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Latest News From The Secretariat

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."

SOUTH AFRICA: Community House, home of IFWEA Secretariat in Cape Town launch their website and Facebook group...

Learn more about the heritage, art, organisations and activities that shape Community House. Find links to the Facebook page, website and email contact right here

USA: Online Labour Academy debuts the course "Changing Climates - Changing Perspectives: Labor and the Environment" at Rutgers University, In solidarity Will Brucher

"Labor Education and Research Now (LEARN): This course will explore climate change from a labor perspective including the forces that shape labor and environmental policy and regulation in the U.S. and globally. Strategies to meet climate change challenges and opportunities will be examined." Click the link for details and registration

IFWEA Video Series part 3 'Global Network and Study Circles'

'In part 3 we explore the Global Network activities that IFWEA organisations took part in over a 10 year period on a regional basis - doing education, organising and campaigning to face the effects of informalisation of the economy. Here IFWEA also introduces the Study Circles project focusing on grassroots members doing participatory learning.' click on the link to view

IFWEA Video Series part 2 'Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP)'

'In part 2 we share the Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP) which is a sharing between IFWEA affiliates in the North and South with young leaders from labour movement - featuring YGAP participants from 2012 and 2013 along with Niklas Skeppar, Conny Reuter and Sahra Ryklief' click the link to view the video

IFWEA Video Series part 1 'Lifelong Learning and Development of the Online Labour Academy (OLA)'

'IFWEA's main goal is the expansion of opportunities for lifelong learning for workers' and the organisations of the workers' movement. In this 3 part video, we learn about the role of IFWEA and start off with the development of the Online Labour Academy in part 1 - featuring IFWEA General Secretary Sahra Ryklief, Professor Susan Schurman of Rutgers, Hernan Bernites of PLADES, Alana Dave of ITF, Rey Rasing of LEARN, Tilak Jang Khadka of CLASS Nepal, Khalid Mahmood of LEF, Arnaldo Montero of CENAC, and Namrata Bali with the SEWA - Indian Academy for Self Employed Women' click on the link to view the video

Labour News

GLOBAL: "Inequality is not inevitable: it’s time to Even it Up! by Winnie Byanyima

'This January, Oxfam revealed that the richest 85 people in the world possess the same amount of wealth as the world’s poorest 50 per cent. Our report caught the public’s imagination, and keyed into a conversation about inequality that was taken up by many players globally – amongst them Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President Barack Obama and the Pope. The collective wealth of this tiny global elite has increased by US$668 million per day between 2013 and 2014. That’s almost half a million dollars every minute. Today Oxfam launches a new campaign, Even it Up.'

INDIA: "The Indian tea pickers starving to death" by Sindhu Menon

'The exploitation of labour in India’s tea industry goes back centuries but the news that almost 100 tea workers in the Dooars region of West Bengal have died over the last 12 months brings the feudal conditions under which these workers are forced to toil into sharp focus. India is the second-largest tea producing country in the world after China, and the tea industry is India’s second biggest employer after the railways.

GREECE: "Greek economic crisis stimulates social entrepreneurship" by Bryan Carter

'Earlier this month, the Hellenic Statistical Authority released new data showing that more than 2.5 million Greeks, or nearly a quarter of the population, are at risk of poverty. More than four years after the onset of the economic crisis and the introduction of the first austerity measures to Greece, it is still evident on the streets of Athens that people are struggling to make ends meet.'

VENEZUELA: "Thousands of youth march against right-wing terror" by Cory Fischer-Hoffman

'Thousands of Venezuelan youth and supporters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) government took part in a march on October 18 against terrorism and for peace. The youth march was organised in response to the assassination of Robert Serra, a 27-year-old PSUV parliamentarian and Chavista. Serra was murdered along with his partner Maria Herrera in their home on October 1.'

TUNISIA: "Who are Tunisia's potential kingmakers?"

'As Tunisia's two major parties - Ennahdha and Nidaa Tounes – are unlikely to win an outright majority in parliament polls, a coalition government including small parties is likely. As Tunisia’s first election since the country’s new constitution is nearing, most focus has been on the two biggest parties, the Islamist Ennahdha and its opponent Nidaa Tounes. Both parties are set to dominate the election outcome. However, few expect either of these parties to gain the majority of votes. Instead, earlier opinion polls suggest a third of the electoral votes for each party respectively, which may mean that another political coalition is on the horizon. Cooperation, consensus and compromise have been key words during the country’s post-revolutionary political transition, praised by the international community.'

