ITUC OnLine – April 15, 2009

The ITUC Urges Fijian Government to Restore Democracy

Brussels, 15 April 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has expressed grave concerns that the Fijian President Josefa Iloilo has reinstated the government, despite the Court having ruled it as illegitimate.

The ITUC calls on the Fiji regime to immediately lift the restrictions on the media, and ensure full respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, and expresses its grave concern over the suspension of the Constitution and firing of the judges and calls for urgent and full restoration of democracy and the return of civilian rule.

“The international trade union movement condemns the declaration of a state of emergency with police given powers to control the movement of people” said Guy Ryder, ITUC general secretary.

Freedom of the Press is a pillar of democracy and the restrictions that have been imposed are completely unaccaptable and must be withdrawn.

The regime should also publicly undertake to hold free and fair elections without delay to ensure democracy, and in order to avoid the further and deepening isolation of Fiji by the international community.


Burma: Five FTUB Members Released

Brussels, 15 April 2009 (ITUC OnLine):  The ITUC welcomed the release of the five members of the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) who had been arrested on 1 April, after their return from the first FTUB Congress ever. It has now been confirmed that they returned safely to their homes in Rangoon on 10 April, albeit after having been warned to cease any dealings with the FTUB.

It was through international solidarity that the five were released. The ITUC therefore wants to acknowledge the rapid intervention, following its own request, of the Office of the ILO Director General, which resulted in this positive outcome. The FTUB extended its heartfelt thanks to the international labour movement as well, which had been very quick in mobilising itself and reacting to the arrests.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the future through our colleagues in the FTUB”, stated Guy Ryder.


“Just Transition” for an ambitious and fair climate change deal in Copenhagen

Brussels, 15 April 2009 (ITUC OnLine): A trade union initiative for integrating social justice within the transition to a low carbon economy has been launched by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The new climate deal, which has to be agreed in Copenhagen, has to deliver a message of ambition and fairness,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. “Our organisations are committed to supporting the achievement of ambitious emission reduction measures. Including a just transition framework in the agreement is an essential part of the successful implementation of that process.”

Over the course of 2009 governments are holding negotiations for the new agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose mandate ends in 2012. At the first series of talks that concluded on 8 April in Bonn, Germany, trade unions strongly emphasized the need to ensure fairness in the pathway towards a low-carbon society, through the inclusion of a “just transition framework” in the agreement.

“Trade unions are concerned by the slow pace negotiations are taking, and the multiplication of decision-making fora. We are committed to work up to, during and beyond Copenhagen to achieve effective decision making, and for the transition to a low carbon economy to be real and fair; for this to happen, we need governments to recognize the role trade unions can play in building consensus for the great transition that has to take place” said Ryder.

You can download  the general trade union position on climate change here, or the concrete proposals on the “just transition framework” presented in Bonn here.  

For more information, you can contact Anabella Rosemberg anabella.rosemberg@ituc-csi.org or the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018