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4 Trade Unions ZAHOOR AWAN ALL PAKISTAN FEDERATION OF LABOUR, PAKISTAN Mr. Awan, general secretary of the All Pakistan Federation of Labour (APFOL) the APFOL represents nearly 400 unions in Pakistan empha- sized the responsibility of governments to oversee the implementation of labor standards and to provide the legal framework and institutional mecha- nisms to promote and enforce compliance. It is the employers' responsibil- ity tO adhere to national laws, codes of conduct, and the terms of collective agreements. The third stakeholder is the trade union, and "there is a need for Ethel promotion and creation of strong, viable, transparent, and respon- sible unionism." The APFOL has accepted this responsibility, in part, by rarely resorting to industrial action to protect the interests of workers. A1- though nearly 300 collective agreements are negotiated every two years, Mr. Awan said, there have been only three strikes in the past 10 years, and none have lasted more than five days. Mr. Awan discussed the general aims of the APFOL and the challenges the federation has encountered in its efforts to fight for a living wage and improved working conditions. He described the role of multinational cor- porations in lowering standards as developing nations compete for the in- vestment with inducements of cheap, nonunionized labor as well as tax and 34
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TRADE UNIONS . 35 other incentives. Mr. Awan concluded that a "national and international rethinking is therefore necessary to determine the extent to which workers in the developing nations have to sacrifice the basic rights, rights of union- ism and collective bargaining, for transient economic gains." LAYMAN BAHADUR BASNET NEPAL TRADE UNION CONGRESS, NEW Mr. Basnet, president of the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC), explained why core Conventions need to be implemented, rather than merely ratified. "The basic reason is this: With this globalized trade in search of cheap labor and in search of easy production, the multinationals will be compromising labor standards." He added that in Nepal the minimum wage is 2,1 16 rupees per month the equivalent of $28 which is "in no way sufficient for one month's sustainable living." In order to address these issues, he said, the NTUC was seeking to work with the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (represented at the forum by Mr. Shrestha; see Chapter 5) to promote compliance with basic mini- mum standards. The NTUC has also been discussing the possibility of forming a single confederation with another trade union, so that the two largest unions in Nepal can negotiate from "one point of view" on important issues, such as the procedures for hiring and firing workers and the need to replace child laborers with adult workers so that school enrollment can improve over the current level of 35 percent. As for the other 65 percent of Nepal's children, he said, "they are either working in the informal sector, they are working in small kiosks, transportation, and mines, or running away to India for off- hand jobs Fand] being sold in Bombay brothels every year." Mr. Basnet concluded by saying that addressing violations of labor rights is not only a question of morality or social responsibility, it "is good for business also. The employers are going to benefit if business expands, and the economy expands." As evidence of this, he pointed out that nearly 100 motorcycle shops have opened in Kathmandu alone in the last three years. "Who is buying?" he asked. "The workers are buying because the unions have been able to negotiate better conditions with the employers and a better mortgage system so that all the workers in the companies have been able to buy motorcycles."
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36 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES SIMON BOSHIEIM—CONGRESS OF SOUTH AFRICAN TRADE UNIONS, SOUTH AFRICA Mr. Boshielo discussed labor relations in southern Africa within the historical context of anti-colonial struggles that involved interplay between trade unions and independence movements. Following the political reconfigurations of independence, some unions have continued to main- tain strong links or are officially afFlliated through resolutions to libera- tion movements and are now part of the political structure. The problem that this creates, he said, is that union movements can be bound by the political decisions taken by ruling parties. "Democracy," Mr. Boshielo said, "did not automatically translate into workplace democracy in the southern African region." There has been a "glaring absence of democratic values" in many countries, most notably in Swaziland (discussed by Jan Sithole in this chapter). In the case of Zimba- bwe, the relationship between the union movement and the ruling party has deteriorated significantly. President Mugabe's regime has established a parallel trade union organization that undermines independent unionism in the country, and a number of trade union members have been forced into exile. Members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have re- ported that they are placed under surveillance and cannot attend confer- ences such as this regional forum without being accompanied by officers of the Central Intelligence Office who "monitor the nature of their input," Mr. Boshielo said. As for enforcement, given the lack of resources for government inspec- tion, Mr. Boshielo said that a strong union movement is required to inter- vene in cases where working conditions are unsafe or exploitative. Citing several recent explosions that have taken the lives of workers locked in factories, Mr. Boshielo said that the lack of unions in the most vulnerable sectors has made it more difficult to intervene in time when safety and health risks arise. Additionally, in some countries, conflicts have devastated civil society, although the possibility of peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola "may offer hopes of building an independent · ,, union movement. Mr. Boshielo addressed the issue of linking trade and workers' rights, stating that investments in promoting trade should not be made at the expense of fair labor standards, as seen in the Free Trade Zones that do not allow workers to unionize.
