On the 17th of November the President of the USA, Joe Biden in a Presidential Memorandum took the historical step to mark the commitment for a US President to advance worker empowerment, rights and high labour standards globally.
Many thought his administration was taking aim at countries like Bangladesh and their labour issues in the garment industry, in the lead up to their General Elections on the 7th of January 2024. The announcement came amid intense worker rights protests following the declaration of Tk 12,500 as minimum wage of the garment sector, citing the case of Kalpona Akter as an example of labour rights violation and government actions contradicting labour rights principles.
But this policy announcement on labour rights, is a comprehensive stance that applies to all countries. So is it not applicable also in the UK with the anti-unionTories push for minimum service levels through its Anti-Strike Law? The memo states the US would work to hold to account those who threaten, intimidate and attack union leaders, labour rights fighters and labour organisations. This clearly opens up the path for US involvement in our domestic labour affairs like the anti-strike laws. So watch this space!
This blog was published as a letter in the Morning Star on the 15th of Dec 2024