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Raising workers’ voices for change

26 June, 2023This year’s International Labour Conference in Geneva gathered 5,000 delegates representing governments, workers and employers from the ILO’s 187 member states. The ILC passed resolutions on a just transition and labour protection, as well as adopting a new recommendation on quality apprenticeships and a resolution on Belarus.

The ILC adopted conclusions on just transition. Stressing the need to advance a just transition to achieve social justice, some of the most relevant conclusions for IndustriALL affiliates are:

  • Governments, employers and workers must urgently take action based on effective social dialogue while respecting, promoting and realizing freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • The transition must be inclusive to entail a strong gender dimension.
  • Design strategies to facilitate the transition to the formal economy and prevent the informalization of formal economy jobs and promote skills and lifelong learning, including quality apprenticeships.
  • Occupational safety and health measures for all workers impacted by climate-related risks and extreme weather events, addressing the consequences on mental and physical health and promoting safe and healthy working environments, must be urgently implemented.

“The ILO will develop a strategy and action plan on just transition for the Governing Body later this year. These actions will give a needed boost to the work on Just Transition,”

said IndustriALL director for energy and just transition Diana Junquera-Curiel.

Addressing the plenary, IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie welcomed the discussion on just transition. In his speech, Atle Høie also highlighted attacks on worker’s rights, in particular in Myanmar and Belarus where authorities have cracked down on free, democratic and independent unions on a massive scale.

Høie raised concerns over the regression in workers’ and trade union rights in Ukraine. The respect for ILO conventions 87 and 98 must return to Ukraine for there to be a good basis to start rebuilding the country once the war is over.

“IndustriALL calls on the Ukrainian government to withdraw all the draft laws from the agenda of the Parliament and set up a moratorium; repeal all the anti-labour and anti-union laws in force; halt the expropriation of trade union properties and immediately stop intimidation and threats against union leaders.”

IndustriALL made a number of interventions for the Committee of Application of Standards (CAS), a core supervisory body of the ILO’s standards system. Among others, IndustriALL called on the government of Afghanistan to guarantee equality and provide remedies towards the elimination of harassment and violence against women, and an end to discrimination in vocational training, employment, and occupation.

IndustriALL also made interventions on other countries including, Armenia(Convention 122), Cambodia (Convention 105), El Salvador (Convention 144), and the Philippines (Convention 87). 

In the conclusions, the Committee called on the UK government to limit the powers of the Certification Officer to ensure that it cannot interfere with union independence, to e-ballot for strikes and elections, and offered ILO technical expertise in ensuring that UK law is in compliance with our international commitments.

On Indonesia, IndustriALL cited Convention 98 urging the government to revoke the Job Creation Law, which includes provisions that affect working hours, severance pay, contract work, outsourcing, and the ability of unions to organize and strike, deteriorating current working conditions.

IndustriALL called for a judicial review in Madagascar of the sentence and for full reinstatement of Sento Chang. Sento Chang was jailed for carrying out his union responsibilities at the workplace, is protected by international labour standards and the national labour code. 

On Peru, IndustriALL pointed out the abusive use of the employment relationship - particularly outsourcing and temporary contracts - to evade responsibilities towards workers. These violations are evident in the textile and garment sector where IndustriALL affiliate FNTTP operates.

The Conference adopted a resolution on Belarus, under Article 33  of the ILO Constitution, challenging Belarus’ continued disregard for workers’ rights and the arrest of countless trade unionists. This is only the second time in the more than 100-year history of the ILO that ILC delegates have taken such a step.

During the ILC, IndustriALL together with ITUC and BWI met with Myo Min, union minister for the Ministry of Human Rights for the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar and vowed to continue to support the fight for a return of democracy in the country.

Meeting with the labour minister of Pakistan, IndustriALL stressed the need for the country to ratify ILO C176 on health and safety in mines, to change the course of the country’s deadly mines. 

Global unions also met with Brazil's Minister of Labour and Employment Luiz Marinho.