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TRADE UNIONS ANTONIO GANDRAY CENTER FOR LABOR STUDIES AND SUPPORT, En SALVADOR 37 Mr. Candray's presentation examined the "huge gap between statistical data and the labor reality that the new economic order imposes." In E1 Salvador, he said, labor market data are dispersed among many state insti- tutions, with no single source providing centralized, accurate information. Additionally, the information that is gathered is not always relevant for assessments of compliance. According to Mr. Candray, "They provide glo- bal figures, but they do not make it possible to assess what aspects of the labor standards are not being complied with." He discussed the specific limitations of collecting data about compli- ance with the core standards. In terms of forced labor, he said, labor statis- tics do not show the increases in overtime that are being imposed on work- ers in the maquila sector, often under the threat of dismissal. The Inernational Labour Organization (ILO) definition of forced labor is "all work or service which is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.''] Mr. Candray asked, "What penalty is worse than losing your job if you do not work overtime?"2 Mr. Candray discussed the lack of information on discriminatory prac- tices. In particular, he cited discrimination against job applicants with union ties or aspirations—employment applications often ask questions about past union membership or the intentions of a potential employee to join a union. Along with the blacklists (discussed in this chapter by Mr. Gomez), these practices serve as a mechanism to discriminate on the basis of affilia- tion, but there are no statistics available on the subject. Discrimination based on religion, which Mr. Candray described as "very common," has been seen in classified ads requesting applicants only from certain denomi- nations, but it also has not received attention from the Ministry of Labor, nor has it been captured in data instruments. Where statistics are collected, Mr. Candray said, they often do not address the issues that are critical to assessing compliance. For example, iForced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), Article 2(1). 2It should be noted, however, that the ILO has made a distinction between prohibited forced labor and compulsory overtime. See, e.g., CEACR General Report of 1998, par. 107 ("The Committee considers the imposition of overtime does not affect the application of the Convention so long as it is within the limits permitted by the national legislation or collec- tive agreements").
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38 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES data on the number of unions and their membership totals do not fully demonstrate whether freedom of association is respected in practice. He added that additional information should be gathered and disseminated, such as the success rate of efforts to form new unions and the reasons for any rejections on the part of the government. Mr. Candray has attempted to conduct a study of this issue with labor law students in E1 Salvador, but they were told by the ministry that "this information is confidential and that under no circumstances would they be told the reasons why unions were not being authorized." Mr. Can~lray said that statistics are also insufficient to examine other aspects of industrial relations, such as collective bargaining and strikes. While there may be data on the number of contracts or the incidence of strikes, there is no information on the content of contractual clauses or the reasons for the strike. Mr. Candray gave an example of one contract that has been registered with the Ministry of Labor that sloes not even guaran- tee the minimum salary to employees. Because the terms of the contract are illegal, they should be null and void, but workers do not always have the appropriate legal knowledge to protect themselves from these viola- tions, he said. In conclusion, Mr. Candray emphasized the need to improve the reli- ability and relevance of labor market data to match today's realities. He said this would require additional attention to qualitative aspects of labor infor- mation and incorporation of more primary sources, such as workers, unions, and nongovernmental organizations. He added that statistics need to be centralized, which might facilitate the critical objectives of improving transparency and dissemination. TERESA CASERTANO~OLIDARIrY CENTER, COSTA RICA Ms. Casertano described the methodology used by the Solidarity Cen- ter and its parent organization, the AFL-CIO (American Federation of La- bor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), to measure application of labor standards in Central America. She said that the AFL-CIO and the Solidarity Center have specific experience in analyzing compliance with the labor provisions in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Among the criteria to be used for determining eligibility in these programs is the "extent to which the country provides internationally recognized worker rights" or, in the case ofthe GSP, whether the country is "taking steps to adorn" those rights. She noted that the rights
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TRADE UNIONS 39 in question differ somewhat in U.S. trade law from the fundamental rights of the ILO Declaration.3 Ms. Casertano said that in the last 15 years, the AFL-CIO (which launched the Solidarity Center in 1997) has presented several petitions "requesting that trade benefits for certain countries be revoked due to vio- lations of the labor standards included in the EGSP] program." In the preparation of these petitions, several issues had to be taken into consider- ation. First, Ms. Casertano said, problems of noncompliance "have to be generalized and systematic Land] not just a mistake or a bad employer." Second, institutional deficiencies or inability to protect guaranteed rights must be considered, "emphasizing the exercise of rights in practice." Third, measuring compliance includes a study of employer behavior when work- ers attempt to exercise their rights. And last, compliance is gauged by ex- amining institutional responses when workers file grievances or otherwise allege violations. In conducting compliance assessments, the Solidarity Center's meth- odology incorporates various types of information, including quantitative statistical information as well as case studies and judicial analysis. Ms. Casertano gave several examples of the quantitative information that may be relevant in an assessment, such as statistics on case resolution, union afElliation, collective agreements, and use of complaint procedures, such as that of the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA). She noted, however, that statistics such as those relating to complaint-driven processes do not always give a complete picture because the motivation or ability to file a complaint can vary widely. "There may be a country in which the union movement makes it a priority to file complaints before this CFA and has the capacity to do so, while there may be another country where more or worse violations occur, but the union movement does not adopt the strategy of filing complaints before the ILO as a priority or does not have the capacity." Measuring compliance through case studies, Ms. Casertano said, re- quires assessors to work directly with workers and their organizations, as- 3U.S. trade law overlaps with the Declaration in induding freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, and the elimination of child labor and forced labor, but it does not include discrimination. Additionally, the U.S. definition of"internationally recognized worker rights" includes "acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health."
