European and International

Visit the TUC's International Section to find out about union campaigns worldwide


Find out about the appalling conditions that workers are forced to work under in other countries. Get involved in petitions to lobby governments to allow free trade unions, stop child labour and return occupied territories.                                         

Find out about the European Hazards Network

50,000 join march in Prague against Czech government welfare cuts

Airline workers in Oman win pay rise after union calls industrial action

Aviation workers in Turkey prepare for strike action

A list of European trade union campaigns against the cuts

Phillipes airport unions call strike over plans to outsource 2,600 jobs

Spanish airport unions call for series of strikes over spring and summer to protect jobs

Noam Chomsky talks to Jeremy Paxman about middle east protests

Award winning Professor Noam Chomsky explains in plain English why people are protesting in the middle east. A must for anyone who wants to understand why the western governments are so mistrusted in the region.

Win on health and safety for US aviation union

2nd US republican state tries to deprive public sector of collective bargaining rights

Following on from Wisconsin's attack on the rights of public sector workers, which triggered protests in all 50 US states, Ohio has also attempted similar legislation. Political commentators have indicated that these moves will have little impact on the budgets of the states concerned, but are more likely a direct attack on the unions because they are the main source of funds for the Democrat Party. The Republicans no doubt see the recession as a one off opportunity to damage their opponents' funding for decades to come.

US state attempts to deprive public sector of bargaining rights

In a move that is likely to be seen elsewhere across America and indeed the world in the very near future, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin is trying to introduce a Bill that will deprive 170,000 public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights. The move by Governor Walker is claimed to be necessary to deal with a $3.6 billion hole in the state budget, but has been unanimously opposed by Democrats.

The move has had widespead news coverage in the states, not all entirely impartial, with several of the media outlets owned by corporations with strong Republican leanings. However, the mood of the public seems to be in support of the trade unionists and this may well determine whether similar laws are introduced in Europe and the UK.

17th February 2011

International Air Safety Report

The Times has published a report on the safety performance of airlines around the world. Whilst overall there has been a general reduction in the number of passenger fatalities, there are a number of regions that have not managed to improve their safety records. In Africa, for example, passenger safety figures are worse than they were 30 years ago and 80 times higher than that of the world's 25 biggest airlines.

In brief - summary of FT report

8th February 2011

Unite attacks government over continued exploitation of Moroccans living in Gibraltar

Unite has accused the British government of continuing to deny Moroccans in Gibraltar basic human rights. The situation has been ongoing for over 40 years since General Franco closed Gibraltar's border with Spain and workers from Morocco were encouraged to carry out some of the lowest paid jobs.

Many of these migrant workers have lived in Gibralter for decades, but despite paying their taxes have been denied the opportunities to vote and essential benefits such as affordable housing.

10th January 2011

Air Greenland pilots told to accept pay cut and to work longer hours or be replaced

The HLC was contacted today by the ETF (European Transport Workers Federation) and asked to highlight the situation of pilots at Air Greenland who were given an ultmatum to accept pay cuts and work longer hours or have their contracts terminated. After a failure to reach an agreement, management indicated that they would "lock out" their own pilots. It is anticipated that Air Greenland will use "wet leased" aircraft, an expensive  technique that was used bt Willie Walsh to limited effect in the recent (and ongoing) BASSA dispute.

Greenland, though the world's largest island that is not a continent has a population of less than 60,000. Due to its location it is heavily reliant on air travel to maintain its economy, which is particulary associated with Copenhagen in Denmark (of which it is an autonomous country.)

10th January 2011

European day of action to be held on 15th December 2010

France and other European countries will be holding a day of action to protest against the cuts being made by the various European nations in response to the recession.

14th December 2010

US Senate blocks new rules that would have made it harder for unions to strike

The United States Senate has thrown out proposals that would have meant that trade unions would not be able to strike unless over 50% of members voted for industrial action rather than if 50% of the votes cast were for action, which is the current position.

