The results of the latest ITUC Global Rights Index 2018 are worrying. The global union confederation notes that the democratic space is shrinking across the world. Corporate greed is on the rise as protection of workers is weakened and corporations like Amazon believe they can get away with anything that stands in the way of making profits. The number of countries with arbitrary arrests and detention of workers increased from 44 in 2017 to 59 in 2018, and freedom of speech was constrained in 54 countries. The global federation notes that more countries seek to exclude workers from labour law – “from migrant workers, public sector employees to workers in platform businesses, with 65% of countries excluding whole categories of workers from labour law.”
The report notes that In Europe, 58% of countries violated collective bargaining rights, and three quarters of countries violated the right to strike. Italy is one of the countries mentioned in which there is an increase of workers exposed to physical violence and threats. Kazakhstan and Turkey are among the ten worst countries for workers’ rights in 2018. Macedonia and Spain saw a worsening of their rankings with a rise in attacks on workers’ rights in law and practice.
The Global Rights Index reports on annual survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights. It ranks 142 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected in law and in practice. The report rates countries from one to five according to these indicators, with an overall score placing countries in rankings of one to five.
1 Sporadic violations of rights: 13 countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden. The other country is Uruguay.
2 Repeated violations of rights: 23 countries including Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Portugal, Switzerland
3 Regular violations of rights: 26 countries including Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, United Kingdom.
4 Systematic violations of rights: 38 countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia
5 No guarantee of rights: 32 countries including Belarus, Greece, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine.
5+ No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law: 10 countries including Palestine.
Other key findings include that 87% of countries have violated the right to strike and 81% of countries deny some or all workers collective bargaining. And one of the most sad findings is that trade unionists are killed for standing up for workers, last year in nine countries - Brazil, China, Colombia, Guatemala, Guinea, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria and Tanzania. Enslaving workers still occurs in the Gulf States and conflict in several places led to the breakdown of the political and judicial systems