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Unionists of the world ride for workers’ rights

13 June, 2013On Wednesday 12 June trade union leaders and activists from around the world joined together to participate in a bicycle ride called ‘Route of Shame’ to visit missions and embassies in Geneva, Switzerland and draw attention to countries consistently violating workers’ rights.

The event has been organized and led by members of the global union federation Public Services International (PSI), representatives of IndustriALL also joined the ride.

The ‘Route of Shame’ was planned in conjunction with the 102nd International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva. A major focus of the annual ILC is to determine whether countries are upholding their obligations to respect the rights of workers and their trade unions under International Labour Organization conventions. Numerous delegates participating in the ILC sessions were also invited to join the tour, in fact the organizers provided bicycles for those who did not have them.

The ride highlighted violations in Belarus, Russia, Turkey, Greece, Canada, Nigeria, Iran, Paraguay, Tunisia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Cameroon, Honduras, Dominican Republic and South Korea.

The ‘Route of Shame’ speakers spoke among others countries about Egypt where independent unions are being denied the right to strike or protest to silence their demands for a just society, abouton-going gross human rights violations in Turkey; about South Korea, where democratic unions are constantly denied recognition and workers are pushed into precarious employment; about Belarus, where consistent violation of freedom of association and collective bargaining still goes on, the case is being considered by ILC since 2000 and the Government fails to apply numerous ILO recommendations.

As part of the ‘Route of Shame’ action the participants of the rally delivered letters to the missions and embassies of the above mentioned countries denouncing on-going violations.