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International Matters E-Bulletin
International Development Matters
Issue number 181 March/April 2019
IDM - Monthly newsletter reporting international development matters and issues affecting trade unionists around the world. Including solidarity statements, reports, interviews and events.















TUC and affiliates join global stand against racism on 16 March

The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady spoke at the Stand Up to Racism march and rally in London on Saturday 16 March 2019. The UK marches are part of an unprecedented partnering of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigners for demonstrations in at last 22 countries and 60 cities around the world under the banner #WorldAgainstRacism.

Read more here

Solidarity with Indian Trade Unionists

The TUC took part in an ITUC global call to action in solidarity with our trade union colleagues in India supporting the #ModiMustGo campaign. TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady wrote to the Indian High Commission in London to raise our concerns shared with our Indian trade union colleagues about developments in India’s labour market and labour laws by the government of India.

Read more about the  #ModiMustGo campaign here


ITUC: International Women’s Day, let’s call time on gender-based violence

Ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day held on 8 March. The ITUC released this video highlighting gender-based violence, which blights the lives of millions of women. It excludes women from the world of work and often stigmatises them within their communities.

Read more here

Ethiopia: workers strike for a union in Hawassa industrial park

With no commitment towards addressing their grievances, thousands of textile and garment workers at Ethiopia’s biggest industrial park, Hawassa, went on strike 13-15 March demanding that the employers act on sexual harassment, improve health and safety and increase wages.

Read more here

New Istanbul airport: Turkey’s refusal to respect labour standards is costing lives

A new ITUC report has revealed wide-scale abuse of labour standards in the construction of the Istanbul New Airport, resulting in the death of at least 52 people. The government has ignored multiple warning signs, allowing the lead consortium in the construction project to systematically undermine labour standards.

Read more here

Zambian union on organising blitz for contract mineworkers

Mining companies in Zambia are increasingly employing workers through contractors instead of offering direct employment. Unions are recruiting and organising to fight back this promotion of precarious work.

Read more here


World Bank under fire over poverty-targeted schemes after global review of the evidence

The Interim President of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, has been challenged by the BBC over the institution’s support for poverty-targeted social protection. BBC HARDtalk raised the issue of schemes that set out to reduce poverty but fail to reach many of those that they identify as in poverty and eligible for support. They also highlighted that the International Trade Union Confederation and Oxfam have criticised the Bank’s support for targeting despite the fact this is not adequately tackling poverty.

Read more here

Ghana: Teacher Unions Against Privatisation of Public Education

Unions in pre-tertiary education have expressed disaffection with the privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of public education in Ghana. They called on the Government to abolish the Ghana Partnership Schools Project, which empowers the private operator to decide to or not to work with the Ghana Education Service (GES) staff.

Read more here

Amid rising protests, Moreno government lays off thousands in Ecuador

The government of President Lenin Moreno, besieged by corruption charges, has embarked on an IMF-dictated austerity program entailing mass layoffs that is bringing it into increasingly open confrontation with Ecuadorian working people, including trade unionists from unions such as the National Union of Public Health Ministry Workers (Osumtramsa).

Read more here


ACT NOW! Thailand: Union leaders sacked, fined for demanding rail safety

The International Transport Workers’ Federation has launched a campaign calling on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Royal Government of Thailand and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to drop any and all claims against SRUT leaders. Immediately cease all deduction of pensions and salaries and return all benefits and backpay due to the seven SRUT leaders, following their unfair dismissal.

Read more and take action here to add your message of support for the SRUT leaders from Thailand.

ACT NOW! China: Freedom of association is a right, not a crime

The government of China continues its relentless repression of workers seeking to exercise their right to freedom of association. Over 40 workers and labour rights supporters are currently in criminal detention following efforts by workers to form a trade union at Jasic Technology in Shenzen last summer. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) has launched an online campaign with labourstart to pressure the government to release the detained workers and their supporters

CLICK HERE to support the campaign!

ACT NOW! Philippines: Teacher unionists under threat

Education International has launched an urgent action appeal encouraging the global community of educators and activists to express outrage at the death threats received by the General Secretary of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Raymond Basilio, and at the unlawful profiling of ACT members by the authorities.

Click here to take action

ACT NOW! Guatemala: Union leaders imprisoned for having negotiated a collective agreement

Guatemala has been going through an institutional crisis in recent months that has now become more acute. The Jimmy Morales government has systematically increased the persecution of community leaders, activists, journalists and trade unionists. Most recently, Luis Alpirez Guzmán, General Secretary of the National Union of Health Workers of Guatemala (SNTSG), and Dora Regina Ruano, from the same union, were detained for nearly ten days for negotiating and signing a collective agreement between the union and the Ministry of Health authorities back in 2013. 
Please support the campaign by clicking here.



RadioLabour's World Report for the week March 11-15, 2019 includes:

* Filipina domestic workers fight for decent work

* Hundreds of union women attend UN conference

* The LabourStart Report about union events

* And singing: "We Do The Work"

The World Report is available at:

RadioLabour's World Report for the week March 4-8, 2019 includes:

* The need for an international ILO law to end violence against women

* A global campaign to win equal pay for work of equal value by 2030

* The LabourStart campaign about union events around the world

* And singing: “A Woman’s Place is in Her Union”

The World Report is available at:


No Stone Unturned' Screening and Q&A

College Building City, University of London St John Street, London EC1V 4PB

Tuesday 2nd April, 18:00 Admission Price: Free to attend, but places must be booked in advance

The Police raids following the release of the documentary ‘No Stone Unturned’ have become an urgent press freedom cause celebre. The controversial film will be shown at City, University of London followed by a Q&A session with the two journalists, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey accompanied by the investigative journalist Ian Cobain.

Full details here

What's going on in Nicaragua? An afternoon with Jose Antonio & the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign

Friday 12 April - 13:45 to 16:00

TUC Northern Office, Unite the Union Building, John Dobson Street, NE1 8TW Newcastle Upon Tyne

Admission Price: Free  

What's going on in Nicaragua? What impact is it having on education? How can peace and reconciliation be achieved? How can the UK trade union movement show solidarity and support Nicaraguan trade unionists? To help find the answers to these questions the Northern TUC International Forum are hosting an afternoon with Jose Antonio & the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign.

Event details here

  The person responsible for the e-bulletin is:
Tanya Warlock
Tel 0207 467 1357

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