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Latest News From The Secretariat

CAMPAIGN - SEND A MESSAGE! HONG KONG: 'Free arrested Hong Kong union leaders'

At least three leaders of the independent Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) were arrested today as police moved to break up the democracy encampment in the Admiralty section of the city.'

NORTH and SOUTH Solidarity Exchange: 'Workers' Education for Social Justice Programme' Study Circles Programme: South Africa and Sweden

Study Circles facilitator Saliem Patel reports on the exchange tour activities in Sweden with trade unionists Dot and Lulababalo - study circle facilitators. Read further and see pictures of their experiences on the Study Circles page on this website...

EUROPE / GLOBAL: IFWEA General Secretary Sahra Ryklief reports the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

'IFWEA executive members Annika Nilsson; Conny Reuter and Kari Antilla with Momchil Nekov, presenting at a roundtable discussion on building learning societies through investing in education and lifelong learning, organused by SOLIDAR at the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday. All spoke compellingly on the benefits of informal and non formal education for society.'

ASIA: "Impact of the minimum wage struggle in Indonesia" by Prihanani Federation of Indonesia Metalworkers Union (FSPMI) Confederation of Indonesia Trade Union (KSPI)

Federation of Indonesia Metalworkers Union (FSPMI) and Confederation of Indonesia Trade Union (KSPI) write on the "Impact of the minimum wage struggle in Indonesia"

SOUTH AFRICA / SWEDEN / FINLAND: Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP) course concludes for 2014

The YGAP course which is run both online with the Online Labour Academy (OLA) and face-to-face in South Africa for 2 weeks, has just concluded for the third time in Cape Town, South Africa. The IFWEA Secretariat, along with ABF Sweden and TSL Finland co-ordinated and facilitated the course, with participants producing "Postcards from th South" telling the story of the North-South Solidarity exchange...

SOUTH AFRICA / GLOBAL: IFWEA member Labour Research Services (LRS) publish the booklet "The 2010 FIFA World Cup Campaign: The Lessons for Building Trade Unions" available online for download

"The LRS has published this booklet (The 2010 FIFA World Cup Campaign: The Lessons for Building Trade Unions)with the aim of creating awareness of the possibilities for organising and recruiting non-standard workers into the trade union movement. The “Campaign for Decent work Towards and Beyond 2010” that unfolded from 2007 to 2010 around the preparation for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, demonstrated the huge potential that the method of campaigning holds for organizing and uniting a fragmented workforce. Read further for the download link..."

PAKISTAN: IFWEA member Labour Education Foundation (LEF) organises Home Based Workers' (HBWs) Convention

"Women workers give November 20 deadline to government - Threaten with dharna outside Punjab Assembly if law not passed -Progressive Home Based Workers Federation comes into being, takes oath LAHORE: Women Home Based Workers (HBWs) from all over Punjab have warned the government of a dharna (sit-in) in front of the Punjab Assembly in case the draft law on HBWs is not approved by the assembly by November 20, 2014. The HBWs announced this decision at the National Convention of HBWs, organised by the Labour Education Foundation (LEF) at Mehfil Hall on Monday. They said this dharna will continue for an indefinite period and culminate only with the fulfillment of their demands."

Labour News

PERU: "A Roadmap to Global Burning: COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact, Climate campaigners lament: "It sucks. It is taking us backwards."' by Lauren McCauley

'After two weeks of negotiations, the world community has yet again failed to take any meaningful actions to prevent landmark global warming and instead has produced a "roadmap to global burning," leading climate campaigners lamented upon the close of the United Nations COP20 climate talks in Lima, Peru on Sunday. In the wee hours of the morning, two days past the intended close of the conference, delegates from 195 nations cemented the text intended to serve as the building blocks for the next round of international climate negotiations in Paris next year.'

GLOBAL: "Inequality often starts in the labour market" by Patrick Belser

'The latest Global Wage report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), entitled “Wages and income inequality”, finds that the most recent global wage growth was driven almost entirely by emerging and developing economies, where real wages have been rising – sometimes rapidly – since 2007.'

