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Global Solidarity Update bulletin reporting the latest international solidarity news and issues affecting trade unionists around the world, including reports, statements, blogs, interviews and events

Welcome to the first edition of the TUC’s Global Solidarity Update bulletin. It is a brand refresh of the long established pre-existing International Development Matters newsletter. Our goal remains to continue reporting the latest international solidarity news and issues affecting trade unionists around the world, including reports, statements, blogs, interviews and events from a wide range of reputable sources. 

We hope you enjoy this bumper edition and we thank you for your continual support in reading and sharing this bulletin.  

In this issue: 



TUC Congress 2019

The TUC held its annual conference in September to debate the biggest issues facing the country nationally and internationally and to set out our key priorities for the year. We had a total of 18 international guests from the ITUC and various sister trade unions, from countries including Cuba, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. Congress motions were passed on Colombia, Cuba, Palestine, and reforms to the ILO to determination in respect of employers, not just governments.

TUC international colleagues and union affiliates at Congress spoke at fringe meetings arranged by Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Justice for Colombia, Freedom for Ocalan and Palestine Solidarity Campaign.  Delegates also welcomed the solidarity message received from Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, who spoke about the importance of tackling far-right organising online and in society, as well as sharing her own personal history with the TUC.

TUC stands in Solidarity with Iranian Trade Unionists

The TUC sent a message of solidarity to Iranian workers and called for Iranian authorities to release all imprisoned trade unionists. Including the 28 workers detained in a brutal attack on demonstrators at the HEPCO Industrial Complex in Arak in September.

TUC supports global #ClimateStrike action

In September the TUC and UK trade unions supported the global #ClimateStrike action and called on business leaders and politicians to back a national commission for a just transition to a net zero economy.

Read more here


TUC demands charges dropped against ZCTU leadership

The TUC co-ordinated solidarity action with our affiliates, including UNISON and GMB in August. Calling for the government of Zimbabwe to drop the trumped-up charges of treason against the leadership of the ZCTU, who were put on trial on 20 August for organising a stayaway earlier in the year, to call for an end to the economic crisis and escalating cost of living in Zimbabwe. The August trial was postponed for 2 October and we took further action to support our ZCTU colleagues and will continue to monitor the situation closely alongside the ITUC.

Solidarity with HKCTU protesters

In solidarity with the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and as part of a co-ordinated ITUC global solidarity action the TUC sent a delegation in September to the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in London, to hand in a letter from Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, demanding that the harassment and violence from police and others against the #HongKongProtesters is stopped immediately!

Read the letter here



IndustriALL rejects violence and repression against the people of Chile

IndustriALL Global Union has condemned the violence and repression in Chile that have led to the deaths of at least 18 people, and called on the Chilean government to respect the rights of all people to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration.

Read more here

ITUC sends solidarity message to KESK colleagues

During the recent ITUC General Council trade unionists from around the world including the TUC showed solidarity with the Kurdish people and called for the killings to stop. The TUC also took part in a solidarity rally outside the UK Turkish embassy.  

Qatar dismantles kafala system of modern slavery

Trade unions, human rights groups, and recently the United Nations' International Labour Organization (ILO) joined forces to challenge Qatar over its derided "Kafala", or sponsorship, system. The dismantlement of the system has established a new evidence-based minimum wage law that applies to all nationalities. These workers have the same rights as all workers in Qatar. The same non-discriminatory law will apply for all workers including domestic workers.

Read more here


ITUC calls on Iraqi government to immediately stop crackdown on protests

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has demanded that the government of Iraq end its brutal repression of demonstrators who have been calling for jobs, improved social services and an end to widespread state corruption. Over 100 people have been killed in recent days as government security forces have attacked demonstrators using live ammunition, explosives and stun grenades.

Read more here


Campaign to stop gender-based violence kicks off at South African factory

Dozens of workers, community members, non-governmental organizations, police and other government departments, gathered at chemical manufacturer Johnson Matthey's (JM) factory in Germiston, Johannesburg, on 19 October, to campaign against gender-based violence and femicide, which has reached alarming levels in South Africa.

Read more here


Eswatini ITUC reacts to brutal repression of trade union demonstration

The international trade union confederation (ITUC) has condemned the Eswatini government’s brutality against peaceful demonstrators during a public sector strike action as 30 were injured as police opened fire on demonstrators in Eswatini.