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40 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES sembling testimony and documentation in an atmosphere of trust and safe cy. Because credibility is often an issue, Ms. Casertano said, the Solidar- ity Center has tried to work with unions "to train them to reflect the facts of the cases, without exaggerations, without multiple interpretations, with- out qualifying the facts because, in general, the facts are enough to deter- mine if there was compliance or not." Each assessment, she said, contains a judicial analysis, which seeks to identify "bottlenecks or legal obstacles for the exercise of rights." While the Solidarity Center has only studied labor legislation of one regional country in depth, case studies have helped highlight particular problems in legisla- tion or judicial procedures. Ms. Casertano concluded by reiterating that the measurement of compliance is a subjective task that cannot depend on any one particular methodology. She also stressed that assessments should seek to identifir the causes of noncompliance in order to determine correc- tlve measures: If we do not identify the causes, we can determine that two very different countries are not complying. There might be a country where the resources to protect workers' rights granted to the institutions in charge of protecting workers are very low; they are insufficient, but the country does what it can in good faith, but they have some degree of noncompliance. On the other hand, there might be another country with the same degree of noncompli- ance, but due to an apparatus of corruption that is deeply rooted. ERNESTO G(5MEZ:CENTER FOR LABOR STUDIES AND SUPPORT, Et SALVADOR Although labor administrations will always play a key role in the devel- opment of indicators to measure compliance with labor standards, Mr. Gomez said, it is necessary to encourage the full participation of workers' and employers' organizations. This will require a greater emphasis on col- lecting labor market data and more transparency. "It is worth mentioning that, traditionally, our ministries of labor have not been diligent enough on the issue of preparation and updating labor statistics because, in general, the figures are manipulated to hide the serious deterioration of the labor conditions and unemployment in our countries." As for freedom of association, Mr. Gomez said, "As production ways and processes evolve, employers implement newer, more sophisticated and more complex ways of violating this right." It is no longer possible, he said, to determine compliance by noting the existence of a number of unions in
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TRADE UNIONS 41 E1 Salvador. This approach may be useful "when the government and the employers need to prove before international forums that freedom of asso- ciation is fillly effective in our country," but it does not give an accurate picture of compliance on the ground. Mr. Gomez gave an example of one of the methods that employers have been using to discourage freedom of association in the maquiladioras, the preparation and distribution of blacklists. These lists, which contain the names of union leaders or people who have participated in unions or union activity in the past, are circulated to prevent these people from be- ing hired. "In this way, employers prevent unions from having a stronger presence and exerting pressure for better and fairer working conditions." Because of the existence of these "subtle and hidden" ways of violating the rights of association, Mr. Gomez said, case studies are more effective than administrative records, "which sometimes have fake files of union organi- zations that exist only on paper." The case study approach, he concludecl, "gives us the opportunity to identify a series of variables that are found in the employer-worker relationship. When these variables are cross- referenced, a clearer picture of the current state of affairs regarding labor ,, rig ltS appears. JEFF HERMANSON~OLIDARI1Y CENTER, MEXICO Mr. Hermanson opened his presentation with a blunt assessment: We talked about the fundamental rights of freedom of association and aff~lia- tion to a union, when we know that less than 10 percent of the labor force in the Americas belongs to a union. We talk about the right to collective bar- gaining when, in more than 4,000 maquila factories in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, there are less than 10 collective contracts total. We talk about the prohibition on forced labor and child labor when we know that millions of children are working and that maquila workers are locked up in their factories until they finish their work. We talk about nondiscrimina- tion when we know that women are required to have a pregnancy test before fthey are hired] in the maquiladoras. We must see reality as it iS and, if we see it, we should all businessmen, union members, government officials, and citizens feel ashamed. All of us are responsible for this. Mr. Hermanson discussed the challenges of monitoring working con- ditions and the exercise of fundamental rights. Government labor inspec- tion and enforcement efforts too often fall short, and NGOs (nongovern- mental organizations), independent monitors, and corporate auditors do not always provide sufficiently reliable information to fill in the gaps. He
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42 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES cited several recent audits conducted in the Americas in which corporate auditors failed to discover significant violations in the Free Trade Zones- "child labor, forced labor, dismissals due to union activities, imposition of an employer's union, nonpayment of minimum wages, etc."—while later investigations by the Solidarity Center and others revealed these problems. Addressing the role of employees in monitoring working conditions, Mr. Hermanson said, "The most important source in my opinion, the only truly reliable source after all, is the testimony of the workers themselves." He noted that this testimony must be received in conditions of anonymity and security, with interviews being conducted outside of the factories by people who have established a relationship of trust with the workers. Mr. Hermanson cited the efforts of the Worker Rights Consortium as a particu- larly successful model.4 Mr. Hermanson concluded by recommending to the Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards a four-step process to monitor compliance with freedom of association and collective bargaining rights: 1. Analyze the labor laws with the assistance of legal experts to deter- mine whether the laws are compatible with the fundamental rights. 2. Review how the laws operate in practice, assessing the efficiency of their implementation. 3. Assess outcomes through statistics and studies on income, union- ization rates, and collective bargaining coverage. 4. Conduct more thorough investigations, using case studies from NGOs and talking to union labor lawyers and workers. On this last point, Mr. Hermanson said that while case studies are not enough to know whether there is "global" compliance, they are essential in order to complement the quantitative sources such as statistics. For ex- ample, he said, "If one can determine the number of collective contracts, it is also necessary to analyze the content of the contracts: Are they authentic and do they truly represent workers' interests, or are they like in Mexico— employer protection contracts to formalize situations that are against the law?" Information on the Worker Rights Consortium and itS investigative protocols can be found at www.workersrights.org.
