The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index, the ninth edition of the index, ranks 148 countries by their respect for worker rights. It claims to be a comprehensive review of workers’ rights in law and the only database of its kind.

When it comes to major garment-producing hubs, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Türkiye have been named as “the worst countries for working people”.

Bangladesh is alleged to have “regressive laws, obstacles to union formation and police violence” while Türkiye was named due to “repression of strikes, arrests of trade unionists and systematic union busting”.

Meanwhile, country ratings improved for El Salvador.

Latest findings of the 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index:

  • 113 countries, including Myanmar, exclude workers from their right to establish or join a trade union, up from 106 in 2021
  • 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 Egypt and Myanmar.
  • 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 Egypt, India, Myanmar and the Philippines 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.

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said: “We know that workers are on the front line of multiple and extraordinary crises: historic levels of inequality, the climate emergency, a pandemic destroying lives and livelihoods, and conflicts with devastating domestic and global impacts. The 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index exposes how this instability is being exploited with so many governments and employers attacking workers’ rights.

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“The world needs a new social contract to start to undo this damage. Fundamentally, this will put working people back at the centre of the economy.

“Where there is abusive monopoly power or violations of human and labour rights or a struggle for peace and democracy, unions of working people are there to win justice, rights and representation. And without unions, there will be no just transition in the face of climate change and technological change.

“The 2022 Index is more evidence that the status quo cannot continue. The economic model has supported a race to the bottom that disregards human rights and environmental standards. The nine years of data from the Index show that this is spreading.”

The Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporter Association and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association had not responded to Just Style’s request for comment at the time of going to press.