Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights – 2011

Source: International Trade Union Confederation, 2011

From the foreword:
The publication of the ITUC Annual Survey this year comes at a time of momentous change across the Arab world as people mobilise for their democratic rights. The denial of fundamental rights at work in these countries and the failure of countries to ensure decent jobs for millions of people, especially the young, are documented in this report. These trends, especially severe in the Arab countries, have been major drivers of the massive demand for reform there, but the denial of rights at work is by no means limited to the Middle East.

Further erosion of the rights to organise unions and to collective bargaining
worldwide is a strong feature of this year’s Survey, which covers 143 countries. The crisis in employment, set off by the global economic crisis, continues in every region as those who make policy have largely failed to make the changes needed to create and sustain employment. Governments have simply swallowed free market corporate rhetoric at the expense not only of working families but also of the stability and future of their own national economies. Big banks, big finance and big business have been allowed to dominate government policy, while unemployment, poverty and insecurity continue to grow. The very inequality, which was a driving force in tipping the world into economic crisis, is still growing, and the violation of basic international labour standards is itself the primary cause of this inequality.

While these global trends accelerate, trade unions in many countries face the most severe repression by governments and employers. Ninety people were killed in 2010 due to their involvement in legitimate trade union activities, and a further 75 were subjected to death threats. This Survey also documents some 2,500 arrests and 5,000 dismissals of trade unionists. Many more cases went unreported, in particular due to the climate of anti-union fear and intimidation in which many workers carry out their union activities.

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