THE WORLD OF LABOR — November 6, 2011

By Harry Kelber

ILO Warns That World Economy Is on Verge of a New Jobs Recession

The world economy is in danger of falling into a new and deeper jobs recession that may ignite social unrest, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has warned. It will take at least five years for employment in advanced countries to return to pre-crisis levels, the ILO said.

The ILO also noted that in 45 of the 118 countries it examined, the risk of social unrest was rising. Separately, the OECD research body said that G-20 leaders meeting in Cannes this week need to take “bold decisions.” The rescue plan announced by European Union (EU) leaders on Oct. 26 had been an important first step, but the measures must be implemented promptly and forcefully.

The OECD’s message to world leaders came as it predicted a sharp slowdown in growth in the eurozone and warned that some countries in the 17-nation bloc were likely to face a negative growth.

Tunisian Women Rally to Defend Rights Against Islamists

Tuniisia’s secularist women are mobilizing to defend their western lifestyle after the Islamist Ennhada party swept the country’s first free election and claimed almost all the seas won by women in the new assembly.

Groups of women are now lobbying the political parties to protect a pioneering 1956 law granting them full equality with men, and to counter growing pressure from radical Moslems, keen to push them back into traditional roles.

About 500 women responded to calls on Facebook to protest in the capital’s government quarter on Nov. 3 and were granted a short meeting with interim prime minister, Ben Beji Caid Essebsi, to present their demands. Tunisian women are among the most liberated in the Arab world.

Ecuador Arbitrarily Dismisses Thousands of Public Employees

On Oct. 28, Ecuador’s Finance Minister for Labor Relations decided to dismiss at least 3,029 public servants, mainly in the health and public administration sectors, but with compensation. Many of those dismissed are members of PSI’s affiliated professional association.

In many cases, these dismissals were accompanied by the use of physical violence and intimidation through a joint operation between the Security Forces and the Ministry of Labor employees to justify the mass dismissals, calling them “corrupt and inept.”

PSI is calling on the government of Ecuador to refrain from issuing further dismissal notices under the guise of “compulsory resignations and to immediately reinstate all the public employees that have been dismissed.

Verizon and 29 Other Big Corporations Paid No Taxes Since 2007

For the past three years, Verizon, one of America’s widely used Internet wireless companies, did not pay income taxes for the years from 2008 through 2010. At least 29 other companies with brand names also enjoyed a tax-free status from the U.S. Treasury Department. They include Boeing, International Honeywell, DuPont, Mattei and Wells Fargo, (which also received billions in the bank bailout,)

Examining 280 companies listed on the Fortune 500, the authors of the report found 70—25 Percent of the sample—paid effective federal tax rates on their U.S. profits of less than 10 percent (Nearly as many companies paid their full tax rate of 35 percent.)

What makes Verizon a special case is that it is refusing to negotiate with its striking employees unless it gets many costly concessions from the workers’ union. While Verizon is tight-fisted on wages and benefits, it is very generous with its CEO, whom it paid 18.1 million in compensation. last year.

World Cup Tournament Doesn’t Boost Full-Time Jobs in New Zealand

The Rugby World Cup was a damp squib for workers, economists say, with little in the way of extra jobs from the tournament — and unemployment got worse in Canterbury in the past three months as the impact of the big earthquakes in February continued to roil through the hotel and shop centers in the central city, rising to 6.6 percent.

Statistics NZ figures show that 257,000 people were employed in the Wellington region, down by 7,000 from the June quarter, which may be a sign of government belt-tightening policies. Nevertheless, they are far lower than jobless rates in developed Western countries.

First Union, a merger of Finsec and the former distribution workers’ union, said the economic slowdown had caused job losses in the wood and textile industries, There had been 2,000 people in a queue applying for some 200 to 300 jobs at supermarkets.

U.S. Steel Workers Ask Corruption Probe of American Firm in Indonesia

The United Steelworkers (USW) requested on Nov. 5 that the U.S. Department of Justice immediately begin to investigate whether Freeport-McMoRan has been bribing security forces in Indonesia. The Indonesian police have been recently quoted in the local media, acknowledging that they accepted millions of dollars from Freeport-McMoRan’s Indonesian subsidiary, PT Freeport, to provide security for the miner’s operations in Papua, Indonesia.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bans companies from paying foreign officials to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her official duty. Police personnel providing security for the company’s operations in Papua have recently played a highly controversial role in a strike by some 10,000 miners. This includes firing on strikers during a demonstration on Oct. 10, killing two and injuring eight others.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper And Gold, Inc. is a mining company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, that operates in a number of countries. USW represents some 260 workers at Freeport-McMoRan’s Chino mine in New Mexico.

Rescue Team Saves Chinese Miners Trapped in a Mine Explosion

Forty-five grimy and exhausted Chinese coal miners trapped in a cave-in, were rescued Nov. 6, ending a 36-hour ordeal in the world’s most dangerous country for the industry. Eight miners were killed in the accident and one was still missing.

The rescue was the biggest in the country since April 2010, when 115 miners were pulled out alive after being trapped for eight days in a mine in northern China. Luo Lin, head of the State Administration for Work Safety, praised the rescue after the last miners was rushed away. in an ambulance. He said that more work needed to be done to promote safety.

The fact that the accident was in one of China’s big state-run mines may have improved the trapped miner’s odds of surviving Those mines tend to have better security equipment and safety practices than smaller mines.

To keep informed about workers and their unions in foreign countries, read our weekly column, “The World of Labor,”which we post here every weekend and on our two web sites: and