Union Reps Targets of Violence

October 11, 2001(PLANSPONSOR.com) - Union organizing proved to be a hazardous occupation last year, with more than two hundred union members reported slain or missing worldwide last year, more than 50% higher than 1999.

The survey by the International Confederation Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) reveals that three-quarters of the total (153) union members were killed or went missing in Colombia last year, twice the number recorded in the previous year.


The report notes that trade unionists are regularly the target of attacks not only by paramilitaries and guerillas, but also by the authorities and employers. Further, the state has not mobilized the resources needed to implement effective protection programs.

According to the report, the number of unionists killed or missing rose 50% from 1999. In addition, about 8,500 people were arrested for the union activity, 3,000 injured and 20,000 dismissed from their jobs.

On the List

Along with Colombia, the report lists the following countries as having the most disturbing union rights records:

  • Guatemala,
  • Venezuela,
  • Costa Rica,
  • China,
  • South Korea,
  • Swaziland,
  • Zimbabwe,
  • Belarus, and
  • Gulf states such as Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Although anti-union activities were more prevalent in developing countries, the report highlighted similar activities in the US, Canada and in Belgium.

The survey covered 140 nations, 27 more than in 1999.