ITUC OnLine – February 19, 2010


2nd World Day of Social Justice

Brussels, 19 February 2010:  In marking the 2nd World Day of Social Justice (on 20 February), the ITUC is calling for an end to the prevailing neo-liberal model of economic globalization, which has brought about the worst economic downturn since the great depression. It has denied social justice to millions of men and women hit by unemployment, or marginalized into the ranks of the working poor. “Social justice must mean, above all distributive justice,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. “If anything, the global crisis has served to show up the serious fault lines in the current model of huge capital accumulation through risky, unregulated financial transactions, and its failure to spread the wealth in a fair and sustainable way, through the creation of decent jobs and livelihoods for all.” 

The ITUC affirms the need for a new framework for distributive justice, with the ILO Global Jobs Pact at its core. The Pact’s proposals for comprehensive measures to stimulate employment growth, and provide a social protection floor to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis on workers and their families, must be central to the global economy in future.  Trade unions have welcomed the Pact’s emphasis on the need for recovery packages to integrate gender concerns into their design, as well as in the monitoring of implementation. They point to the ILO 2009 Resolution on gender equality at the heart of decent work as providing a blueprint for mainstreaming gender into employment-centred responses to the crisis.  

“The obstacles to achieving social justice and decent livelihoods for all are many and daunting, but they are not insurmountable,” said Ryder. “In commemorating the 2nd World Day of Social Justice, the ITUC affirms its readiness to continue active mobilization for change, coupled with strong advocacy at highest levels: the G20, the IFIs, the United Nations and other key bodies.  Major systemic reforms are a pre-requisite to the attainment of social justice.”  

Click here to read the ITUC Statement on the 2nd World Day of Social Justice.


Oman:  A New Trade Union Centre is Born

Brussels, 19 February 2010:  With the completion of its Founding Congress on 15 February, the General Federation of Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU) becomes the world’s newest national trade union centre.  Following a 2006 Decree by the Sultan of Oman permitting the establishment of trade unions, some 70 individual unions have been established.  Fifty of these, having already completed their own elections, were represented at the Congress which brought together some 100 delegates.  Saoud Ali Abdullah Al Jabri was elected GFOTU president, along with an 11-person Executive including two women. 

“The ITUC’s Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights Violations for 2009 recognised that while positive steps were being taken in the Sultanate, there are serious problems for large parts of the country’s workforce, especially migrant workers in construction and in domestic work.   The creation of the GFOTU is a very significant important step towards ensuring respect for workers’ rights, and the ITUC looks forward to working with the new organisation,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder, who addressed the opening of the Congress.


 

ITUC in Talks with Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian and Israeli Affiliates

Brussels, 19 February 2010:  In a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on 16 February, ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder discussed the deep economic problems confronting Palestinians, and the government’s plans to tackle a series of labour issues including vocational training, employment services, occupational health and safety and labour inspection.  Shaher Sae’d, general secretary of the ITUC’s Palestinian affiliate PGFTU, took part in the discussions, which also included meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Labour Minister Ahmed Majdalani.  Ryder stressed the importance of the PGFTU’s role as an independent trade union centre, and welcomed indications that the Palestinian Authority would establish an economic and social council to institutionalise social dialogue.  The talks also focused on possibilities to revive the peace process with Israel. 

On 17 February Ryder held discussions in Tel Aviv with Ofer Eini, chair of the ITUC Israeli affiliate Histadrut.  Along with the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations and the quest for peace, the talks covered developments on the labour market and workers’ rights within Israel. 

“With the peace process effectively in stalemate at present, the ITUC’s working together with our Israeli and Palestinian affiliates is especially important.  Trade union cooperation is crucial in protecting and advancing decent employment and workers’ rights, and has an important contribution to make in promoting peace and mutual understanding in the Middle East as in every other part of the world,” said Ryder. 

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