Last year 144 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers’ rights, while more than 800 suffered beatings or torture, according to a worldwide survey by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The Survey of Violations of Trade Unions Rights reveals an increase in violence against trade unionists, with the number of murders rising from 115 in 2005 to 144 in 2006.
The ITUC survey reveals that repression of trade unions is taking place in every continent across the globe, including Europe. Nearly 5,000 arrests were reported along with more than 8,000 dismissals of workers because of their trade union activities.
Colombia remains the most perilous country in the world to be a member of a trade union, with 78 killings reported in 2006.
The ITUC report also identifies worrying developments in Europe. Less than one in 10 European companies fully respect the right of unions to organise and engage in bargaining.
Many governments in Eastern Europe, including Russia, Georgia and Belarus have recently enacted labour legislation to restrict trade union rights.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “Trade unionists around the world continue to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend workers’ rights.”