Date: Wed, 18 Jun 97 08:38:44 CDT
/** labr.global: 451.0 **/
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Women Workers Hit By SAPs/Restructuring
** Topic: Women Workers Hit By SAPs/Restructuring **
** Written 11:09 PM Jun 17, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Women Workers Hit By SAPs/Restructuring
Women workers the worst victims of global restructuring
ICFTU Online, 162/970613/DD, 13 June 1997
Geneva, June 13 (ICFTU OnLine): "As governments dismantle their
public services and multinational companies look for the cheapest
workers, women are increasingly in the front line of anti-union
repression" says the International Confederation of Free Trade
The ICFTU's Annual Trade Union Rights Survey, launched today
details how women workers are victimised both because the public
sector - where many employees are female - is being decimated
through global restructuring, and because sweatshops and export
processing zones are being set up in countries where
multinational companies can find cheap, non-unionised workers.
This year's survey picks out 108 countries, the largest number
ever, where trade union rights violations have occurred, as more
and more countries are effected by the ravages of globalisation.
Many of the same countries are persistent offenders says the
ICFTU. Trade unionists were threatened and attacked in
Guatemala. All trade unions are banned in Burma, and the FTUB is
in exile. In Nigeria the unions are run by a government
administrator. Colombia has done nothing to stem the murders of
Once again hundreds of trade unionists die fighting for union
rights. In 1996, at least 264 trade unionists were murdered.
- The bulk of killings took place in Latin America, where 98
people were assassinated in Colombia, 24 in Brazil, and nine in
Bolivia. In Colombia many of them were agricultural workers,
pushing for union rights.
- Algerian trade unionists were among the 100s of social activists
killed by both sides in the civil war, which has so far claimed
- In Lesotho 15 construction workers were shot dead as they
protested about wages and conditions at the Lesotho Highland
Ill-treatment of trade unionists is also still very prevalent -
and in 1996 1761 people were injured in the course of their trade
- A 'reign of terror' exists in many of the factories in the
Dominican Republic's Santiago free trade zone, where thugs
wielding pipes, clubs and knives threatened anyone who sided with
- In Cambodia, which joins the list of miscreants for the first
time, there was a wave of strikes in the mainly foreign-owned
emerging garment industry, to protest about the long hours,
pitiful wages, and beatings which the - mainly young women -
Clampdowns on trade unionism, or trade union protests are
increasing. Altogether there were 4264 arrests and a stunning
153,494 dismissals during the year.
- China has one of the worst records of trade union repression.
Hundreds of trade unionists and their families are ill-treated or
imprisoned in labour camps for minor crimes like printing tee-
shirts with slogans advocating free trade unions.
- Over 1500 workers were arrested in Turkey in a single
demonstration organised by the newly established public sector
confederation, using laws inherited from the military regime.
- In Zimbabwe, the government sacked the entire participants in a
public workers strike - estimated at 135,000, who were then
reinstated almost immediately after international pressure.
Privatisation and restructuring policies, which are often used as
an excuse to attack trade unions, were a major cause of strikes.
- As a direct effect of globalisation, in December 1996, the South
Korean government slipped legislation through Parliament which
attacked workers rights. This led to massive strikes throughout
the country for several weeks
- In Congo, a five-day protest at the proposed privatisation of
public services, paralysed the state sector. Its leaders were
arrested and tortured. Later police smashed up the union leader's
house with axes.
- In Peru over 2500 workers were dismissed in 1996 during the
waves of privatisation which hit the country.
Countries which had recently emerged from the Soviet bloc also
had labour problems.
- In Belarus a Presidential Decree, suspending all independent
union activity, was used to arrest ten leaders of the Free Trade
Union of Belarus (SPB). When they were released without charge,
President Lukashenko said they had been arrested for drunkenness.
- in Russia workers protested over the chronic non-payment of
- Lithuania members of their local union who were victimised after
they had gone to court over unpaid wages, were forced to sell
their blood to look after their families.
Workers in Industrialised countries found themselves increasingly
under attack from both employers and governments.
- At least one in ten workers campaigning to form a union in the
USA is illegally fired by the employer.
- Shortly after its election the Australian government introduced
a Bill, which, if passed, would destroy trade union rights.
Belgium and the United Kingdom continued to undermine the right
"These figures are the tip of the iceberg", says the ICFTU. "We
are seeing a continued clamp down on trade unions, because they
have become the bastion against the unjust effects of
globalisation and corporate greed, fighting for workers' and
The Brussels-based ICFTU is the world's largest trade union
international with 124 million members in 195 affiliates
organisations in 137 countries and territories.
For further information, copies of the report please contact:
Luc Demaret in Brussels on: 00322 224 0212
Daphne Davies in Geneva (June 11-13) on: 917 7318 or (mobile)