Date: Wed, 27 Nov 96 16:37:28 CST
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North/South union leaders review progress on social clause campaign
ICFTU OnLine..., 25 November 1996
Brussels, November 25 1996 (ICFTU OnLine): Progress on the social clause campaign leading to the first ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will be at the centre of discussions as top trade union leaders from all five continents meet in Brussels on November 27-29 for the annual session of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free trade Unions (ICFTU).
The ICFTU, which groups trade union centres from 136 countries, has been a major actor in the campaing which seeks to include a linkage in the WTO between trade and seven basic conventions of the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) covering fredom of association, the right to collective bargaining, a ban on child and forced labour and non-discrimination in employment.
The idea, according to the ICFTU, is to prevent countries abusing those rights from being able to use anti-union repression and gross exploitation as a competitive advantage in their efforts to access the expanding international trade market.
"Globalisation of the economy should go hand in hand with social progress" says the ICFTU.
The ICFTU which has been pressurizing governments to support its view at the WTO and seek, as a first step, the establishment in Singapore of a WTO special working group to examine the link between trade and labour standards, will organise an international trade union conference in Singapore immediately prior to the WTO event.
The ICFTU proposals which is supported by an number of European, African, Latin American governments and the United States meets with strong resistance from Asian governments as well as employers. It is nevertheless bound to be discussed in Singapore and trade unions hopes that the WTO which has acknowledged social progress as one of its objectives will be able to include it in its future work.
For more details please contact the ICFTU Press Office in Brussels: ++32 2 224 02 14.
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