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Bright Spot In International Union Rights Survey

19 June 2002

New Zealand A Bright Spot In International Union Rights Survey

“New Zealanders can feel very proud that we are once again recognised internationally as a country which respects union rights as human rights,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

New Zealand’s Employment Relations Act is one of the few bright spots in a comprehensive international survey of trade union rights published today in Brussels by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

Across the 132 countries and territories covered in the ICFTU annual report, 223 trade unionists were recorded as killed or 'disappeared' in 2001 (14 more than in the previous year) of which 201 occurred in Colombia alone.

In addition, nearly 4000 trade unionists were arrested 1000 injured and 10,000 lost their jobs due to their activities worldwide.

“The report notes that New Zealand is one of the few bright spots in the Asia Pacific, a region which it reports is characterised by virulent and sometimes violent anti-union activity,” Ross Wilson said.

“During the year in our region 371 trade unionists were injured or beaten and four were killed.

“Disrespect of international law guaranteeing union rights combined with the effects of trade liberalisation were the principal reasons for the shocking number of arrests, harassment, job losses and even violence and murder that took place in 2001.”

To view the full survey, please go to

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