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TRADE UNIONS LUIS LEON GENERAL INDEPENDENT WORKERS' UNION OF PANAMA, PANAMA 43 Mr. Leon focused on the issue of freedom of association in Panama. Although there are mechanisms for social dialogue in Panama with worker representation on the boards of the Social Security Administration, the National Institute of Professional Training, the Minimum Wages Com- mission, and other governmental bodies the result, Mr. Leon said, is not always a consensus agreement. For example, recent fiscal reform policies have been passed over the objection of workers, leading Mr. Leon to say, "Workers feel mocked; we do not believe in the government." However, he adcted, there is a continued commitment to cooperation as "the workers Emembers of the National Council of Organized Workers] have decided by a majority of seven to one to remain in the dialogue because this is the civilized way to solve a country's problems." Mr. Leon discussed several issues of concern relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining. These include legal restrictions on the bargaining and union rights of employees in the public sector, the bank- ing sector, and the Free Trade Area of Colon, which employs 20,000 people. Mr. Leon also noted that Panama's private-sector regulation requiring at least 40 workers in order to form a union exceeds the ILO recommenda- tion of 20. Mr. Leon concluded by presenting several statistics on child labor in Panama, citing research carried out in 2000 by the Women's Foundation. The study was conducted in several provinces and revealed the following: · 47,692 children participate in Panama's labor force; · 80 percent of working children between the ages of 10 and 14 drop out of school; and · the average monthly income of child workers is $86, less than half . · . the minimum wage. MAURICIO CASTRO MENDE~NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE EMPLOYEES, Cost RICA Mr. Mendez offered three reasons why monitoring compliance with labor standards in Costa Rica is so important:
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44 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES 1. the large gap between declarations of rights and the effective exer- cise of those rights; 2. the insufficiencies of control mechanisms, such as labor inspection and the judicial system;5 and 3. the divergence between economic policies and labor, environmen- tal, and social policies. According to Mr. Mendez, these economic policies "adopted many years ago and based on the promotion of exports, opening markets, and the attraction offoreign investment" have had a direct impact on compliance with labor standards, creating "fertile grounds for social and environmental dumping that is leading national productive units toward informality." Mr. Mendez said that a new policy that promotes "cleaner" production—ad- hering to fundamental ILO rights as well as standards relating to social security contributions is required. This policy, he said, should include a process of certifying companies, and it should be based on a reward and sanction program, offering financial incentives, such as reductions of insur- ance costs, credit from development banks, and services such as training. Mr. Mendez said that several pilot projects have been developed in Costa Rica, and "the business sector has shown a great deal of interest be- cause of the type of system we are proposing in terms of gradual certifica- tion and institutional support." This system, he said, should be ;ncorpo- rated into the regional free trade agreement and be recognized as social, labor, and environmental investments, rather than as subsidies. JAB U NGCOBO—INTERNATIONAL TEXTILE, GARMENT AND LEATHER WORKERS' FEDERATION, SOW AFRICA Mr. Ngcobo began by discussing regional trade and in particular the impact of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). As an ex- ample, he cited Lesotho, which is apparently increasing its level of trade because of AGOA but also "Eseems] to be the worst area in terms of com- plying with labor standards." In 1998 two workers were killed during a sAs one example of the inability of Costa Rican institutions to efficiently guarantee labor rights, Mr. Mendez said that "an ordinary labor trial lasts no less than two years, and usually, when violations against freedom of association, discrimination, or other complex problems are argued, trials last no less than three or four years."
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TRADE UNIONS factory protest after 2,000 employees were fired, and al 45 li, nitial attempts to use the legal system for reinstatement had little impact. As a result, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF) "discoverecl a new method of pressurizing these employers" by dealing di- rectly with the customers of the factory, informing them of the violations and referring to breaches of the customers' own codes of good practice. The ITGLWF then started an international campaign with the AFL-CIO, UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees), and others, and within six months all of the 2,000 workers were reinstated. Because of the success of that campaign, the ITGLWF has called on all the employers in the sector to negotiate with the union. While there has not been much written commitment from the employers, several