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30 Jun 2023

International Trade Union Confederation

Global: ITUC Global Rights Index finds cost-of-living crisis has been met with a crackdown on workers' rights in every region

"2023 ITUC Global Rights Index", June 2023

The 10th edition of the authoritative Global Rights Index shows that the global cost-of-living crisis has been met with a crackdown on the rights of working people in every region of the world.

From Eswatini to Myanmar, Peru to France, Iran to Korea, workers’ demands to have their labour rights upheld have been ignored and their dissent has been met with increasingly brutal responses from state forces.

The 10 worst countries for working people in 2023 are: Bangladesh, Belarus, Ecuador, Egypt, Eswatini, Guatemala, Myanmar, Tunisia, the Philippines and Turkey.

The 2023 Index shows that key measures of violations of workers’ rights have reached record highs. The International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC), Global Rights Index is available here and includes rights abuses and national ratings that can be viewed by country and region...

Record high levels of violations include:

  • 9 out of 10 countries violated the right to strike. Working people in Canada, Togo, Iran, Cambodia and Spain faced criminal prosecution or dismissal following their decision to strike.
  • 77% of countries excluded working people from the right to establish or join a trade union. Migrant, domestic and temporary workers, those in the informal economy, platform workers and workers in Special Economic Zones were denied the right to freedom of association. Burundi, Haiti, India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates were among the countries that excluded working people from union representation.
  • The right to free speech and assembly was restricted in 42% of countries, often resulting in protesting workers facing police brutality. In France, lawful protests were met with vicious police beatings, indiscriminate arrests and tear gas. In Iran, teachers were arrested and beaten by the police for taking part in May Day demonstrations.

Other key figures include:

  • 8 out of 10 countries violated the right to collective bargaining. Workers in the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Zimbabwe, Honduras, Indonesia, Montenegro and Serbia have seen their rights to collective bargaining severely reduced.
  • 73% of countries impeded the registration of unions or banned them, including in Belarus, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Central African Republic and Guatemala.
  • Workers were arrested and detained in 69 countries, with prominent trade union leaders targeted in Myanmar, Hong Kong, Dominican Republic, India and Turkey.
  • In 65% of countries working people had no or restricted access to justice. Trade union leaders and workers’ rights advocates in Zimbabwe, China and Kazakhstan were prosecuted on trumped-up charges and their trials were often beset by a disregard for due process.


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