ITUC OnLine – January 18, 2010


Haiti:  ITUC Humanitarian Appeal

Brussels, 13 January 2010 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has today launched a trade union appeal for earthquake-stricken Haiti, in cooperation with its regional organisation for the Americas, TUCA.  Funds raised under the appeal will in the first instance be used to provide humanitarian assistance via the ITUC affiliates in the Dominican Republic, CASC, CNTD and CNUS.  The three Dominican Republic organisations have opened up their local trade union offices to collect funds and essential items, which are being trucked across the border into Haiti, in cooperation with the ITUC’s Haitian affiliate the CTH.

Funds for the appeal may be transferred to the following ITUC account:

No. 375-1008200-61

Banque ING, Brussels Branch Institutionals, 1 rue du Trone, B-1000 Brussels

Code IBAN: BE 62375100820061

Code BIC/Swift: BBRUBEBB

The communication “SOS Solidarity – Haiti” must be included with each transfer to this account.

“Our trade union colleagues in the Dominican Republic began to mobilise their humanitarian action immediately after the earthquake struck, and shipment of materials into Haiti has already begun.  In additional to supporting this action, we also anticipate contributing from the ITUC appeal to the Red Cross appeal for Haiti,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.The ITUC is also raising concerns about Haiti’s international debt burden and its impact on rebuilding efforts into the future.  “The need for cancellation of Haiti’s debt, concerning both multilateral lending and loans by individual governments, has taken on a new and dramatic urgency in the aftermath of this disaster,” said Ryder.


Malaysia:  Major Improvements Needed in Respect for Core Labour Standards

Brussels, 18 January 2010 (ITUC OnLine): A new report by the ITUC on core labour standards in Malaysia, published to coincide with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) review of their trade policies, has found many workers barred from exercising their right to organise, to collectively bargain and to strike. Migrants’ suffer from blatant disregard of their rights, including the use of violence.

The report finds that workers’ rights to organise and to bargain collectively under the law are extremely limited, due partly to the procedures for recognition and registration of trade unions. In some cases employers refuse to recognise unions even after a favourable court decision has been achieved.  Migrants and those in certain classifications in the public sector face particular restrictions on the right to organise and to bargain collectively. Moreover, the right to strike is not adequately recognised, and many legal restrictions exist, with workers being denied the right to strike and with procedures that make it difficult and often virtually impossible to hold industrial action.

Discrimination in employment is prohibited, but there are no legislative provisions regarding equal remuneration for work of equal value. Women are often underpaid and are underrepresented in managerial positions. Sexual harassment cases are treated at the enterprise level through a voluntary code. Malaysia also lacks a legal framework for the rights of indigenous people, who face particular difficulties entering the labour market.

While child labour does not appear to be a big problem in Malaysia, the report finds that human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour is widespread. Thousands of young Indonesian women work as domestic labourers under potentially abusive circumstances such as the confiscation of travel documents until the end of their employment contract. An armed civilian force called RELA is known to engage in abuses of migrant rights, and border police and other officials have been reported as being involved in trafficking activities.

Among other recommendations, the report calls on the government of Malaysia to ratify the three ILO core Conventions that it has not ratified, to improve its legislation so that it provides an adequate framework for the application of core labour standards, and to improve its implementation of the penalties that are foreseen by the law.

Click here to read the full report.  

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