negotia- tions have been concluded, and Mr. Ngcobo described the use of the cor- porate cocles as a "new weapon that one can use in achieving compliance with workers' rights." Efforts are currently underway in other countries, and the customers being targeted include those of The Gap, Adidas, and Reebok. While this approach of directly pressuring the customers has been promising, he acknowledged that there have been some problems. For ex- arnple, one customer Hudson Bay clecided to cancel its orders, causing people to lose their jobs. Mr. Ngcobo discussed one of the negative impacts of the globalized economy, as governments court factory owners by offering them tax breaks, infrastructure, and equipment. If employers have no investment in equip- ment and structures, he said, their freedom to relocate creates additional vulnerability for workers. "If Lemployers] get too much pressure, they can just walk out because the infrastructure was developed by the government." CUNNINGHAM NGCUKANA NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS, SourH AFRICA Mr. Ngcukana provided an overview of compliance issues confronting countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).6 These countries have a high level of ratification of the core Conventions, but as most presenters pointed out, application in practice is not consis- 6The SADC countries are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
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46 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES tent. Mr. Ngcukana cliscussed the region's economic, social, and political context, which must be considered in any examination of labor standards in the region. First, he said, many of these countries are "heavily indebted poor countries" that have undergone structural adjustment since the 1980s. Additionally, there is the "huge social problem" of HIV/AIDS and AIDS orphans that heightens concerns about vulnerability to child labor. Spiral, there are a number of political crises to consider, such as the conflicts in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr. Ngcukana discussed specific cases. For example, in Botswana and Angola the formation of unions is prohibited in certain sectors that fall under overly broad definitions of"essential services." Also, despite the end of one-party states in the region, there continue to be significant restric- tions on civil liberties like freedom of expression, coverer! in Convention 87; in Malawi, for example, criticizing the president can be a penal offense. In Lesotho, the right to strike is highly restrictecl, and "workers are open to victimization and attack without protection by law." In Namibia and Mauritius, he said, the relationships between unions and governments have become strained as a result of the "crushing of unions in the Economic Processing Zones." Mr. Ngcukana described several growing problems in South Africa, including the undermining of collective bargaining in the public service and the increase of child labor, particularly on farms. Last, in Zimbabwe, attacks on members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have increased as a result of its role in forming the Movement for Demo- cratic Change, which opposes the governance of President Mugabe. As noted above by Mr. Boshielo, ZCTU meetings are either banned or ren- dered ineffective by the presence of members of the Central Intelligence Office, which serves to stifle any debate. SAHRA RYKLIEF LABOUR RESEARCH SERVICE, SotrrH AFRICA Ms. Ryklief discussed the role of the Labour Research Service. LRS is a "trade union-controlled nonprofit organization" that provides empirical re- search to trade unions with the aim of improving their capacity for collec- tive bargaining. Ms. Ryklief acknowledged that South Africa places a high value on core standards, promoting social dialogue and giving considerable attention to passing national legislation that facilitates compliance. How- ever. she added. "we can never lose sight of the fact that these progressive initiatives attempt to regulate one ofthe most unequal labor markets in the
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TRADE UNIONS 47 ~ ~~ Box 4-1~ ~ ~ ;~ ~ ~ ~ I: ~ ~~ Reselected ~I~L-abor~Marltet: Figures from ~:South I~Africa:~:: ~ ~~ ~ ~:~ ~ ~1 ~: ~ ~~ : ::;: ~ :~ I::: ~~ : :~ ~:~2002' ~ :: ~ ~:~::~::~ :~ ~ ~ : ~~ ~~ ~:~ ~~:~ ~ ~~:~ ::: ~~ . i: ~ : i: ~:~ ~:~ i' ~~ ~~ ~ ~ ' ~ ~~ ~~ :: :~ ~ :- ~~ ~~ ~ ~::~:~:~ i: ~~ :: ~ ~ ~~: ~~ ~ :: ~ ~ T ~ : T ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ . ~ ~ ~ .~ <. ~ ~ ~ i:: ~ :. ~~ ~~Declina :(in real~terms3~ Off minimum wages or :~ ~ -~1~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ : ~;~:~ ~~:~ :: it: ~ i: ~:~:~ ~~ ~:~uns~kille~a,~::~se~mi-sk~il~led~;:~sk'~ll:ed:~w¢rkers::~ ~~ :: ~~ ~~ ~~ :~ :~: ~ ~:-~9.~93% :~ : ~ Aim: ~ ~~ ~~ ~ ~.~ ~ ~: :~ ~~:~ ~~ ~~: ~~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~~: ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ : ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ in:: ~ :~ ~ i: :~ i: ~~ Hi-;; ~~:~ ~ ~~:~ i:: : ~ Aim: :: ~~ ~~ :: ~ :~ :~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~ :: : :.~ ~~:~ ~ T~ ~~:~ ~ ~~ : ~~ :-: ~ :~ : Aim: : ~ ::~1~ ~ ~~. ~ Increase~;ir~ total wages/b~eneFi~of~:executives 1~ ~~ ~::~ ~~ i: :1~ : Ail: ~ ~ ~~ ~~ ~ ; in~top-earni~ng~ companies:: ~~:~ i: ~~ :~::~ ~~ :~ ~ ::~ ~ ~~ i; ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ :~ ~~ 41.