BANGLADESH: "C&F agents assoc leader shot dead in Shibganj Activities at Sonamasjid land port come to halt" Our Correspondent, The Daily Star

'Loading and unloading of goods at Sonamasjid land port came to a halt yesterday morning as port workers staged demonstration protesting the murder of a leader of Clearing and Forwarding Agents' Association (C&F) in Shibganj upazila on Friday night. Monirul Islam, 35, treasurer of the association and also general secretary of Ward No-1 of Shahbajpur union unit of Jubo League, was shot dead allegedly by his rivals in the association in Chaturpur area of Shibganj municipality around 7:00pm.'

GLOBAL: "Solidarity from ITF to transport unions impacted by Ebola outbreak" ITF Press

'The ITF is expressing strong support for its members in countries hit by the ongoing Ebola outbreak. ITF leadership, global section chairs and regional vice-presidents are meeting in London this week and have heard a report from African regional staff detailing the current challenges being faced by unions on the ground in impacted areas.'

ITALY: "Italy Strikes Kick Off to Protest Renzi’s Labor Measures" by Chiara Vasarri

'Italian workers started a 24-hour strike today to protest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s proposed overhaul of labor market rules, disrupting air and ground transport in the country’s biggest cities. Easyjet Plc (EZJ) canceled an unidentified number of flights to and from Italy, according to the carrier’s website. Demonstrations organized by the USB union and two other labor federations are planned throughout Italy, potentially affecting the operations of schools, hospitals and public offices in cities such as Rome, Milan, Venice and Naples.'

BRAZIL: "Brazil: a nation at a crossroads" by Nicolò Giangrande

'On 5 October, more than 142 million Brazilians went to the polls to elect the president, 27 state and Federal District governors, a third of the senate, and numerous deputies. With none of the 11 presidential candidates managing to secure an absolute majority, the two leading candidates are now facing a second round run-off on 26 October.'

PALESTINE: "West Bank Bedouins resist forced relocation" by Ylenia Gostoli

'Some 12,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in West Bank communities around Jerusalem, Jericho and Ramallah are fighting against the prospect of eviction.The communities have been settled in the area for decades after fleeing their ancestral lands in the Negev desert following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. But these villages are not recognised by the Israeli Civil Administration, and have demolition orders pending.'

EUROPEAN UNION: "The EU’s “self-scorched earth” foreign policy" by Juan Antonio Pavon Losada

'By blindly following the United States in its mission to bring the machinery of war to Russia’s borders – one could say that even the ghost of Ronald Reagan has showed up in the European External Action Service – millions of EU farmers will be forced to destroy their production to appease the gods of imperialism.From tons of milk being thrown into sewers in Finland to truckloads of vegetables from Andalusia being dumped on road sides, EU farmers could lose billions of euros following Russia’s decision to place an embargo on agricultural products from the European Union in response to US-EU economic sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.'

MYANMAR: "Where workers pay the price for FDI" by Se-Woong Koo

'On 9 October, 2014, the contents of a factory in Hlaing Tharyar, the largest industrial zone in Yangon, Myanmar, were tentatively auctioned off. It marked the end to a labour dispute that highlighted the topsy-turvy nature of South Korean investment abroad and Myanmar’s industrial landscape.'

GLOBAL: "There can be no compromise on the right to strike" by Ruwan Subasinghe

'“It is good to finally shake your hand; the last time I saw you, I was in prison”.These were the poignant words Myoung-hwan Kim, President of the Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU), greeted me with when we met at the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s (ITF) 43rd Congress in Sofia earlier this year. Indeed, the last time we spoke, we had to do it through a prison intercom system as Kim, along with other leaders of the KRWU, was being detained for organising a strike in opposition to rail privatisation. Despite complying with all ‘essential services’ requirements under Korean law, the authorities declared the action illegal even before it began.'

MEXICO: "Mexico minimum wage debate highlights deepening inequality" by Emilio Godoy

'The news that Mexico is planning to increase its minimum wage may have attracted positive attention internationally, but in Mexico the debate is more nuanced.When the Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Mancera, submitted a proposal to the federal government to increase the minimum wage paid to more than US$6 starting on January 2015, it sparked a national discussion about the need to do the same all over Mexico.'

GLOBAL: "The right to strike must be defended at all costs" by João Antonio Felicio

'The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recently initiated a broad mobilisation in defence of the right to strike. It is a basic human right that has been the target of repeated attacks by big business – particularly the financial sector and multinationals – and authoritarian governments averse to dialogue. Thus, in each of the 161 countries in which it is rooted, the ITUC will reaffirm the importance of this working class/trade union achievement, which is – with the support of the control system of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – critical to increasing income, maintaining employment and guaranteeing rights.'

