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India ranks among 10 worst countries for working people: ITUC

Brussels [Belgium] : India is among the 10 worst countries for working people, according to the seventh edition of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index that ranks 144 countries on the degree of respect for workers' rights.

The others include Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

The Middle East and North Africa is the worst region in the world for working people for seven years running due to the ongoing insecurity and conflict in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Libya coupled with the most regressive region for workers' representation and union rights.

The ITUC report concludes that 85 per cent of countries violated the right to strike and 80 per cent of countries violated the right to collectively bargain.

The number of countries that impeded the registration of unions has increased. Three new countries -- India, Egypt and Honduras -- have entered the list of ten worst countries for workers.

The number of countries that denied or constrained freedom of speech increased from 54 in 2019 to 56 in 2020. Workers were exposed to violence in 51 countries. Workers had no or restricted access to justice in 72 per cent of countries.

At the same time, workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detention in 61 countries.

"These threats to workers, our economies and democracy were endemic in workplaces and countries before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted lives and livelihoods," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

In many countries, the existing repression of unions and the refusal of governments to respect rights and engage in social dialogue has exposed workers to illness and death and left countries unable to fight the pandemic effectively.

"As we look towards the recovery and build resilient economies, the 2020 ITUC Global Rights Index is a benchmark against which we will hold governments and employers to account," he said in a statement.

"If the findings of the Rights Index are not shocking enough, we are already seeing some countries take things further. Under the cover of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, they are advancing their anti-workers'-rights agenda. This has got to stop and be reversed," said Burrow.

The Global Rights Index exposes a breakdown in the social contract that governments and employers have with working people. "There is a trend to restrict working rights through violations of collective bargaining, withholding the right to strike and excluding workers from unions." 

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