~07% To: :: ~ ~ i: :: : ~ ~ : ~~ ~ ~:~ a: ~:~ : .; ~ ~~ --.:: T~ ~~ ~ ~-~ ~~ ~~ ;. ~ ~~;~:~ ~~:~ ~~ ~~ ~::~ i: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ;. . . ~ - ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I- ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ : I :::: ::~ ::: ~Number~iotyears~reg~u~ired:~-for:~nski:lJed~:: :~:~:~:~:~:~;~:~:~:::~::~:~::~ ~ l ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~ :~ ~~ ~~Q~r ~er~to;~:equa ~~:annual~-:~earni~ngs:of~to~p:~: i: ~~:~:~ Aft: Aft: ~~ ~ :~ ~ ~~:~ ~ if: :: l ~ I ~~::~ :: :~: :: : ~:~executiVes.~;:: :: ~ ~~ ~ :::: ~~ ~~ :~ :::: ~~ ~ ~ ::::: ;~ ~ ~~ my: ~:~ :~:: :~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~ 1~: :: ~~:~ ~ ~ T~ T ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 1 ~~: ~~ ~ i: id:::::: ~ :~ : ~ :: Hi: ~~:~:~:~-~:~::~ ~~ :~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~::~:~;~;::~:~::~;~ ;~:~ :~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~:~ ~~ Hi; 1 ~ ~ Hi: ::: : ~ ~ :~: I: : ~ ~::~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ If. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ : : : ~ I: 1 ~ ~ ~ :: : :: : ~ ~ :. 1 ~ ::: ~ ~ ~ : : ::: : :: : :: . : : : ~~:~:~ ~ ·:~:~:::unemp Payment: rate;:of t ~e~economl:ca Y: . ~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ :: ~~act~lYepopuiatlon:~:~:~: in: ~ Id::: ~ :~ ~ my :~ ~ ~ ;: ~ ~ ~ :~: ~ I: ~ i; ~ i; of; : ~ ~ : : :: : :: : : : ~ : : :: : ~:UnempJ~oym: B no rate of :those:~no~ longer ~ : :~ : ~ ~ I: ~ ~ Id: ~ ~ ~ ~~ reg~ster~n~g:~as: job-seekers: ~ ~~ i: ~~:~ :::~; :::: ~~ ~ ma: ~40.9% ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ : : ~~.~,~ : ~ ~ ~ --- ~~ ~ 1 : ~ :: : ~ ~ : ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ : ~~ ~ ~ i: ~ -: ~~ - -- ~ ~~ ::~ ~:~ ~ :: ~ i: ;: hi: ~ i: in: ~~ ~:~ ~~ :: Aim: ~ ~::~: ~ ~ :: :: :~ i: ~:~ Hi: i: :~SOURCES: Latiouri:Research ~SerVi£e and Statistics~;South Africa ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ i: ~ ~ ; i: ::: ~~ ~~ :~ ~:~:~:~: ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ : :~ ::~ : it: : ~ : world in terms of income and in relation to a steadily declining rate of employment." To illustrate this, Ms. Rykliefprovided a few "shock figures" (Box 4-11. Ms. Ryklief clescribed the data collected by the LRS. LR1i's Actual Wage Rates Database (AWARD) has been active since 1987, enabling LRS to provide historical information on wages and basic employment conditions dating back to the apartheid years. AWARD provides information on wages, hours of work, and non-wage benefits, such as leave and bonuses. Addi- tionally, the incorporation of inflation statistics and poverty data, such as the Household Subsistence Level and Minimum Living Level, allows LRS to produce comparative reviews. In 2001 the South African Department of Labor supported the upgrade of AWARD to expand its scope and to make it available to subscribers via the Internet by luly 2003.7 7The AWARD website can be accessed through the LRS website, http://www.lrs.org.za.
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48 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES The LRS also conducts a Directors' Fee Survey, which examines the wages of executives from the 200 top-performing companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa. The sample size of the sur- vey usually between 35 and 50 companies—varies from year to year, de- pending on how many companies cooperate. Companies are often unwill- ing to cooperate because the results of these surveys are always "highly embarrassing," Ms. Ryklief said. The LRS also performs preliminary audits of companies that are under consideration by the Community Growth Fund, a tracte union investment fund. This research measures corporate compliance with best practices across eight criteria: 1. job creation, 2. workplace training, 3. empowerment of workers in decision-making relating to their in- terests, 4. affirmative action. 5. conditions of employment (including wages), 6. occupational safety and health, 7. environmental policies, and 8. corporate governance. Each year, approximately 45 to 50 companies are audited, and Ms. Ryklief noted that cooperation has improved over the last decade. In 2002, 51 percent of the companies cooperated fully, 36 percent asked for a defer- ment of the audit for "operational reasons" or to allow for current restruc- turing, and 11 percent refused the audit. Corporate responsibility is also measured through the LRS Review of Social Benchmarks. This review is mainly quantitative and is based on in- formation provided by the companies in compliance with the Companies Act and the Employment Equity Act. First, Ms. Ryklief said, the review examines the number of blacks and women in management within the top companies. Second, workplace training and corporate social spending are measured as a percentage of the payroll; these numbers have been steadily declining over the past four years and currently stand at 1.7 percent. The final research tool discussed by Ms. Ryklief is the Audit of Cape Wine Farms. This audit includes many variables on the working and living conditions of farm workers, particularly women. The results were pub- lished in June 2003, and follow-up reports are planned for the next two years.
