withdrawn in September 2020 after powerful trade union and civil society opposition, however Ukrainian unions have raised serious concerns at ongoing attempts to impose the laws. 

United States of America: The wave of industrial action which has swept the USA in recent months continues. In highly significant news, labour courts have ordered the high-profile unionisation drive at Amazon, Bessemer, to be re-run due to illegal union busting activity from Amazon. 

The state department has announced a new ‘M-Power’ initiative, with the official purpose of supporting global labour movements engaged in struggles for trade union and democratic rights. 

Strike action at Kellogg’s’ 4 four US plants has ended after 3 months following the successful conclusion of a deal between workers and management. The deal follows a failed attempt by Kellogg’s to break the strike through a recruitment drive and an intervention from the President Joe Biden himself condemning the practice of union busting and promising to ‘aggressively defend’ unions and collective bargaining.  

Workers at a New York Starbucks outlet have formed the first union in the company since the 1980s, with speculation that it might start a chain reaction of unionisation throughout the corporation. 

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