Redistribution Of Working Time & Wealth Webinar

 

The Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions along with the Institute Of Employment Rights and the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom are a holding webinar:

Shorter Working Time and The Redistribution of Wealth

November 9th  7pm to 8pm.

The CSEU was at the forefront in campaigning for shorter working time and 30 years ago the CSEU unions lead the successful fight for a 35 hour week in engineering – based on a clear and well thought out strategy, aimed at forcing key companies to concede shorter hours, which would then secure similar agreements.

The CSEU believes the time has come for that campaign to be revived and is working with organisations including the New Economics Foundation, the Institute Of Employment Rights and the Campaign For Trade Union Freedom to prepare the ground to fight for and win shorter worker time in Engineering and Manufacturing.

The webinar will hear from:

  • CSEU General Secretary Ian Waddell on the aims of the campaign;
  • Labour‚Äôs Shadow Minister For Employment Rights Andy McDonald;
  • Journalist and campaigner Anna Coote of the NEF.
  • Chair: Tony Burke Assistant General Secretary of Unite and President of the CSEU

You can register for your place here https://tinyurl.com/y3kpqvcj

There will be regular updates/tweets on social media from the CSEU, IER and CTUF

The CSEU/NEF initial report on shorter working time ‘Making up For Lost Time’ is available for download by clicking here:

 The CSEU Unions are Unite, GMB, Prospect and Community

Please retweet:

REDISTRIBUTION OF WORKING TIME AND WEALTH РA free webinar from @UnionFreedom @IERUK @CSEU15 Register for your place here https://tinyurl.com/y3kpqvcj #ukemplaw #Time #Work #Wealth #Rights  @unitetheunion @GMB  @ProspectUnion @CommunityUnion  @NEF

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TUC: Union ‘advisory group’ no substitute for proper engagement with unions and employers

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady¬†

Commenting on the creation by the Government of a new ‚Äėtrade union advisory group‚Äô, TUC General Secretary¬†Frances O‚ÄôGrady¬†said:¬†‚ÄúThis is a step in the right direction. But alongside this, the government has excluded unions from the trade advisory groups which are consulted on the sectoral impacts of trade talks ‚Äď these groups still consist of 100% business representatives.

‚ÄúThis new trade union advisory group is no substitute for proper engagement involving unions and employers around the same table‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúWe need to have a seat at the table on an equal basis with employers so we can raise the impact of trade talks on workers in different sectors of our economy and in our public services. Without this, jobs, rights and our public services are at risk of being undermined by sub-standard trade deals with the likes of Trump.‚ÄĚ

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US Unions File UN Complaint Accusing Trump Administration of ‘Outrageous’ Violations of Workers’ Rights

Rich Trumka, AFL-CIO President: “The U.S. is violating workers’ rights, but those violations are resulting in people dying.”

Unions in the USA have filed a complaint with the United Nations’ labour agency, making the case that under the Trump administration, the USA has violated numerous international labour laws during the coronavirus pandemic.

The AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) filed the complaint with the International Labor Organization (ILO) that the White House has undermined the quality and enforcement of labour laws and occupational health and safety measures, which provides yet more evidence of the multiple ways that President Donald Trump has failed workers and puts the U.S. “in the realm of potential wrongdoing typically occupied by less-developed and less-democratic countries,” according to Washington Post economics reporter Eli Rosenberg.

Rosenberg explained that the union complaint accused the U.S. of “violating workers’ rights in terms not typically associated with well-off countries, at one point saying the bind many essential workers have been placed in during the pandemic‚ÄĒforced to risk infection or lose their jobs and potentially unemployment benefits‚ÄĒamounts to a system of forced labour.”

SEIU president Mary Kay Henry described the quality of US labour protections as “unconscionable.”

“Covid has laid bare what we already knew,” Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO told the Post. “It has demonstrated that not only is the U.S. violating workers’ rights, but those violations are resulting in people dying. It became so outrageous that we wanted to file a complaint.”

According to Rosenberg, the complaint attributed the failure of US labour law and policy to protect workers to two main causes. First, by excluding farmers, contractors, gig workers, and other types of more precarious employees, the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, commonly referred to as the Wagner Act, has left workers in these categories unprotected. And second, the Trump administration’s years long assault on occupational health and safety, which has continued during the pandemic, has magnified the hazards that workers face on the job.

The Washington Post explained that under Trump, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “failed to issue a safety standard businesses would be required to adhere to for coronavirus safety.”

