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ITUC Global Rights Index: Trade Unions and Workers’ Rights Under Pressure on a Global Scale

“It is evident that all over the world, trade union leaders and their members are suffering and having difficult times.  We see that we still have to keep fighting for workers’ rights and keep on creating space for trade unions on a global scale,” says Arend van Wijngaarden, President of CNV Internationaal, in response to the publication of the Global Rights Index, the 2019 Annual Report of The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). 

The ITUC is the worldwide partnership of trade unions. CNV Internationaal is one of its members. Van Wijngaarden goes on to say, “This report shows that freedoms related to forming unions, carrying out union work, and ensuring workers’ rights – and with that, also democracy—is under great pressure in many countries.”

The ITUC report even indicates these types of issues are present in the Netherlands. In at least half of European countries, collective bargaining rights are being violated, and the Netherlands is one of these countries. “This is a real cause for concern,” states Van Wijngaarden. 



The Ten Worst Countries

The ten worst countries for workers are: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.

“We continue to see our partner union members in Colombia being seriously threatened. Because of this state of affairs, CNV Internationaal has asked Minister Kaag to appeal to the Colombian government about increasing trade union freedom. We look forward to her positive reply and then seeing her work with Minister Blok to bring more attention to the issues of protecting union members and leaders in Colombia,” says Arend van Wijngaarden.

This year, Brazil and Zimbabwe are on the list for the first time. These two countries have recently passed legislation which decreases workers’ rights. Further, these countries have shown instances of suppression and intimidation, as well as actual threats towards union leaders. Strikes have been made illegal.

Global Rights Index 2019Striking for peace in Colombia

Publication date 24 06 2019