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30 Aug, 2012

Burmese Trade Union Leader Cleared to Return from Exile


29 August 2012 (ITUC Press Release): The International Trades Union Congress (ITUC) has welcomed the imminent return to Burma of the leader of the country’s trade union movement, Maung Maung, following a decision by the government to remove some 2,000 people from a black-list of over 6,000 banned from entering the country. Maung Maung is General Secretary of the ITUC-affiliated Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB).

Burmese Union Leader Maung Maung returning from Exile

“We are delighted that after decades of exile, Maung Maung will be able to return to the country to lead the FTUB at this crucial stage in Burma’s history. The international trade union movement is supporting the FTUB in organising Burmese workers, and having Maung Maung inside the country with his union colleagues will help the union movement to grow and play its role to the fullest,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC sees the removal of 2,000 names from the blacklist as paving the way for all 6,165 listed democracy supporters to be allowed back into the country. The ITUC will establish an office in Burma, and together with ITUC affiliates and Global Union Federations, support the work of the FTUB.

“I look forward to the day very soon when I will be able to meet with Maung Maung inside his own country, and to talk directly with him Burmese workers about how to tackle the enormous challenges facing working men and women, and the country as a whole”, said Burrow.

ITUC Welcomes Olympics Hosts Pledge on Human Rights

30 August 2012: Unions have welcomed the joint human rights communique signed today by the governments of the four countries holding the current and next three summer and winter Olympics (the UK, Russia, Brazil and Korea.)

ITUC Welcomes Olympics Hosts Pledge on Human Rights

Unions say that the communique adds to the pressure on the International Olympics Committee to respect workers’ fundamental rights, a key demand of the Play Fair Campaign run by unions and NGOs since the 2004 Athens Olympics & Paralympics.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “By endorsing so strongly the UN Declaration of Human Rights, these four governments have committed themselves to protecting the rights of workers building the facilities, staffing the Games and making the sports equipment and memorabilia to decent wages, equal pay and safety.

“The IOC and governments in Olympic host countries are now on notice. Make the next three Games sweatshop free, healthy for all, and better than ever!”

Article 23 of the UN Declaration states that:

- (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

- (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.- (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

- (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.