FRANCE: "We made a giant cave in" by Feriel Alouti

'A four-year battle is summarised in a single sentence on the back of a machine. "Those who do not fight have already lost whilst those who fight can cherish the hope of winning." It is a slogan 47-year-old Amar Hassani, who spent 30 years working for Unilever, is not about to forget. "We fought, we cried and, thanks to a great deal of determination and support, we have shown that a factory making a profit can be kept alive," he declares with pride and emotion.'

GLOBAL: "The new EU Commission must lead the fight against modern slavery" by Jeroen Beirnaert, Zuzanna Muskat-Gorska

'18 October marks the annual EU Anti-Trafficking Day. Since 2007, it has confronted us with an ever-increasing number of workers in forced labour situations, often as a result of trafficking. Today in Europe, there are more workers are in modern slavery than ever before. The ILO estimates that 880,000 workers are victims of forced labour, including forced sexual exploitation. That is one in every 500 EU citizens. The annual profits made on the backs of 1.5 million forced labourers in the EU and other developed economies are estimated at US$46.9 billion.' If there is one truly global issue that requires urgent action, it’s this one.

GLOBAL: "Here’s what inequality means to me" by Sharan Burrow

'Inequality can be defined in numbers by economists as the ever growing income gap between the rich and the poor. It can be defined by paparazzi photos of celebrities’ sun bathing on Mediterranean super-yachts. And it can be defined in words by those politicians who make speeches about the risk it poses to social stability. But for working people inequality is about power.'

EUROPE: "EU: can the Maternity Leave Directive be rescued?" by Christina Vasilaki

'As the new EU commissioners prepare to take office, a bill to reform a 22 year-old directive on maternity leave is fighting its way back onto the agenda. This July, the proposed Maternity Leave Directive was dismissed by the European Commission as “red tape” and was placed in a legislative graveyard known as the regulatory fitness and performance programme (REFIT).'

COLOMBIA: " New threats to trade unionists in Colombia" by IUF

'The IUF has called for urgent protective measures by the Colombian government following public threats by paramilitaries against trade union leaders it denounces as "guerillas in disguise". Threatening leaflets signed by a notorious paramilitary group have been distributed in the department of Magdelena, where 9 union leaders have been murdered so far this year.'

CHINA: "The rise of China’s workers movement" by Han Dongfang

'In early September, about 16,000 workers at two Chinese factories producing touch-screens for well-known brands such as Apple went on strike after management reneged on a promise to pay a US$100 holiday bonus. The strikes were quickly resolved but still hit the headlines in the West because the bonus was supposed to include a box of moon cakes, a traditional gift during the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. The New York Post issued a dire warning to Apple fans, “No cake, no iPhone 6!”'

KENYA / SAUDI ARABIA: "Kenyan government moves to combat migrant worker abuse in the Gulf" by Brian Ngugi

'The Kenyan government has launched a crackdown on rogue employment agencies in an attempt to curb the exploitation and abuse of its migrant workers in Gulf countries. In response to the alarming number of cases involving the mistreatment of Kenyans abroad, on 29 September the government revoked the licenses of 930 agencies recruiting Kenyans to work in the Middle East.'

USA: "Global support for UAW organizing in the South" by Industriall

'Massive international solidarity feeds in to the organizing drive of the UAW at Nissan in Canton, Mississippi. The six-country trade union delegation representing over 150,000 Nissan workers jointly demanded that Nissan allows the 4,000 workers in Canton to form a union local of UAW.'

AFRICA: "Ebola crisis: how health workers on west African frontline are paying with their lives" by Monica Mark

' The epidemic has exposed weak healthcare systems and left nearly 3,500 dead, but far more might have died if not for the courage of local health workers. The day, 21 July, began like any other Monday for Ameyo Adadevoh, a doctor in Africa’s most populous city, Lagos. In a crowded midtown district, the usual jumble of patients awaited at the hospital where Adadevoh was known to sometimes give free drugs to those who could not afford it. Among them was a patient who had been wheeled in the previous evening, feverish and vomiting, diagnosed with severe malaria.'

SWAZILAND: "Swaziland – Monarchy Bans All Union and Employer Federations" by ITUC

'Swaziland’s government, one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies, has announced an immediate ban on all trade union and employer federations. With one of the worst industrial relations records of any country, the decision announced yesterday constitutes an absolute violation of ILO Convention 87, which guarantees freedom of association for workers and employers.'
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"'

▶ watch the video at


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

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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.

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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