Key measures of abuse of workers’ rights have reached record highs, according to the 2022 edition of the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) flagship Global Rights Index. This ninth edition of the Index ranks 148 countries by their respect for workers’ rights. Workers are on the front lines as they face the impact of multiple areas of crisis: historic levels of inequality, the climate emergency, the loss of lives and livelihoods from the pandemic, and the devastating impact of conflict. Workplaces are the front line in the fight for democracy. Brutal governments block collective bargaining in four out of five countries, and one third of countries violently attack workers. Trade unionists have been murdered on every continent. Where people stand up for rights and social justice they are silenced with brutal repression.
Nine-year highs have been recorded in several areas:
113 countries exclude workers from their right to establish or join a trade union, up from 106 in 2021 to 113. Workers were excluded from workplace representation in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Syria and Tunisia.
77% of countries denied workers the right to establish and join a trade union.
Authorities in 74% of countries impeded the registration of unions, up from 59%, with state repression of independent union activity in Afghanistan, Belarus, Egypt, Jordan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Sudan.
50 countries exposed workers to physical violence, up from 45 in 2021, including a rise of 35% to 43% of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and 12% to 26% in Europe.
87% of countries violated the right to strike. Strikes in Belarus, Egypt, India, Myanmar, the Philippines and Sudan were met with the arrest of union leaders or with violent repression.
Four in five countries blocked collective bargaining. This right is being eroded in the public and private sector in every region. In Tunisia, no negotiations can take place with unions without authorisation from the head of government.
The ten worst countries for working people are Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Myanmar, the Philippines and Turkey, with Eswatini and Guatemala entering the list for 2022.
Country ratings improved for El Salvador, Niger and Saudi Arabia, but worsened for Armenia, Afghanistan, Australia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Jamaica, Lesotho, the Netherlands, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Trade unionists were killed in thirteen countries, 41% of countries denied or constrained freedom of speech and assembly, workers experienced arbitrary arrests and detentions in 69 countries, and 66% of countries denied or restricted workers access to justice, including a rise from 76% to 95% of countries in Africa.
View the interactive 2022 Global Rights Index at www.globalrightsindex.org in English, French, German and Spanish.