Violation of workers continues despite calls for tighter licencing

Despite an overall improvement of fundamental human rights in employment
across the globe, workers are still subject to detention, violence, no legal
representation and even murder, according to study by the International Labour
Office (ILO)

The report uncovered serious violations of workers’ rights that include
violence, detention and the refusal to allow free association and

However, the levels of abuse have reduced since the last survey four years
ago and the findings point to "encouraging signs of progress in assuring
fundamental rights at work", the report claims.

The 2000 survey stated that universal acceptance of the ILO’s fundamental
rights was a long way off, but the latest research notes an increasing
acceptance of its principles.

It specifically highlights a greater respect for employees to enjoy a
freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining with employers.

ILO director general Juan Somavia said this was crucial in improving working
conditions and reducing levels of poverty across the world.

"The right to organise is one of the most powerful tools we have for
promoting decent work and sustainable poverty-reducing development. This is a
fundamental right at work and a right we cannot do without," he said.

Despite events in Britain, the report shows progress in the protection of
high-risk groups such as migrant workers who are often not protected by national
employment law.

Trade unions have called for the compulsory licencing of gangmasters after
20 Chinese cockle pickers were killed at Morecambe Bay in Lancashire earlier
this year.

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