ILO Names Five Worst Nations For Suppressing Labor Organizing

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ILO News– The International Labour Organization has named Argentina, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji and Peru – out of 32 cases examined – as the most serious violators freedom of association and labor organizing.

The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association examined cases concerning employers’ and trade unions’ rights to organize, collective bargaining and social dialogue.

Fiji may be a tropical paradise, but apparently not a labor organizer's paradise.
Fiji may be a tropical paradise, but apparently not a worker’s paradise.

The ILO supervisory body dealt with violent acts in which four workers died and two others were injured in Argentina. The deaths and injuries occurred in 2011 during the eviction of more than 500 workers who were demanding decent housing in Jujuy province.

The committee requested the government to communicate the outcome of the judicial inquiries underway.

It also examined the murder of three trade union leaders, Chea Vichea, Ros Sovannareth and Hy Vuthy, in Cambodia. The murders took place between 2004 and 2007.

Once again, the committee strongly urged the Cambodian government to conduct independent investigations into the assassinations of these union leaders, punish the guilty parties and bring an end to the climate of impunity in the country.

Turning to Ethiopia, the committee noted with regret that, four years after its request for registration, the National Teachers Union (NTA) had still not been registered.

It strongly urged Ethiopia to ensure that the appropriate authorities register the NTA, in order to fully guarantee the freedom of association rights of civil servants, including teachers in public schools.

Fiji Hostile To Organized Labor

The committee also asked Fiji to rapidly discuss the return of an ILO Direct Contacts Mission to the country.

Last September, the Fijian government stopped the ILO from carrying out a mission to verify complaints by local trade unions regarding the lack of freedom of association.

The committee called upon the Fijian government to undertake independent investigations without delay into the allegations of physical assault, harassment and intimidation of trade union leaders and members.

It also considered the case of Peru, which concerns allegations of the 2008 murder of a trade union leader that took place during a mine worker protest that lead to clashes with the police. As it had not been possible to identify the perpetrators, the committee asked for further investigations to clarify the facts.

Finally, the ILO supervisory body reviewed the measures taken by Belarus to implement the 2004 recommendations of an ILO commission of Inquiry.

The committee deeply regretted that Belarus had once again failed to reply to the committee’s previous recommendations and to the new allegations of freedom of association violations. It urged the Government to be more cooperative in the future.

The ILO examined 29 other cases and noted with satisfaction that effect had been given to its recommendations in cases related to the reinstatement of trade union members in Colombia and Peru, and the registration of a trade union in Algeria.

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