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TRADE UNIONS 49 In conclusion, Ms. Ryklief said that although the LRS research activi- ties "reflect a clear bias Ltoward] the needs of labor, the results are valuable to all stakeholders in the labor market." In the 1980s the LRS had a policy not to provide reports or data to employers, but that policy has changed, and the LRS is now "eager to provide our reports to all." IAN SITHOLE~ SWAZILAND FEDERATION OF TRAI)E UNIONS, SWAZILAND Mr. Sithole provided background information on the "current crisis" in Swaziland. By the time Swaziland joined the ILO in 1976, it was a "regime that had no constitution." Three years earlier, the constitution had been suspended and political opposition banned, leaving the labor move- ment as the only "voice of the people." Mr. Sithole said that even though Swaziland has ratified numerous Conventions since joining the ILO, it is "one of the worst violators of those same Conventions." In each of the last seven years, Swaziland has appeared before the Committee on the Applica- tion of Standards to "answer for gross violations" of Conventions relating to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and forced labor. The coun- try has been cited twice in "special paragraphs" of the committee for con- tinued failure to comply, and an ILO Commission of Inquiry was sent to investigate allegations of abduction, intimidation, and the killing of a 16- year-olcl girl at a peaceful demonstration called by the Swaziland Federa- tion of Trade Unions (SFTU). The Commission of Inquiry, Mr. Sithole said, confirmed the allegations against the government. For its part, the SFTU tried to respond by mobilizing workers for industrial actions. SFTU leaders, including Mr. Sithole, were arrested and given prison sentences. This generated a great deal of support from the global union movement, and a combined mission of international, national, and regional workers' organizations went to Swaziland to scrutinize the SFTU leaders' prison conditions and demand their unconditional release. There were also national strike activities, including a cross-border economic blockade from South Africa and Mozambique. These activities and others, Mr. Sithole said, are a clear exhibition of the benefits of international soli- darity in addressing grievous violations. Mr. Sithole discussed the positive effects ofthe GSP. In 2000 Swaziland nearly lost itS eligibility for trade benefits because of the government's resis- tance to enacting a labor law that had already been passed by Parliament and the Tripartite Consultation Forum. Even now that this improved labor
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50 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES legislation has been passed, Mr. Sithole said, violations continue, particu- larly in the emerging textile and garment industry. Many of the companies in this sector, he said, are "rejects" that left South Africa after the end of apartheid because they were not willing to abide by the dictates of the new labor-frien~lly South African Constitution. Other factory owners left Lesotho after the incident described by Mr. Ngcobo in which two workers were killed during a protest. "So you can see," Mr. Sithole said, "that we have a collection of the bad guys in terms of textiles and garments." Mr. Sithole described the situation of the textile sector as one in which labor standards violations are committed with impunity, as the government "bends forwards and backwards to ensure that Factory owners] are un- touchable." With that in mind, Mr. Sithole said that the continuous threat of GSP is required because it has been "the only tooth that brought about the improved labor law." In addition, he said, the current U.S. Ambassador in Swaziland is applying pressure on the government to respect the rule of law, and there have been some positive results as the government has be- come "more moderate in its attack on the people." As for specific core standards, Mr. Sithole said that forced labor is "in- stitutionalized" through the Swazi Administration Order, which allows vil- lage chiefs to order the performance of labor in the fields. Fines can be issued to those refusing to work, and a failure to pay the fine can result in . . eviction. In terms of child labor, the ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) has begun to offer some technical assistance, but Mr. Sithole said that the "situation on the ground is going to be difficult. First and foremost, the traditionalists don't see the difference between child work and child labor." Also, the high prevalence rate of HIV/ AIDS 38.6 percent of the population of one million—presents a serious problem as the number of AIDS orphans is expected to reach 150,000 in the next seven years. Mr. Sithole concluded by saying that the political, economic, and so- cial crises in Swaziland have caused investors to lose confidence and con- sider relocation. Additionally, several donors have suspended assistance in the wake of the Swazi king's stated intention of purchasing a $72-million luxury jet. This energized civil society to organize protests, and Parliament reaffirmed that the jet will not be bought. However, Mr. Sithole said, the government still stands opposed to observing the rule of law. This "unprec- erlenter1 critic" had 1~1 to the resignation en masse of the judges of the Court of Appeals and, as noted above, brought about the formation of a civil
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TRADE UNIONS 51 society coalition of business, students, the Law Society, workers, and churches. The protest actions will continue, Mr. Sithole said, "until demo- cratic changes in Swaziland are realized and are irreversible, and for this we need all the solidarity we can get, and we believe we can count on everyone in this room as an advocate for democracy." FISSEHA TEKIE~SOLIDARI1Y CENTER, SOUTH AFRICA Mr. Tekie described the history and mission of the Solidarity Center. It was started in 1997 as an international institute of the AFL-CIO with the aims of advancing and strengthening the rights of workers around the world anal fostering the development of independent unions. Currently, the Soli- darity Center has offices in 27 countries, including 5 in Africa. A new office is being opened in Durban, South Africa, to provide services to the "fastest growing unions as a result of LAG OA]." Mr. Tekie discussed several tools the Solidarity Center has used to as- sist in the enforcement of international labor standards. First, the center has used the petition mechanisms of the GSP and AGOA, which condition eligibility for trade benefits, in part, on the observance of "internationally recognized workers' rights." However, while the Bush Administration's 2001-2002 AGOA report indicates that African governments have intro- duced reforms to their political, economic, and social systems to increase the possibility of trample, unions in the region have expressed frustration at the procedures required to seek protection under the rules of AGOA. Mr. Tekie said that another valuable tool is international trade union solidarity, which increases the pressure that can be applied to global corpo- rations, as demonstrated by what happened in Lesotho (described earlier by Mr. Ngcobo) and by Mr. Sithole's experience in Swaziland. The third and perhaps most important approach, Mr. Tekie said, is to strengthen unions because there is "almost a direct relationship be- tween the strength of a union and the extent of employer compliance with international labor standards." In contrast, the fourth tool, the Codes of Conduct, has produced limited results. A related tool, initiated by the Soli- darity Center's Indonesian office, is a novel agreement with Taiwanese em- ployers, unions, and government. This agreement authorizes the Solidarity Center to monitor compliance with international labor standards by Tai- wanese companies operating in other countries. While it is too early to assess the implementation of this agreement, it has at least provided an
