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LABOUR: Colombia Still Undisputed Leader in Trade Unionist Murders

Colombia has long been the world leader in murders of trade unionists – a dubious distinction that it seems in no danger of losing, according to a new report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

RIGHTS-COLOMBIA: Trafficking Victims’ Ordeal Never Over

A mixture of rage, impotence and terror is evident behind the sadness in María’s* eyes. It’s been five months since she escaped from her captors in the United States, where she was taken under a false job contract, and she still can’t shake off her fear.

URUGUAY: ‘Just Like a Daughter’ – Until You Exert Your Rights

"If you protest or stand up for your rights, they start playing little psychological games with you. You immediately go from being the darling of the household, ‘just like a daughter,’ to being treated rudely, and sometimes they even accuse you of stealing."

CHILE: Goodbye to the Gender Wage Gap?

Gabriela, 32, is delighted with Chile’s new law establishing equal wages for men and women doing the same work. But the discrimination she has experienced in the workplace makes her wary of premature optimism.

VENEZUELA: Shootings of Unionists Continue Unabated

Two shots to the head, fired from a van, put a sudden end to the life of Argenis Vásquez, the organising secretary of the Toyota assembly plant workers' union in the city of Cumaná, 400 kilometres east of the Venezuelan capital, as he was leaving his home at 09:00 local time.

Artisans at work. Credit: Maritza Asencios/IPS

PERU: Microbusiness Helps Women Weather Crisis

Microenterprise is an escape valve for social tension at times of crisis, and microbusinesses do a better job of weathering the storm than bigger companies because they are used to overcoming difficulties – a positive effect that is further multiplied when it involves women.

RIGHTS-COSTA RICA: Persons for Sale

Global trafficking of persons continues apace and Costa Rica is not exempt from sexual exploitation and forced labour. Data compiled by the United Nations indicate that women and girls are most affected by human trafficking, making up 80 percent of victims worldwide.

Protest by domestic workers in Costa Rica Credit: Daniel Zueras/IPS

MAY DAY-COSTA RICA: Domestics Fight for Eight-Hour Day

Domestic employees in Costa Rica have run out of patience. After 17 years of fighting, they are threatening to report the state to international bodies if their slave-like working hours are not cut back.

BRAZIL: “Employment Crisis Is Over” – Labour Minister

The effects of the economic recession on employment in Brazil have already been overcome, Labour and Employment Minister Carlos Lupi said, citing statistics that show more hirings than firings since February.

Alicia Muñoz, president of ANAMURI.  Credit: Courtesy of ANAMURI.

CHILE: Agricultural Boom Passes Women Farmers By

Although agricultural exports are among the most productive and steadily growing sectors in Chile, rural women continue to face precarious jobs, low wages, little access to land and the growing dominance of agribusiness.

Teenage girls preparing for a job. Credit: Courtesy of Hogar Santa Librada.

PARAGUAY: The Lot of Domestics – Unceasing Work that Goes Unnoticed

Olga is 39 and María is just 14, but both of them are looking for the same thing while they stay at a centre run by missionary sisters in the Paraguayan capital: a position as a live-in domestic.

LATIN AMERICA: Movement for Basic Income for All

The global financial crisis could present an opportunity to move towards the creation of a universal basic income for all citizens, say advocates of the system in Latin America.

ICELAND: Shake-Up At the Top Improves Gender Equality

Iceland’s new Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir is determined to reverse the country’s disastrous economic slide and bring its banks on track after they crashed last year. She has appointed a woman, Anne Sibert, to the Central Bank of Iceland’s Monetary Policy Committee.

LABOUR-MEXICO: “They First Asked if I Was Pregnant”

When Paulina was interviewed for a job at a local Wal-Mart in the Mexican capital, the first thing she was asked was whether she was pregnant – a question she did not know at the time was illegal.

INDIA: Meltdown Hits Textile Industry

While the Indian economy has been relatively insulated from the international financial crisis, one particular sector that has been badly hit by the ongoing worldwide recession is the textiles and garments manufacturing industry.

CENTRAL AMERICA: Trade Unionists Face Deadly Dangers

Central America has become the world's most dangerous region for trade unionists, due to the increase in threats, torture, disappearances and murders, says a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Children play at the Harbel marketplace. Credit: Arwen Kidd/IPS

RIGHTS-LIBERIA: ‘We Will Use Our Children as Shields’

"We are not just going to let a bulldozer come in and demolish our land. If possible we will use our children as shields. We will have to do that," exclaims Eric Lavella, a middle-aged Firestone factory worker living in the heart of Liberia’s largest rubber plantation, 60 kilometres south of the capital Monrovia.

CHILE: Salmon Industry Workers Demand Subsidies

Workers in Chile’s salmon industry are demanding that the national government grant assistance to thousands of the sector’s workers who have been laid off due to the sanitary crisis affecting the sector. With the aim of pressuring socialist President Michelle Bachelet, the workers have announced that they will soon begin a hunger strike.

Rosa Bahamonde and Sonia Sagredo.  Credit: Daniela Estrada/IPS

CHILE: Women Trade Unionists Find their Own Voices

"When you have a social role, you become aware that you have a right to freedom of thought, that you can question the way things are," 44-year-old Chilean trade unionist Sonia Sagredo, who represents seasonal agricultural workers, told IPS.

LABOUR-ARGENTINA: Major Blow to Union Monopoly

A Supreme Court ruling has thrown a spanner in the works of the monopolistic model of union representation in Argentina that has prevailed for over 60 years, by upholding the right of a workers' union that lacks legal recognition to elect its own delegates.

EL SALVADOR: Young People Get Summit, But No Convention

On the eve of the 18th Ibero-American Summit in the capital of El Salvador, President Antonio Saca still refuses to sign the bloc's Convention protecting young people's rights, even though the main theme of the meeting is youth and development.

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