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30 Jun 2021


ITUC releases 2021 Global Rights Index

The eighth edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 149 countries on the degree of respect for workers’ rights.

...Eight-year trend data analysed in the 2021 Global Rights Index exposes attacks on the right to strike and the right to establish and join a trade union, as well as on the registration of unions; arbitrary arrests and detentions; and the denial of freedom of speech and assembly, which is at an all-time high.

Eighty-seven per cent of countries have violated the right to strike. Strikes in Belarus, Indonesia and the Philippines to oppose authoritarian governments and in Myanmar to oppose the military junta have been met with brutal repression.

Seventy-nine per cent of countries have violated the right to collective bargaining.

Seventy-four per cent of countries excluded workers from the right to establish and join a trade union. In 2021, thirty-two countries had legislation prohibiting migrants from establishing and joining trade unions, restricting migrants’ ability to hold office in a trade union or otherwise denying them full rights to engage in union activities.

The practice of union-busting has seen more and more workers blocked from being able to form and join trade unions.

In 2020, Uber, Lyft and DoorDash mounted the most expensive such campaign in California’s history, Proposition 22, to fight AB5, a new state law that classified certain categories of gig workers as employees.

...Belgium, Canada, El Salvador, Haiti, Hungary, Jordan, Malaysia, Myanmar and Slovakia have all seen their ratings worsen in 2021.

...Eight countries have seen their ratings improve: Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Mexico, North Macedonia, Panama, Sudan and Togo.

Trade unionists were killed in six countries: Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Nigeria and the Philippines...Twenty-two trade unionists were murdered in Colombia alone. Workers were exposed to violence in 45 countries.

The number of countries where freedom of speech and assembly was denied or constrained increased from 56 in 2020 to 64 in 2021, with extreme cases reported in Hong Kong and Myanmar.

Workers had no or restricted access to justice in 65% of countries, with severe cases reported in Belarus, Honduras, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.

Workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detentions in 68 countries.

...Surveillance of workers and attacks on the right to privacy are on the rise. In the USA, Amazon, Facebook and Google have been exposed using illegal or underhand surveillance activities.

... It will take a New Social Contract with jobs, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion to rebuild the trust that has been shattered by repressive governments and abusive companies.

...Workers have been on the front lines of the global pandemic holding communities together.