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ILGA Panel at the 61rst UNCHR

in SWITZERLAND, 12/05/2005

Make sure the Unions understand ....

It does not surprise me that you get to these good practices through a work of years, and our good unions have done quite a bit of work.

But I want to mention the issue of women’s rights in general: for those of us who come from the feminist movement, certainly to make sure the Unions understand the gender dimension, and they are not there yet, and there is a lot of work to be done.

I’m also thinking about the issue of migrant workers, I must say that Durban was a milestone for ICFTU, and it was when we started to do serious work on antidiscrimination and fight against xenophobia, racism and all the other forms of discrimination. It was when ICFTU really started to do work besides the nice statements that we can do every once in a while.

Once again, I want to give credit to Teresa Ramos, because we really did quite a bit of work together against a lot of odds, and when we started to do work on migrant workers, the position of many Unions was, and still is quite complicated.
Don’t think that it’s given that the unions will start working on migrant workers issues. So, I don’t want to say that everybody will appreciate this kind of work. But I want to say this is the time to be recognized, to knock on the door, because the ICFTU can help. The position of the ICFTU is not something we can impose to the affiliates, but with the ICFTU coming with such a clear wording, I think it should be able to help on what happens at the national level.

I absolutely agree on the different ideas of what we will be doing with NGOS, Unions, political parties and so on, it is extremely important to have these best practices on collective bargaining, sexual discrimination and sexual orientation.

We need to give something practical to the Unions, sometimes they agree in general terms, but they say “how can I change this?”

Today, the president of ICFTU is Sharon Barrow, who is also the president of the Australian Unions, she will certainly be giving a big push to this.

There is an absolute commitment from the leadership of ICFTU to working on these issues, and this is a novelty. I don’t know where we will go, but this is a difference from the past and we’ll be ready to work together.

Anna Biondi
ICFTU


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