Similar proposals have been made in other countries and it seems likely that this is one of the measures that the UK's new government is considering, so the HLC welcomes the US Senate deciding that workers' rights should not be reduced to pay for the mistakes of the small number of bankers taking high risks that led to the recession. We also hope that the UK and other governments will follow their lead on this issue and avoid an all out attack on trade unionism, but we remain cautious and expect to have to lobby hard to maintain our rights over the next 5 years

President Obama's administration has been under pressure from the business community to introduce a number of measures that they claim would assist the economy to recover, but probably at the expense of workers' pay and conditions. It is believed that if the Senate had not voted against these changes that President Obama would have used his right of veto to stop the stricter rules from being implemented.

24th September 2010

EU Special Interest Group on Muskular Skeletal Disorders

Due to other meetings taking place on July the 5th 2010, the ETF asked the HLC to provide a representative who was familiar with the issues in the Pack Less campaign to speak for the federation at this event. The meeting took place in the EU parliament building in Strasbourg and was arranged by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). Our representative presented a brief summary of the problems caused by overweight baggage and pointed out how the failure to limit bag weights can be discriminatory in a number of ways - by disadvantaging women, older workers and those who have existing MSDs. We also highlighted the economic costs to the employer and the state as well as the individual worker.

A summary of the ETF position, as presented to the EULAR group is attached below.


Over 1 million French protesters support general strike against rise in pension age

The BBC reports that today over one million people took part in strikes and protests against plans by the French government to raise the state pension age to 62. At present French citizens recieve a pension at 60 if they have paid the equivalent of 40.5 years of National Insurance contributions. Unite and the HLC have good links with French transport unions such as CGT who are are active in the European Transport Workers Federation. We wish them success in getting the government to get those who caused the recession to pay for it rather than ordinary people who have worked all their lives for a modest wage.

Read more
7th September 2010

Europe: Work violence and harassment up

Violence, bullying and harassment are becoming more common in European workplaces, according to a new report. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) found 'third party' violence and harassment affects from 5 per cent to 20 per cent of European workers. Its report, 'Workplace violence and harassment: a European picture',includes international statistics collected by its European Risk Observatory. Its recent pan-European workplace survey ESENER found 40 per cent of European managers are concerned by workplace violence and harassment, but only around 25 per cent have implemented procedures to deal with it. The problem is even more acute in health and social work and in education, with more than 50 per cent of managers identifying it as a health and safety problem. 'Both violence and harassment represent serious but under-reported threats to the safety and well-being of workers in Europe', said agency director Jukka Takala. 'Workplace harassment can lead to stress, long-term sick leave, and even suicide. Economic consequences are reduced productivity, increased sickness absence, higher turnover of staff and premature retirement due to disability at often early ages.'

Philippines: Union reps could be deputised

A labour group in the Philippines has urged the government to deputise union presidents and officers as labour inspectors to strengthen the enforcement of employment standards and safety rules. The call came after reports suggested a construction site where 10 construction workers died on 27 January was ignoring employment and safety rules. Judy Ann Miranda, secretary general of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM, or labour party) said: 'From 240 labour inspectors, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) now just has some 190 to cover around 800,000 establishments nationwide. This number can easily be increased several fold by deputising union officers as labour inspectors. Even if just 10 per cent of the 17,000 local union presidents are accredited, this is about 10 times the present number of inspectors.' She added: 'Aside from the responsibility of the principal employer Eton and its subcontractors to the labourers who were killed, the government must make policy changes regarding enforcement of labour standards and occupational health and safety so that the workers have not died in vain,' she said. DOLE secretary Rosalinda Baldoz responded: 'DOLE currently has a limited number of inspectors because of budget constraints. We welcome their suggestions and urge them to take the required training at DOLE so they can qualify for the position.' The 10 construction workers plunged 25 storeys to their deaths when a cable holding a platform lift snapped at a building site in Manila. The men had been installing windows on a high-rise apartment building when the platform gave way and sent them crashing from the 32nd to the 7th floor.

17th February 2011

Related Downloads

View/Download ETF presentation to EULAR ETF presentation to EULAR
View/Download ETF manual handling injuries ETF manual handling injuries