Two billion people live in conflict-affected countries, with 56 state-based conflicts in the world today. International humanitarian trade union solidarity, such as the major efforts to support workers in Ukraine, Myanmar and elsewhere, is part of a broader framework of trade union efforts to build and sustain peace and to avoid conflicts and rebuild in their aftermath. The world must learn from this example. Today the Freedom Report 2022: Unions Building Peace were presented to the more than 1000 delegates at the 5th ITUC World Congress.
The 2022 ITUC Global Poll demonstrates that 62% of people want their government to do more to work with other countries to promote peace, jobs and human rights. A majority of people are again worried about the threat of nuclear war and half the world’s people would trust their government more if they committed to an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons and worked for common solutions with other governments. People want action on peace and this requires new global architecture, based on the realisation of the new social contract for all people, to tackle the root causes of armed conflict and ensure sustainability and resilience.
There are many examples of trade union action for peace, justice and democracy.
The Freedom report includes case studies from:
In Colombia, unions have been at the forefront of decades of struggle for peace and social justice.
In Northern Ireland, the trade union movement has long been a motor for peace and overcoming division and sectarianism.
In Myanmar, the unions continue their longstanding peace and democracy struggle in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances under a ruthless military dictatorship.
In Tunisia, the UGTT and others were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to build a post-dictatorship country with a new constitution. A commitment that remains just as strong as the country faces new challenges.