ITF takes Argentina to the ILO over interference in union

The ITF has complained to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) about the Argentine government violating ILO conventions in its interference in the affairs of the Sindicato de Obreros Maritimos Unidos (SOMU) union.

The complaint states: By placing SOMU under its control the government of Argentina is in breach of its obligations under ILO Convention 87. “This interference by the Argentine government restricts the rights of SOMU, its officials and its members to organise their administration and activities in full freedom.”
The ITF demands that the Argentine government immediately hands back control of SOMU to its elected leadership and its members.
Furthermore, the ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton has written to member of congress Ms Gladys Gonzalez, who now describes herself as the new leader of SOMU since the government takeover.
Mr Cotton said: “No intervention that violates the principles contained in ILO Convention 87 and 98, that may attempt to disrespect a union’s self determination or constitutional provisions, that may lead to seizing workers’ assets or property or that may try to deny their legitimately elected leadership, has any legal or moral validity.”
Yesterday (6 July 2016) union leaders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, Panama, Russia, Switzerland, UK and Uruguay passed an emergency resolution backing Sindicato de Obreros Maritimos Unidos, SOMU.
Ivan de la Guardia, general secretary of Unión de Capitanes y Oficiales de Cubierta (UCOC) and national coordinator of ITF affiliates in Panama, seconded the resolution: “We strongly express our support for SOMU as a sister organisation that has, for a long time, provided solidarity in Panama, Latin America and across the world. The situation must be resolved and SOMU must have its independence restored.”
Read the resolution here.
In February armed police raided SOMU offices confiscating equipment and removing elected union leaders from their offices.

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