A report from the International Trade Union Confederation has ranked the world’s worst countries for workers.
The ITUC Global Rights Index 2018 ranked 142 countries based on 97 internationally recognised indicators where workers’ rights are best protected in law and in practice. The report documents violations of internationally recognised collective labour rights by governments and employers.
“The 2018 Global Rights Index saw restrictions on free speech and protests and increasingly violent attacks on the defenders of workers’ rights,” the report stated. “Decent work and democratic rights grew weaker in almost all countries, while inequality continued to grow.”
The top ten worst countries for workers, in alphabetical order, were as follows: Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The report listed various factors that went into the rankings for each of the top ten countries. For example, in Algeria, State repression, mass arrests and dismissals and suppression of protests were listed as reasons for its ranking.
The worst region for working people was the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) with the report adding that the effects of war were still ravaging Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, depriving millions of basic protection and stripping them of their liberties and rights. In Saudi Arabia, the report states that millions of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are trapped in modern slavery under the kafala system, a system that monitors migrant labourers.
The second-worst region was Asia Pacific with the report stating that physical violence and intimidation of workers were common practices to prevent the establishment of unions.
Meanwhile, in the Americas, the report said that the region remained plagued by the pervasive climate of extreme violence and repression against workers and union members. Anti-union practices were still widespread in many Latin American countries.
In Europe, the report stated that “workers still suffered from the long-lasting negative effects of austerity-related measures which all but dismantled existing collective bargaining frameworks, especially in countries affected by policies of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund), such as Portugal, Spain and Greece.”
The report highlighted 13 countries as among the best countries for workers: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Uruguay.