ITUC OnLine – October 11, 2011


KUWAIT: Trade Unions Call for Dialogue, Not Military Force Against Strikes 

Brussels, 11 October 2011 (ITUC OnLine):  Kuwait’s government needs to step back from confrontation and accept dialogue with the country’s trade unions to resolve public sector strikes, according to the ITUC.

“The authorities’ decision to give the military and security forces the power to break strikes is unacceptable and anti-democratic.  Workers are on strike for legitimate reasons, and we support the call from the Kuwaiti trade union movement for the government to open genuine dialogue to resolve the workers’ concerns,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The formation of a military committee from the Ministries of Interior and Defence, the National Guard and other authorities has been sharply criticised by the Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF).

KTUF General Secretary Abdul Rahman Yousef Al-Ghanim has repeated the Federation’s call for a high-level committee including the Council of Ministers, Labour and Social Affairs Ministry, the union movement and other stakeholders.   “Repression of striking workers is totally unacceptable and will only lead to serious consequences for the nation and citizens alike,” said Al-Ghanim in a statement to the media.


German Chancellor and Global Organisations Call for G20 Jobs Action

Brussels, 10 October 2011 (ITUC OnLine): German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of five key international bodies have called for coordinated G20 action to improve growth and employment, boosting prospects for a positive jobs outcome from November’s G20 Summit in Cannes.  In a joint communiqué with the heads of the ILO, IMF, OECD, World Bank and WTO, she has called for top priority to be given to “… job-generating enterprises of the real economy.”

“The G20 coordinated action to stabilise the global financial system in 2008, but this has not been followed through in the real economy.  More and more jobs are being lost, and the world is again on the brink of a serious recession causing even more hardship to ordinary people.  G20 cooperation is urgently needed to tackle skyrocketing unemployment and to regulate banks and finance effectively,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The international union movement is insisting that the Cannes Summit agree on far-reaching global economic reform, and policies for growth instead of cuts.  A key demand is the introduction of a Financial Transactions Tax, to help fund the real economy and reduce damaging financial speculation.

“Big business and big finance are trying to strengthen their grip even further and ramping up their campaign for lower wages, less protection for workers and yet lower corporate taxes.  Momentum is building against their stranglehold over economic policy, and public anger at the immense power and privileges they enjoy will grow stronger and stronger if the G20 fails to act,” said Burrow.

Click here to see ILO Press Release


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