Journalist David Sirota – drawing from a new study on OSHA complaints and Covid-19 deaths – described in the Daily Poster “the tragic story of workers crying out to OSHA for help, then being ignored, then dying.”

Some of the most egregious violations of workers’ rights during the pandemic have occurred at meatpacking plants, which Trump in April declared essential, requiring them to remain open despite the growing threat of coronavirus outbreaks.

The Post reported that the complaint‚ÄĒsigned by Henry and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO characterised Trump’s executive action as giving “a green light for employers to force workers to report for work and risk their lives or lose their jobs,” which “is tantamount to forced labour.”

According to Rosenberg, the unions also argued that “the executive order was inherently discriminatory because the vast majority of meatpacking workers who contracted the coronavirus were Black or Hispanic.”

The complaint highlighted additional ways that Trump’s Labour Department has hurt workers, such as when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in March suspended union elections and notified employers that they “could avoid bargaining about proposed layoffs because of the pandemic,” Rosenberg explained.

Moreover, Rosenberg wrote, “in two cases in August, the NLRB said companies were in the clear for dismissing workers who expressed concern about safety issues during the pandemic,” even though the Wagner Act is supposed to prevent employers from firing workers for raising workplace safety concerns.

The complaint argued that these NLRB decisions “have a cascading effect that will undermine workers’ rights in weeks and months ahead as the pandemic continues to ravage American workplaces.”

According to Joseph McCartin, a labour historian at Georgetown University, “the complaint that unions have placed before the ILO is damning in its detailed litany of failures and abuses.”

McCartin told the Post that this “type of complaint was not very typical of prosperous, democratic countries.”

Countries that were investigated by the ILO in 2019 include Burundi, China, France, Myanmar, and Pakistan. While the U.N.’s labour agency lacks enforcement power, McCartin told the Post that “a finding against the U.S. after an investigation could have serious ramifications for the country’s reputation.”

“It would strengthen politically the argument that our laws are inadequate,” McCartin said. “It could help to bring some political pressure to bear on those agencies if in the eyes of the world… the U.S. is found to be failing to ensure basic human rights.”

Paul Prescod, a high school social studies teacher and union organiser wrote in Jacobin earlier this year that “the political will for occupational safety and health needs to become a priority again today for unions and progressive forces.”

“And the pandemic provides no better impetus for this to happen,” he added.

Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, International Employment Rights, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Volkswagen to compensate workers over Brazil torture

German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) says it will pay $6.4m (¬£5m) in compensation to former workers at a Brazilian factory who sued the company for collaborating with the country’s military during the 1964 – 1985 dictatorship.

Workers and their families sued the carmaker five years ago over human rights violations.
A 2016 review found that VW agents gave employees’ names to police hunting for people described as “subversives”.¬†They were then detained and tortured.

“We regret the violations that occurred in the past. For Volkswagen, it is important to deal responsibly with this negative chapter in Brazil’s history and promote transparency,” VW executive Hiltrud Werner said in a statement.

VW’s deal with Brazilian prosecutors, will also see donations to projects including a memorial for victims of the dictatorship, the company said.

Twelve former workers said in 2016 they were arrested and tortured at Volkswagen’s huge factory in S√£o Bernardo do Campo, near S√£o Paulo, while others were sacked and placed on blacklists.

Many were unable to find work for years afterwards, an investigation by Reuters news agency in 2014 found.

The 2016 review, which was commissioned by VW, found that company security agents monitored employees and informed military authorities when illegal communist flyers and newspapers were found.

“The management of VW do Brasil exhibited unreserved loyalty towards the military government,” the review, which was written by Christopher Kopper, a history professor at Germany’s Bielefeld University, found.

He told Reuters that there was “no clear evidence found that the cooperation was institutionalized by the company” but that human resources knew what was happening.

Brazil’s national truth commission final report in 2014 described the case of VW employee Lucio Bellentani.¬†The commission, established to investigate abuses committed during military rule, found that state agents performed illegal arrests, torture, executions and forced disappearance systematically.¬†“I was at work when two people with machine guns came up to me,” Mr Bellentani, a communist activist, said.

“They held my arms behind my back and immediately put me in handcuffs. As soon as we arrived in Volkswagen’s security centre, the torture began. I was beaten, punched and slapped.”

The commission found that more than 400 people were killed and around 40,000 people were tortured during Brazil’s dictatorship.

The country is still coming to terms with what happened during military rule. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has praised the former dictatorship and previously suggested some of its hardline policies should be re-introduced.

Posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, International Employment Rights | Leave a comment