30% increase in trade unionists killed world-wide
The annual survey of trade union rights released last week, shows a dramatic increase in union leaders gunned done for protecting workers' rights.
The International Trade Union Confederation, reports 101 unionists were killed last year, almost half (48) in Colombia, 16 in Guatemala, 12 in Honduras, six in Mexico, six in Bangladesh, four in Brazil, three in the Dominican Republic, three in the Philippines, one in India, one in Iraq and one in Nigeria.
Of the 22 Colombian trade unionists who were killed, five were women.
"Colombia was yet again the country where standing up for fundamental rights of workers is more likely than anywhere else to mean a death sentence," said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.
The Survey provides detailed documentation of harassment, intimidation and other forms of anti-union persecution.
Many trade unionists like Mansour Osanloo in Iran remain in prison and have been joined by around hundred newly incarcerated in 2009.
Military disperse dock workers in Iraq
MEANWHILE the International Transport Workers' Federation has condemned the heavy-handed measures taken by harbour corporation managers to disperse a peaceful demonstration by Iraqi port workers.
Dockers, represented by the Port Workers' Union, based in Basra, were protesting over plans to transfer the union's leaders some 1000 kilometres away from their current workplace. The decision to transfer the unionists had been decided upon without prior consultation. During the protest, the director of the Iraqi Harbour Corporation brought in military troops who quickly formed a parameter at the scene of the demonstration, surrounding and intimidating the protestors.