ITALY: "Italian workers strike against Renzi’s Jobs Act" by Angelo Boccato

'This Friday, two of Italy’s biggest national trade union centres, CGIL (the Italian General Confederation of Labour) and UIL, (the Italian General Union of Labour) will go on strike against the labour reforms being implemented by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The main point of contention is Renzi’s Jobs Act, a raft of reforms passed by the Senate on 3 December, designed to overhaul the country’s labour market and make the hiring and firing workers easier. Unions are also protesting against the Stability Law, a €36 billion budget package which will introduce massive public spending cuts, particularly in the education and health sectors, without – say the unions – allowing for the investments needed to tackle the country’s youth unemployment crisis (43.3 per cent in October 2014).'

SOUTH AFRICA: "Murder exposes rampant sexism in South African mines" by Industriall News

'A verdict of two life sentences handed down on 27 November 2014 nearly three years after miner Pinky Mosaine’s rape and murder underground at Anglo Platinum’s Khomanani mine is only a partial victory as women still suffer systemic violence, exploitation and abuse in South Africa’s mines.'

GLOBAL: "A proud day" by Stephen Benedict

'Yesterday was the UN International Day to recognise Human Rights. And of course, we all know that the ILO Convention 87 and UN Covenant on Social, Political and Economic Rights recognise the right of workers to collectively withhold their labour as a fundamental right, one which balances that to private property in the capitalist system.'

USA: "To serve and protect whom? The militarisation of US police" by Ari Paul

"With militarisation, police don’t see themselves as public servants but as warriors in an endless conflict." Remembering Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Rumain Brisbon on this Human Rights Day, Ari Paul draws attention to the militarisation of U.S. police and its tragic consequences for African-Americans especially.

CHINA: "Labor movement 'concertmaster' tests Beijing's boundaries" by John Ruwitch

'When local officials warned striking shoe factory workers in China's Pearl River Delta this summer that they were breaking the law, a slight, bespectacled figure barely 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 meters) tall faced them down. "Where is the law that says striking is illegal? If this activity is prohibited by the law, then you need to say so with crystal clarity. Which law is it?" labor lawyer Duan Yi said he told them, with his characteristic growl. They had no answer.'

GLOBAL: "Fiscal redistribution: yes, but inequality starts in the labour market: Findings from the ILO Global Wage Report 2014/2015" by Patrick Belser

'The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Wage Report[1], a publication released every two years, has been issued on the 5th of December 2014. The report is titled “Wages and income inequality” and, as usual, it has three parts. The first part analyses the evolution of real wages around the world. The second part, examines the link between wages and household income inequality, and also looks at wage gaps between certain groups: women and men; migrants and nationals; workers in the formal and the informal economy. The last part challenges the reader on what could be appropriate policy responses. The purpose of this column is to therefore highlight and discuss some of the crucial findings of the report. '

INDIA: "Trade unions go on the offensive in India" by David Browne

'This week’s 30th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster is stark reminder that India’s relationship with capitalism has not always been a happy one. As the world’s largest democracy again remembers those who died from the toxic gas leak at the US-owned Union Carbide factory on the night of 3 December, 1984, India’s labour movement is marshalling its forces to challenge the neo-liberal economic policies of the country’s new right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.'

CHILE: "Chilean Activists Change the Rules of the Game" by Sebastian Rosemont

'Graduating from protesters to politicians, Chile's student leaders achieved the legislative wins that have eluded their Occupy counterparts. In 2011, students in Chile made headlines when they launched a nationwide strike lasting almost eight months...Before long, the marches became multifaceted. Opponents of the massive HidroAysén dam project in Patagonia joined in. Students and trade unions joined forces when workers staged strikes and marched in Santiago and other major cities.'

BELGIUM: 'Cricketer wrongly labelled a “terrorist” still battling deportation' by Tanja Milevska

'A photo in the media was all it took to turn the life of the Abbassi family upside down. On 18 November, the Belgian daily newspaper La Dernière Heure ran a picture of a young man of Asian descent carrying something assumed to be a weapon under his coat, with the headline “An anti-Semitic killer on the loose?” The “killer” turned out to be Assim Abbassi, the 22-year-old son of a Pakistani diplomat; his “rifle”, a cricket bat, as Assim was protecting his bat from the rain on his way to cricket practice.'