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52 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES opportunity to talk to the Taiwanese companies who, Mr. Tekie said, "have been very difficult to engage with trade unions." The fifth tool involves the use of workers' capital, such as pension and provident funds, to promote compliance by investing only in companies exhibiting socially responsible behavior. The AFL-CIO's Center for Work- ing Capital has been working with its South African counterpart, the Com- munity Growth Fund (discussed earlier by Ms. Rykliefl, to formulate poli- cies to realize the "immense potential" of this approach. In both the United States and South Africa, retirement assets are "huge," he said. In the United States these assets total $7 trillion. In South Africa these assets total ap- proximately $90 billion and account for 60 percent of the market capital on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Mr. Tekie concluded with one of the key themes from the Africa fo- rum: "Unless there is a massive national, regional, and international mobi- lization to combat HIV/AIDS, all the work we do in promoting workers' rights in Africa will fall by the wayside." The ILO has called the HIV/AIDS epidemic the most serious social, labor, and humanitarian challenge of our time, he said, as it is depriving the African continent of its most valuable resource. Accordingly, programs addressing HIV/AIDS issues have become the most imperative for the South African union movement. MARIO ROJAS VILCHE~LABOUR CONFEDERATION RERUM NOVARUM, COSTA RICA Mr. Vilchez said that the possibility of incorporating labor standards into a regional free trade agreement has prompted several questions and concerns within Costa Rica. "Due to the asymmetries and inequalities in several areas that exist in Central American countries, we were scared be- . cause we thought that if they wanted to standardize us, it was important to know which direction would standardization take: upward or downward?" Mr. Vilchez discussed the current state of labor standards compliance in the region, and he described the routine violations of core standards as a "devastating panorama." In rare cases when justice is served in response to these violations, he said, it is served quite slowly. For example, "Reinstating a union leader discharged or a labor complaint filed by a worker before the labor court takes, for its final resolution, an average of five years." In discussing child labor, Mr. Vilchez illustrated the interplay between various standards and the degree to which other workers' rights, such as freedom of association and fair wages, are critical to sustainable solutions.
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TRADE UNIONS 53 "Although children have rights, they can only be guaranteed when their parents have a decent, well-paying job in which they are free to affiliate themselves to a union." Mr. Vilchez conduded by saying that "creative formulas" and the en- gagement of all social partners will be required in order to promote the effective implementation of labor standards. This process, he said, will re- quire "information, formation, and assistance" and, above all, the political will of the government to respect and enforce the principles of the Conven- tions. In Costa Rica, Mr. Vilchez said, 47 percent of employee denuncia- tions are made against the state rather than private employers. "The state," he said, "as an employer in this country has become the worst violator of human rights and workers' fundamental rights. Then what moral standing does Ethe state] have to demand from private employers the respect for international standards?" KELLY ZIDANA—INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS-AFRO, KENYA While the international media often depict Africa as a "hopeless place," Mr. Zidana suggested that in the particular area of international labor stan- dards, Africa "started on a promising note." As newly independent African nations emerged in the 1960s, their constitutions included the key ele- ments of the international standards. He added that this should not come as a surprise because these issues constituted the ideals that were fought for during independence struggles. "Therefore, they were not simply academic: They were the things we aspired to achieve on this continent." While these fundamental rights were expressed in the constitutions and legislation of emerging independent states in Africa, Mr. Zidana said, this progress is tempered with the realities in practice, as there are many serious gaps in implementation that must be filled. And while principles of freedom of association have been the subject of many discussions at the forum, he said, "it is by no means the only area where we have serious problems." And in some cases, the problems are growing because of the dire economic situation. Mr. Zidana said that an analysis of the labor mar- ket in African countries must also recognize the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, "which have made things more difficult.'' This was seen recently in Senegal and Uganda, he said, where there has been legislative reform "in the name of commercial law, but in
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54 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES fact they are reforming labor law" and downgrading ministries that deal with employment and labor. Mr. Zidana said that when the Africa office of the International Con- federation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU-Afro) examines working concli- tions and compliance with international standards, the primary sources of information are the international networks of local, national, and global unions. Additionally, Mr. Zidana said, the media should also be considered a valuable resource to provide notice of potential violations. As an example, he said that while he was in South Africa for this meeting, he read in the newspaper about 11 bakery workers who barely escaped death when a fire broke out after the employer had locked them inside the premises. When problems have been iclentified, it is important to recognize that these are open political issues that attract varying degrees of attention from the media and the authorities. Mr. Ziclana offered an example from Nairobi, Kenya, where ICFTU-Afro efforts to work with street children have gone unnoticed. In contrast, he saicl, when 10,000 workers from the Economic Processing Zones took to the streets, it made international news and prompted the minister of labor to "jump up and clown to see what could be clone to deal with this problem." Mr. Zidana discussed the importance of training union members to assist in the protection of their own rights. Since 1996 the ICFTU has been conducting training for members of the national unions to assist in report- ing on labor standards compliance and noncompliance "because," he said, "it is one thing to have a violation; it is another thing to have a person recognize that a violation has taken place." Mr. Zidana concluded by discussing future steps to improve compli- ance with and enforcement of international labor standards. These indude . reforming outdated labor laws; · strengthening the institutions, such as trade unions, employer orga- nizations, and ministries of labor; · supporting subregional and regional groupings, based on the no- tion that it is "easier to convince Tanzania about changing a situation in favor of international labor standards if they see that it is happening in Kenya or Uganda," Mr. ZicLana said, "much easier in many respects than if they see it happening in South America or Southeast Asia"; and · strengthening the regulatory framework of international institu- tions, such as the ILO, to counterbalance the negative impact of the IMF and the World Bank.
Representative terms from entire chapter: