This trend, by governments and employers, to restrict the rights of workers through limiting collective bargaining, disrupting the right to strike, and excluding workers from unions, has been made worse by a rise in the number of countries that impede the registration of unions, according to the report. 

The Index classified the UK as a ‘regular’ violator of trade union rights.

Commenting on the newly released ITUC Global Rights Index 2020, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“The rights of teachers, workers and trade unions are under serious threat. This report only confirms what we and our sister unions have known for a long time: globally, governments are increasing their efforts to repress unions and their members. 

“Refusing to respect union rights exacerbates the risks that workers face, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is alarming to see the UK flagged as a country where trade union rights are ‘regularly’ violated. To be ranked alongside Russia, a country hardly renowned for its free speech and human rights record, should concern us all and bring shame to the UK Government. 

“We stand with teachers and workers in the 85% of countries where the right to strike was violated and with workers in the 80% of countries where the right to collectively bargain was stymied. 

“As society recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, workers' rights and respect for democracy must be front and centre of the economic recovery – both in the UK and globally. 

“This report reminds us of our continued struggle for the recognition of teachers’ rights, workers’ rights, and the significance of international solidarity. 

“We stand with all trade unions and workers whose rights and freedoms are under attack day in day out, year after year. The recognition and protection of trade union rights is a project to which the NEU are unwaveringly committed.”


Editor’s note

ITUC Global Rights Index report.