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Millions of Workers Plan May Day Celebrations

INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS

ICFTU OnLine...
061/290405

Millions of Workers Plan May Day Celebrations Worldwide

Brussels, 29 April 2005 (ICFTU OnLine): As workers around the world get ready to celebrate May Day, trade unionists in Zimbabwe and worker rights activists in Iran who are preparing May Day events face the heavy hand of government repression, as authorities try to stop public observance of the international workers' day.

On 27 April, six Zimbabwean trade unionists involved in a May Day preparatory meeting in Mutare, Zimbabwe, were arrested by the authorities, using provisions of the notorious Public Order and Security Act. A further six union representatives taking part in commemoration activities for the International Day of Mourning for Dead and Injured Workers on 28 April were arrested, prompting a strong ICFTU protest to President Robert Mugabe. ( http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991221577&Language=EN).

In Iran, two out of seven worker rights activists arrested in for taking part in May Day celebrations last year have been ordered to appear in Court on May 1st this year. ICFTU requests to the Iranian Authorities to be allowed to observe the trial have been refused (http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991221563&Language=EN).

"Workers in countries all around the world will be taking part in festivities to mark the many achievements of the trade union movement and to show the importance of workers' rights and solidarity", said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder. "But many millions of workers around the world are denied these rights, and government repression of May Day activities, in Iran, Zimbabwe and other countries, shows the lengths to which authoritarian regimes will go to stop free and democratic unions organising".

With 2005 a major year for international decisions on tackling global poverty, the global trade union movement is using May Day to call for debt relief for the poorest countries, greatly increased international aid, and justice in the world trading system, as part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), a coalition of trade union and non-government organisations. The ICFTU May Day Manifesto ( http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991221560&Language=EN) highlights this call, stressing the central importance of decent employment, trade union rights and collective bargaining in ending world poverty.

The GCAP coalition is planning a series of other major international events around the July meeting of the G8 countries in Edinburgh, the United Nations General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals in New York in September, and the World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting in December in Hong Kong.

The ICFTU represents 145 million workers in 233 affiliated organisations in 154 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a partner in Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org

ENDS

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