Read more here


Colombia: threats against teachers

The ITUC expressed grave concern over the deteriorating situation in Colombia, with the emergence of new threats against the lives of teachers and their representatives from trade union FECODE. The paramilitary group “Black Eagles” issued death threats against several leaders of the union on 3 September. Global Union Federation Education International issued an alert about the threats, calling on Colombian President Ivan Duque to ensure that those threatened are fully protected, and that the government should fulfil the commitments made under the 2016 peace plan.


Violent repression in Ecuador as workers resist IMF package

Disastrous IMF policies are wreaking havoc on the country’s economy by eliminating social and labour rights. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) demands an end to the state-led political violence and also demands the release of protesters.

Read more here


What does “protecting all” really mean for the World Bank?

The World Bank’s recent White Paper “Protecting All – Risk Sharing for a Diverse and Diversifying World of Work” falls short on its objective of “protecting all”. Instead it calls for a rollback of existing rights and protections for workers that would lead to more inequality and poverty. Read an in-depth analysis by ITUC’s Evelyn Astor and Leo Baunauch, along with Development Pathways’ Stephen Kidd here

IMF accused of 'reckless lending' to debt-troubled states

Debt campaigners have accused the International Monetary Fund of encouraging reckless lending by extending $93bn (£75bn) of loans to 18 financially troubled countries without a debt restructuring programme first. This will no doubt have a massive impact on the lives of those in the wider communities within those countries, including working people.

Public private partnerships and universal health care in Latin America - at what cost?

This briefing ‘Public Private Partnerships and universal health care in Latin America – at what cost?’ takes a critical look at the rise of PPPs in the health sector in Latin America as a tool to achieve UHC, by drawing on the global evidence on PPPs in the health sector.
Read this useful article about the impact of Public Private Partnerships on civil society across Africa.


2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Progress is far too slow on meeting SDG targets according to current UN data. To advance global action, ITUC and the IOE appealed to governments to increase efforts on all SDGs, but also in particular on SDG 8. SDG 8 promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Read more about how workers are demanding a New Social Contract to put the world back on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.



ACT NOW! Turkey: Reinstate municipal workers in Aliağa

The Aliağa Municipality of Izmir, Turkey, is dismissing trade union members without any legal basis. In addition to dismissals, the newly elected mayor is also forcing workers to resign from their union and to join another one. Workers have been affiliated to DISK/Genel-İş Union since 1998. The number of dismissals reached 187 on July 24.  The workers have been picketing since the 20th of May. They demand reinstatement and respect for trade union rights and freedoms.

Support these workers here


ACT NOW! Anti-union harassment and victimization escalate at AB InBev Sonepat India

Management at global brewer AB InBev's plant in Sonepat, India is escalating its attacks on trade union rights. For the past three years local managers have refused to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the Haryana Breweries Limited Mazdoor Union (HBLMU) and opted for repression, suspending active union members and dismissing four elected union leaders including the president and the general secretary.

Take action here


ACT NOW! Western Sahara and UN Security Council

After nearly 30 years of the UN Security Council stalling with regard to the referendum promised to the Saharawi people, it is long past due to reevaluate MINURSO. The failure of the UN to move forward with the process has served to encourage Morocco to ramp up its abuses and violations throughout occupied Western Sahara. The situation is growing increasingly tense. To avoid renewed conflict, the UN must take action to assure the Saharawi people that law and human rights will be respected and upheld in the region by the international community.

Read more and support the Western Sahara Action Forum campaign here



Film: Disparity

On 17 October people around the world were invited to watch, screen and share a new documentary to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Disparity not only highlights failings in the foreign aid industry, but it also hopes to provide new solutions to tackle the ever-growing gulf between the rich and the poor.
Read more here


RadioLabour's World Report – 14-18 October 2019 includes:

* A RadioLabour Special Report
* National debts at dangerous levels
* 47% of lower-income countries in jeopardy
* Workers and their unions will be victimized
The World Report is available here 



Unions for Cuba conference

Saturday 2 November 2019
NEU Hamilton House, London, WC1H 9BB

Join Cuba Solidarity Campaign at their Unions for Cuba Conference, which is the final and biggest event in their year-long celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the 80th anniversary of Cuba’s trade union federation, the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC).

For more information including speakers and to register click here  


Global Labour Union: Online Academy massive open online course

Starts 14 November 2019
Introducing GLU’s new exclusive and compressed online course. This course aims at providing unionists, scholars, and practitioners from around the world with concise, updated and relevant knowledge regarding the labour issues in global supply chains, policies and strategies to address them.
You can study at your own pace- any time you want. The estimated workload is 3-4 hours per week.

Click here for course structure and more details.


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