By Harry Kelber | The World of Labor | July 14, 2012

A British MP, Glenis Willmott, is demanding a clearer commitment from European employers on the issue of blacklisting of workers. She has given a cautious welcome to a confirmation from the European Commission that, as part of the its upcoming review of health and safety legislation, it will ensure that EU law is being followed, and that workers are not being put at a disadvantage by employers.

Willmott, who is Labor’s leader in Europe, has called for a positive statement that the Commission will specifically address the issue of blacklisting, which she says still exists, citing admissions by a EU Commissioner.

Employers around the world, especially in the United States, have denied employment to trade union leaders, especially during an organizing campaign. Blacklisting is illegal, but employers have used it because it can be very disruptive to labor unions.

Portugal Healthcare Strike to Affect 400,000 Appointments

As many as 400,000 medical appointments and 4,500 operations could be cancelled in Portugal over the next two days, warned the Portuguese health ministry after thousands of doctors and nurses went on strike last week to protest against cuts in the health budget.

The strike, which will last for 48 hours, came after the government announced 800 million Euros ($995 million U.S. dollars) had been cut from the health budget earlier this year, as part of a multi-billion euro bailout deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund

The cuts would restrict healthcare access to the poor, claimed medical unions, especially with increased prices of medical prescriptions and services, which could result in the shutdown of clinics and medical facilities.

500,000 Immigrants in Italy are hit by the financial crisis

Immigrant workers in Italy have received a double blow because of the financial crisis. There are at least 500,000 job losses; but the immigrants have not only lost their jobs, but even their right to live in the country.

The economic crisis is expanding the growth of the informal economy and unreported work. According to the Italian trade union CGIL, at least 500,000 migrant workers have been laid off in recent months. And when the job disappears, the migrant workers also lose their residence permits. As a consequence, many of them are forced into the arms of organized crime, says a CGIL representative.

CGIL says that urgent action is needed by Parliament to stabilize the situation, to encourage legal rights for migrants who work illegally. "We can no longer continue to look at immigration as a phenomenon of emergency, said Vera Lamonica of CGIL. "Immigration is a structural phenomenon and a resource of our country, given the work immigrants do and their contributions to the financing of our welfare system."

Spanish Workers Block Roads and Rails to Protest Austerity Cuts

Spanish workers blocked streets and railways in Madrid on measures they said hurt ordinary people July 13 in protests against new austerity measures they said hurt ordinary people more than the bankers and politicians they blame for the economic crisis.

As the Spanish government approved the deepest cuts in 30 years, including a second round of wage cuts and reduced benefits for civil servants, Spain’s main unions called on public workers to strike in September. The date of the strike will be announced at a later time, the union said.

Traffic was blocked in central Madrid for hours as hundreds of public workers, many wearing black T-shirts, in support of striking miners or green ones for public school teachers, shouted "Cuts for bankers, not workers" outside ministries and public offices.

UW Sues Adidas seeks Compensation for Indonesian Workers

The thorny, long-standing dispute between UW (University of Wisconsin in Indonesia) and Adidas over the apparel giant’s labor practices in Indonesia landed in Dana County Circuit Court on July 13. The university alleged in a lawsuit that Adidas, which outfits UW Madison athletes and coaches, must pay Indonesian workers up to nearly $2 million still owed for back wages and benefits to honor a code of conduct provision

"The Board of Regents asserts that the contract obligates Adidas to pay the legally-mandated benefits owed the PT Kizone workers," the suit says, referring to the factory whose workers once made Adidas gear.
The company defended itself in a statement that spoke of ongoing discussions with the university that said: "We are confident that the legal review will support our position."

Under the labor codes that are part of the contract, Adidas is required to honor all laws of countries where it does business. The factory is alleged to have violated a 2003 labor law in Indonesia that listed wages, severance and death benefits as legally – mandated benefits.

As part of its work to economically empower Pakistan’s female home-based workers, U.N. Women is helping them move into formal employment. Its programs raise the women’s awareness of their rights to, for example, healthy, safe and improved working conditions such as free transport, separate resting areas

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