Saturday, August 09, 2008

Trade unions should not engage in politics - ITUC

Trade unions should not engage in politics - ITUC
By Joan Chirwa in Turin, Italy
Friday August 08, 2008 [04:00]

TRADE unions should stick to their mandate of representing workers instead of turning into political tools, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has said. In an interview yesterday, ITUC press officer for campaigns and communications Mathieu Debroux said it was unacceptable, under the confederation's rules and regulations, to allow trade unions to engage in political operations of a particular country.

Debroux said the ITUC would not hesitate to disassociate itself from trade unions that were being influenced by the governments in power.

"We have and will never allow trade unions to turn political or be used by the government because that does not fall under their mandate," Debroux said. "It is sad that some unions have become part of the government or acting as political institutions when they are not supposed to do so."

Debroux said trade unions must assist the government in the implementation of some International Labour Standards (ILS) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), ratified by individual countries.

For example, Zambia - which has been a member of the ILO since 1964 - has ratified more than 20 of the ILS, among them the Collective Bargaining and the Workers Representative conventions, which should give trade unions an impetus to negotiate adequately with the government, employment agencies and companies on workers' conditions and rights.

ITUC, which has a regional structure in Africa called the ITUC-Africa, has a historic role of trade unionism, with a mission to better the conditions of work and life of working women and men and their families, and to strive for human rights, social justice, gender equality, peace, freedom and democracy.

The Confederation calls on the workers of the world to unite in its ranks and make instruments needed to bring forth a better future for employees as well as for all humanity.

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