INDIA: "Bhopal at 30: Dow shareholders demand justice" by Clare Speak

'As survivors mark the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, shareholders in the US-based chemical company held liable by the Indian courts say justice must finally be done. For three decades, campaign groups have been demanding that the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and parent company Dow Chemical be brought to justice for what is the worst industrial disaster in history.'

SOUTH AFRICA: "South Africa’s "gold slaves"' by Ray Mhondera

'Nineteen-year-old Agrippa Machako recounts the day a ‘recruiter’ promised him a job as a hotel chef in Johannesburg, South Africa, over 1000 kilometres away from his hometown of Chipinge in Zimbabwe. Today, the teenager’s otherwise youthful face and body bears all the scars of the five months he spent toiling as a “gold slave”, 200 metres underground in one of Johannesburg’s derelict mines.'

HONG KONG: "Calls for HKCTU leader on #OccupyHK frontlines to replace Hong Kong Chief Executive" by Andrew Casey

'A new round of sometimes violent clashes has erupted in Hong Kong, where #OccupyHK protests, demanding universal suffrage, are now in their third month. Riot police used pepper spray and batons this morning to stop hundreds of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists from storming the government’s headquarters.'

GLOBAL: "The invisible role of trade unions in the fight against slavery" by Owen Tudor

'On Saturday the Home Office released a new strategy for combating modern slavery or forced labour in Britain and abroad. We’re still digesting it, because, surprisingly, we weren’t consulted on it, and we aren’t mentioned in it. And this is not the only example of people trying to address forced labour without a key role for trade unions, even though we h1ave been at the forefront of the campaign against slavery, worldwide, for decades, especially through the tripartite International Labour Organisation (ILO). Earlier this month, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe held a major conference about the issue with just one union panellist from Russia.'

CHINA: "Frequently asked questions about labour relations in China Frequently asked questions about labour relations in China" China Labour Bulletin

'How have labour relations changed since the onset of economic reform? There has been a fundamental shift from a tightly controlled and planned economy based on state-ownership of enterprises in the late 1970s towards what is basically a market economy today. Under the planned economy, workers made up a relatively small proportion of China’s largely rural population and had a so-called job for life with a wide-range of welfare benefits. During the 1990s some 30 million state-owned enterprise employees were laid off, while the urban job market opened up to hundreds of millions of rural migrant workers. The Chinese government gradually abdicated its power in labour relations to business owners, and workers were employed on terms and conditions largely dictated by the employer.'

INDONESIA: "Indonesia: minimum wage battle set to escalate" by Patrick Tibke

'A storm is brewing over a month-long minimum wage dispute and a fuel price hike in Indonesia, where an increasingly assertive trade union movement is gearing up for its third national strike since 2012 at the end of November. Last week, the new governor of Jakarta – the hot-tempered, former quartz magnate Basuki ’Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama – finally signed off on a new minimum wage for an estimated two million formal workers in the Indonesian capital.'

CUBA: "Cuba’s fast-growing private sector" by Thomas Leroy

'“I started out seven months ago. I have some foreign customers, but most of them are Cuban. You make more money working for yourself,” says Maykol, a hairdresser in the centre of Havana. “But it means more responsibilities too. We are not sure what income we’ll have at the end of the month,” he warns.'

MEXICO: "Global protests support students' campaign for justice"

'Thousands of workers, campesinos, members of civil society, and students marched in Mexico City on November 20 to demand justice for the missing 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers' school. They were joined by the family members of the missing students, who have been traveling in three solidarity convoys throughout the country to build support for their cause.'

GULF REGION: "“Time’s up on kafala,” say campaigners' by Clare Speak

'As labour ministers from across the Gulf prepare to meet this weekend, a coalition of 99 human rights groups and trade unions are calling for the urgent reform of labour laws for migrant workers – particularly domestic workers.'

