The 2020 International Trade Union Confederation report on worker’s right’s has been published.
The report indexes violations of workers’ rights and found that they are now at a seven-year high.
“An increase in the number of countries that deny or constrain freedom of speech shows the fragility of democracies while the number of countries restricting access to justice has remained unacceptably high at last year’s levels. A new trend identified in 2020 shows a number of scandals over government surveillance of trade union leaders, in an attempt to instil fear and put pressure on independent unions and their members,” the report said.
“These threats to workers, our economies and democracy were endemic in workplaces and countries before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted lives and livelihoods. In many countries, the existing repression of unions and the refusal of governments to respect rights and engage in social dialogue has exposed workers to illness and death and left countries unable to fight the pandemic effectively,” added the report.
The report broke down their rating system in 5 categories, with the fifth being sidelined because they consist of war zone countries like Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Italy was in the first ranking, meaning there was only “sporadic violations of rights.”
Albania and Bulgaria were in the third rating of “regular violations of rights.”
North Macedonia is in the fourth rating of “systematic violations of rights.”
Greece and Turkey are in the fifth rating of “no guarantee of rights.”
The report gives no details on why Greece, Italy, Albania and Bulgaria got the ranking they did.
The report says that in the Municipality of Gazi Baba in North Macedonia and the Agency for Real Estate, engaged in negotiations with unions but refused to include representatives from the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of “Macedonia,” giving a hint why it got this rating.
According to the report, Turkey is ranked in the ten worst countries for worker rights, alongside Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.
Trade union leaders from Turkey were among high profile arrests in 2020 and that “Turkey remained one of the most hostile countries in the world for trade unionists.”
“In a climate of fear and under the constant threat of retaliation, workers struggled to unite and form unions, while employers actively deterred any attempt to do so by firing union organisers and engaging in union busting practices,” the report said.
In Turkey, trade unionists were regularly prosecuted by the authorities for their speeches, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sought to suppress critical voices, the report explained.