This edition of the TUC’s Global Solidarity Update bulletin contains the latest international solidarity news and issues affecting trade unionists around the world.In this issue: Upcoming Events Calls to Action! TUC News Priority Country Update International Financial Institutions G20 Statement on Jobs Around the World
Tuesday 9 November 2021
Remembering the Names of Murdered Social Activists in Colombia
Organised by Unison and Justice for Colombia
Join us for the release of JFC and UNISON's new update on the violence in Colombia, where 962 community activists were killed between 2016 and 2020. Register for the event The Challenge to Democracy in Brazil Tuesday 16 November 2021
Organised by the Trades Union Congress
An expert panel discuss the impact of Bolsonarismo
on Brazilian society, in support of the launch of a new TUC report. Register for the event Afghanistan: What does the Future Hold for Women, Girls and the Right to Education?
Wednesday 17 November 2021
Organised by NEU and Save the Children
The NEU is partnering with Save the Children to support Save the Children’s lifesaving humanitarian work in Afghanistan, with a particular focus on the rights of women and girls and access to education for all children and young people. Register for the event
: Education International is supporting a campaign
against the dissolution of the Jordanian teachers’ union. . Myanmar
: Trade unions are raising money for a Myanmar strike fund
, to support the trade union resistance against the military coup. Education
: Sign the Education International Manifesto
on Quality Climate Change Education for All.
- This September the TUC successfully concluded its 2021 annual Congress. The Congress heard speakers, passed motions, and hosted fringe events relating to many important international issues.
- Trade: The UK Government has u-turned on plans to exclude trade unions from trade deal discussions, after persistent campaigning work from the TUC.
- Migration: British trade unions have raised serious concerns about the forthcoming Nationality and Borders Bill, which they believe will further the criminalisation of refugees and deepen the vulnerability of the most vulnerable workers, facilitating even greater levels of exploitation of migrant workers.
- Palestine: In response to the Israeli government labelling six Palestinian human rights organisations, many of which work closely with British trade unions, as terrorist organisations, the TUC has released a joint statement alongside several affiliates condemning the move.
- Colombia: The TUC has signed a joint statement with Colombian unions calling for suspension of the UK-Andean trade agreement, on the grounds that key clauses on freedom of association, labour and trade union rights, and human rights are not respected by the Colombian government. The TUC statement was referenced in the House of Commons during a debate on trade. The TUC has also released a briefing on the UK-Andean Trade Agreement, highlighting Colombian breaches of labour and human rights.
- Italy: TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady recently expressed solidarity on behalf of UK Unions with the Italian workers organised in the CGIL, whose headquarters were attacked by a fascist demonstration on Oct 9 2021. The TUC is currently working with the CGIL and Italian workers in the UK on the launch of the Italian language version of our Employment Rights Guide. The TUC is also developing trade union education materials on understanding and combatting the new Global Far-Right.
- Myanmar: In September the TUC wrote to the FCDO urging recognition of Myanmar’s Government of National Unity, which has been formed in opposition to the Military Junta that took control of the country in a coup last year.
- Chile: TUC Senior International Officer Mariela Kohon recently attended a vigil outside the Chilean embassy in memory of disappeared political prisoners. The vigil coincided with a visit of Chilean President Sebastian Piñar. Read the TUC’s statement on the visit.
TUC Global has recently launched new online resources providing information on our current global solidarity campaigning priorities. View the new web pages below:
TUC Global also has dedicated pages for:
The World Bank has discontinued its infamous ‘Doing Business Report’, which ranked countries on the favourability of the business environment they offered to foreign investors. The report was a key lever for the enforcement of the global neoliberal consensus, rewarding countries for poor worker protections and inadequate regulatory regimes. Read the World Bank statement,
analysis from Bloomberg,
and press release
from the ITUC.
The ITUC reports
on the high-level consensus from G20 leaders urgently requiring national action plans to create jobs within the framework of a Just Transition.
A striking worker at Kellogg’s, USA. Photo via twitter.
- Colombia: It has been revealed that UK police forces have been involved in security cooperation with the Colombian forces. Colombian police are reportedly responsible for the murder of an estimated 44 protesters at demonstrations earlier this year.
- Brazil: Brazil has been rocked by large demonstrations mobilised to support and oppose the regime of Jair Bolsonaro, leading some to fear that Bolsonaro may attempt to block a peaceful transfer of power should he lose next year’s elections.
- Japan: Yoshino Tomoko has been elected president to JTUC-RENGO, making her Japan’s first female trade union leader.
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s third largest trade union centre, the ITUC affiliated HKCTU, has dissolved itself, citing state intimidation and fears for the personal safety of its leadership. HKCTU’s affiliate trade unions are continuing their activities.
- India: The massive confrontation between the Indian government and farmers’ organisations has continued, with trade unions mobilised in support of the farmers in a mass demonstration on September 27th. Trade unions in India are also mounting resistance to the Modi government’s planned ‘National Monetisation Pipeline’, a programme of mass privatisation of key state-owned infrastructure, as well as advocating improved welfare and labour protections.
- Italy: The Italian CGIL has secured a historic recognition agreement and bargaining framework with delivery drivers and warehouse workers at Amazon. Read more.
- Nicaragua: Nicaragua goes to the polls this week in important national elections.
- Peru: Peruvian agricultural unions have signed a historic collective bargaining agreement following over 30 days of strike action.
- Sudan: Unions around the world have joined Sudanese unions in condemning attempts by the military junta to retain power at the expense of civilian rule.
- South Korea: The South Korean government has arrested Yang Kyeung-soo, the president of the KCTU, on charges related to the COVID-19 lockdown rules. Global union federations claim this arrest is politically motivated and are campaigning for his immediate release. On Oct 20 2021 Korean unions launched a general strike action in protest the repression of union activists.
- South Africa: South Africa’s engineering sector has been the site of massive industrial action, after the metal workers’ union NUMSA declared an indefinite national strike against below inflation pay rises that it deems an inadequate response to the sacrifices made by workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The dispute ended with a successful three year pay deal.
- Swaziland/Eswatini: Global trade unions have condemned the state crackdown on trade unions in Eswatini.
- Turkey: Political trials of senior opposition figures and trade union leaders continue. However, a recent trial of the entire executive of public sector trade union KESK acquitted the union leaders, and the mass trial of opposition HDP politicians descended into farse after the judge failed to show up.
- Ukraine: The government of Ukraine has begun the process of drawing up harsh new anti-trade union laws as part of its push to liberalise the labour market even further.
- USA: The United States is experiencing a sharp uplift in industrial action, with the implicit encouragement from President Joe Biden, who is perusing pro-union legislation in the form of the Protect the Right to Organise (PRO) Act. Although efforts to unionise at Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama were defeated earlier this year, following a massive anti-union campaign by Amazon, large scale disputes have opened at Kellogg’s, Warrior Met Coal and Heaven Hill Distillery. There has also been increased union militancy in the film and television industry, with important new deals achieved in recent weeks. The issue has been highlighted by the revelation that a decent film set death took place after the local union branch had threatened strike action over poor working conditions.
- Western Saraha: The European Court of Justice has annulled the EU-Morocco trade and fisheries agreement. The ECJ has ruled that EU states can no longer profit from Morocco’s plunder of Western Sahara’s natural resources, against the will of the Sahrawi people. The decision has led to a legal challenge of an identically worded UK-Moroccan trade agreement. The Sahrawi armed struggle against Moroccan settlement and colonisation, formally ended in 1991, resumed in November 2020.
- Zimbabwe: In a meeting convened by the ITUC-Africa, the ZCTU has reported that the worsening economic crisis alongside and deteriorating relations with the increasingly militarised ruling ZANU-PF government has resulted in a severe crisis for their organisation, damaging their financial resources, and further endangering the safety of their leadership.