ITUC OnLine – June 19, 2009

Turkey: Eight More Trade Unionists Arrested
 
Brussels, 19 June 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC strongly has protested to the Turkish authorities against the arrest of yet another eight leaders and members of its affiliate, the Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK), and KESK-affiliated teachers’ union Egitim-Sen.
This is the third series of arrests in little more than two weeks.  On 29 May and on 15 June the ITUC protested against the excessively forceful interventions by the Turkish police against KESK and Egitim-Sen (see previous OnLine).
Fourteen of the people who were arrested after the police invasion of the KESK headquarters in Ankara and of KESK’s local branch offices in Istanbul, Izmir, Van and Manisa, remain in custody to date. According to the information received by the ITUC, eight more union members were arrested last Tuesday.  
“This is clearly a serious case of anti-union harassment” declared Guy Ryder, ITUC general secretary. “Turkey ratified ILO Convention 87 in 1993, but these facts are totally in contradiction with this international instrument. Moreover, it is alarming that the government shows no sign of responding to international protests over its acitons,” he added.
In a letter sent to the Turkish government, the ITUC once again  pressed for the immediate and unconditional release of all the arrested KESK and Egitim-Sen members and leaders.

ILO Jobs Pact: the Way Forward out of the Crisis
 
Brussels, 19 June 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The adoption of a landmark Global Jobs Pact by governments, trade unions and employers at the annual ILO Conference today provides a realistic and workable template for economic recovery and reform, according to the ITUC.
 
“The ILO Pact puts employment and incomes at the heart of economic recovery efforts, and sets key benchmarks for a new global economy.  Jobs, workers’ rights, social protection, quality public services and sustainability are to be at the centre of global policy making, in a significant break with the failed free-market radicalism which caused the crisis.  Some are still seeking a return to business as usual, and the clear message from the ILO is that this would not be acceptable,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.
 
The Pact provides guidance for governments and employers to maintain and create employment, recognising the importance of “green jobs” both for economic recovery and for tackling climate change.  The crucial role of tripartite negotiations between governments, unions and employers as well as social dialogue and collective bargaining are highlighted, along with the need to avoid deflationary wage spirals and worsening working conditions.  The importance of public job-creation schemes such as infrastructure development, as well as help for the unemployed and training and skills development, are also emphasised.
 
The need for effective and coherent global governance is given detailed attention in the Pact, which demands that the financial sector must in future serve the needs of the real economy to support decent work.  Developing-country governments in particular need the policy space to invest for the future, rather than be pushed into “pro-cyclical” fiscal policies, which often lead to savage cuts in employment and incomes.  The international trade union movement has for many years insisted that the policies of the IMF and World Bank must be reformed in this way, and while the G20 governments at their London Summit pledged to do so, there is still scant evidence that the reforms are in fact taking place.  Countries accepting IMF support are being forced to cut their budgets, at the same time as richer countries are increasing government spending.
 
“It is encouraging that governments are now waking up to the fact that fairness and sustainability must be cornerstones of the new global economy, and that the ILO must play a central role in global governance in future.  The past practice of governments adopting one set of policies at the ILO while pushing a totally contradictory approach through the global finance and trade bodies must be jettisoned forever.  This ILO Jobs Pact is a huge step in the right direction, and governments need to move quickly with the ILO to put it in place.  We have to have concrete results by the time the G20 governments meet again in Pittsburgh,” said Ryder.
 
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