GEORGIA: "A new path emerges for the Georgian labour movement" by Bryan Carter

'Looming over the Zestafoni Ferroalloy Plant, in the industrial heartland of Western Georgia, the rundown executive offices of Georgian American Alloys’ local branch conjures up the image of a once powerful Soviet production site now struggling for a share of the globalised economy.'

CROATIA: "Croatia’s shipyard workers face an unweatherable storm" by Joe Orovic

'Blue cranes haunt the sky over Nauta Lamjana, a shipyard in the middle of Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Shop steward and former worker Mario Košta recalls the heyday of the seaside industrial site, when the otherwise-sleepy island of Ugljan hummed with up to 600 workers hammering, clanking and welding out a living, mostly by servicing oil rigs. “These crazy Americans used to do handstands at the top of oil platforms,” he said with a wistful laugh. Those days are gone.'

UK: "Downton Amazon: is the online retailer driving inequality?" by Clare Speak

'As Amazon announces it will be hiring 1000 new permanent staff at its UK warehouses in the coming months, concerns are growing about the way the company treats its army of low-paid workers. he new jobs will bring the total workforce at the company’s UK warehouses, or distribution centres, to 7,000. But former staff, anti-poverty campaigners and unions say that these staff face poor working conditions and low pay, and that Amazon’s business model itself is contributing to increasing inequality.'

AFRICA: "Ebola: it’s governance, stupid " by Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie

'The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics on the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak are startling. As of 11 November, there have been 14,413 reported cases of Ebola and 5,177 deaths across eight countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the United States) since the outbreak began in March 20."

PALESTINE: "Why is the Palestinian Authority waging a war on the Union of Public Employees?" By: Amon al-Sheikh

'The release of the two trade unionists who were detained by the Ramallah government last week does not mean the issue of the Union of Public Employees has been resolved. There is still a presidential decree stating that the union is an illegal entity even though, for years, it was a legitimate representative that reached agreements with successive governments. Suddenly, however, a war was declared on the union when its role of putting pressure on Hamas’ previous government ended and it started crossing the Palestinian Authority’s red lines.'
Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP)
"Support YiPSA" by Johanna Ekblad and Rafael Reinoso "Who are the youngsters in prison? They have dreams like you and me so help Young in Prison and support"
◘ watch the video on You Tube


Philippines: "About Popular Education And Training for Party Members" 4'20"

◘ watch the video on Olof Palmer International Center's Facebook group


IFWEA part 1 "Lifelong Learning and Development of the Online Labour Academy"

▶ watch the video at


IFWEA part 2 "Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP)'

▶ watch the video at

IFWEA part 3 "Global Network and Study Circles"'

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NEPAL / QATAR: " Nepalese migrant worker shares story of labour abuses in Qatar"

▶ watch the video at



Who Pays The Price? The Human Cost of Electronics

Documenting the human costs of electronics: this film follows the stories and struggles of workers injured in electronics factories in China.

▶ see more at

Asia Monitor Resource Centre presents: "China - Perils of Labor"

The video documented the story of Yi Yeting, an occupational disease patient turned worker activist. It is a story of the unequal battle waged between workers and capital, between individual and the state; yet it is also a story of personal growth and empowerment, of overcoming one’s suffering and gaining collective consciousness.

▶ watch here



India from Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA)

'IFWEA Online Labour Academy (OLA) "Developing and strengthening Member Based Organisation of the Poor"' -  a video produced by The Gujarat Women's Video Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Information and Communication Co-operative Society Ltd. shows the experiences of SEWA's trainers and members as they participate in this online course, including the development of animation!  IFWEA and SEWA's collaboration in the online trainer and member training included the IFWEA affiliate Labour Education Foundation (LEF) in Pakistan's Khalid Mahmood. 

see video here

in South Africa from Uhuru Productions  "Miners Shot Down"

'In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days into the strike, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the POV of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down, follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiraling violence and the country's first post-colonial massacre. South Africa will never be the same again.'
 ▶ watch trailer at