From the foreword:
This Survey again records an extensive list of violations suffered by trade unionists struggling to defend workers’ interests, this year in 140 countries. Other violations remain unreported, as working women and men are deprived of the means to have their voices heard, or fear to speak out due to the consequences to their jobs or even to their physical safety. The Survey provides detailed documentation of harassment, intimidation, persecution and, in the worst cases, murder of trade unionists. Killings of trade unionists actually increased by 30% compared to the previous year.
At least 101 trade unionists and labour activists were murdered in 2009 compared to 76 the previous year: 48 were killed in Colombia, 16 in Guatemala, 12 in Honduras, six in Mexico, six in Bangladesh, four in Brazil, three in the Dominican Republic, three in the Philippines, one in India, one in Iraq and one in Nigeria. Colombia was yet again the deadliest country in the world: 22 of the trade unionists who died were senior trade union leaders and five were women. The rise in violence in Guatemala and Honduras is deeply worrying.
Trade union rights continue to be infringed, in many cases with total impunity, and the repression of trade unionists goes on while governments fail to meet their responsibility to ensure that trade union rights are respected and that the people defending these rights are protected. In a number of countries, governments again showed that they are intent on keeping trade unions under their firm control.
Union busting and pressure continue to be widely used by employers. In several countries, companies threatened workers with closure or transfer of production sites, should they organise or join a trade union. Often employers simply refused to negotiate with legitimate workers’ representatives while the authorities did nothing. Some labour codes were amended to permit more “flexibility” and to unravel social welfare systems which often impacted the existing industrial relations systems and thus curtailed trade union rights.
– Press release
– Asia and Pacific
– Middle East