UNISON takes the ‘route of shame’ in defence of workers’ rights

The union marks Human Rights Day by targeting countries that are the ‘worst abusers’ of trade union rights

To mark today’s Human Rights Day, UNISON is taking part in a ‘route of shame’ in London, visiting six embassies and high commissions whose countries have appalling records on workers’ rights.

A letter will be delivered by hand to the residing ambassador or high commissioner of Colombia, Turkey, Bahrain, South Korea, Qatar and Swaziland – countries that systematically deny rights to workers and actively seek to undermine or ban trade unions.

The letters will be presented by UNISON assistant general secretary and TUC president Liz Snape.

Head of the union’s international department Nick Crook said that the union chose today for its action “because, for us, there is no difference between human rights and labour rights.

“In fact, the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises freedom of association and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights. And yet increasingly these rights are under attack.”

He said the countries targeted were “the worst abusers” and were places where UNISON had been actively working to highlight the problems.

But he added that the action also reflected the fact that trade union rights in the UK were themselves under attack at present through the Trade Union Bill.

UNISON is urging members to show their support for the action on social media, using the hashtags #WorkersRights and #HumanRights.