New report reveals shock figures on union murders
THE annual survey of Trade Union Rights Violations by the International Trade Union Confederation reveals that 91 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers’ rights last year.
Colombia, where 39 men and women were killed, was the worst offender followed by Guinea, where the regime of President Lansana Conte was responsible for killing 30 trade unionists during the repression of demonstrations against corruption and human rights abuses. The survey notes a disturbing upsurge of violence in Guatemala where four trade unionists were killed.
The report by the ITUC, which represents 168 million workers in 155 countries, also reveals an appalling record of union-busting and anti-union laws, intimidation and violence against workers in 2007. It condemns a number of disturbing trends including collusion between governments and employers to deprive workers of their legitimate right to union membership and representation.
Seventy-three trade unionists were sent to prison including 40 in Iran, where the systematic suppression of workers organising in transport and education continued; 14 in Morocco and seven in Burma where the junta targeted activists as part of its crackdown on moves for democracy and human rights.
ITUC general secretary Guy Ryder said: “Repression of legitimate trade union activities, which are guaranteed under ILO conventions, continued unabated in every continent. Murder, violence and torture, harassment, dismissal and imprisonment, were used to stop people organising and bargaining collectively for decent pay and conditions.”