107th Session of the International Labour Conference, 28 May-8 June 2018 (photo credit: ILO)

107th Session of the International Labour Conference, 28 May-8 June 2018 (photo credit: ILO)

Standing up for workers’ rights at ILC 2018

14.06.2018

During the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference, held in Geneva on 28 May to 8 June, issues important for the labour movement, like a convention for gender based violence in the world of work and violations of ILO conventions, were discussed. 

The ILC conducted a general discussion on “Effective ILO development cooperation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals”, providing guidance on the ILO development cooperation strategy beyond 2018, with a view to shaping the ILO’s future vision for development cooperation.

Supporting the seventeen goals, ranging from poverty and hunger, to equality, clean energy, climate action, decent work and economic growth, and peace and justice, IndustriALL Global Union announced:

What is needed, is a plan. The only morally defensible answer is to guarantee a Just Transition to workers. If we want them to support this urgently needed transformation, there must be something in it for them.

A World of Work Summit was held with the participation of governments, social partners and eminent experts to examine issues of paramount importance and address decent work for peace and resilience.

IndustriALL Global Union said:

As manufacturing, energy and mine workers, we already strongly feel the impacts of Digitalization and so-called Industry 4.0, the label for a variety of advanced and disruptive production technologies, in our industries and our employment. As the digitalization of the workplace progresses, several points must be won:

• the right to information and consultation rights by workers’ representatives, at the local, regional, national and international levels;

• the right to education and training;

• the right to defined levels of privacy, at work and at home.

There was an important debate on social dialogue and tripartism, following up the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.

IndustriALL stated that:

social dialogue requires full respect and implementation of fundamental rights at work, however with a great regret and outrage we observe an increasing trend of violation of workers’ rights in every corner of the world.

Delegates from governments, workers and employers came together to negotiate the nature and the scope of a future instrument on violence and harassment in the world of work; the committee supports a convention supplemented by recommendation.

Committee on Application of Standards

The Committee heard about excessively high targets and working hours, underpayment of overtime which is nothing short of wage theft in Haiti; workers killed, threatened, sacked in Mexico for demanding fair union elections; precarious workers employed by Shell in Nigeria forced to sign letters committing to not form unions; criminalization of unions in Belarus when exercising their union rights; massive layoffs in the mining sector in Botswana without negotiations or compensation.

Brazil was brought before CAS on violations of C98, the Right to Bargain Collectively. In a joint voice, all six Brazilian national trade union centres denounced the regressive labour law reform passed by the illegitimate government. IndustriALL, together with global unions PSI, ITF and EI, condemned the impact of the labour reform on 100 million workers. Responding, the Brazilian labour minister managed to unite the plenary against him when discrediting the ILO Committee of Experts, accusing them of putting Brazil “on the dirty short list for political motives”.

In both the cases of Brazil and Mexico, the Workers’ spokesperson demanded a special paragraph and an ILO direct contact mission. The report concluded that both governments will have to report back to the ILO for the Experts meeting in November, which means they will remain on the CAS list for examination in 2019.

Supporting its affiliates, IndustriALL denounced the dismantling of labour inspections in the Ukraine, the restrictions to form functional unions in Myanmar, and the brutal crackdown on the freedom of association and freedom of speech in Algeria, leading to the persecution of IndustriALL affiliate Snategs.

IndustriALL contributed comments to the General Survey on working time in the CAS.

IndustriALL concludes:

Violation of workers’ rights must come to an end; the world cannot continue like this. This is where joint commitments are made to achieve progress and social justice, and these violations of labour and human rights must end immediately.

We need to promote decent work through a coordinated approach, respecting the fundamental principles and rights at work. As the manufacturing, energy and mine workers of the world, we reaffirm our commitment, and expect and demand the same from governments and employers.

The Committee on Application of Standards (CAS) report can be consulted here.