International labour unions stand with Elizabeth Tang

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Trade unions across the world sent solidarity messages to Elizabeth Tang, General Secretary of International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), former Chief Executive of Hong Kong Confederation of a Trade Unions (HKCTU).

Elizabeth Tang was arrested by Hong Kong national security police for alleged “foreign collusion” shortly after visiting husband Lee Cheuk-yan in prison on 9 March and released on bail 2 days later on 11 March.

In its statement issued on 15 March, IDWF refute allegations against its General Secretary, Elizabeth Tang:

Not only is she the General Secretary of IDWF, she is also a leader in the global labour movement, a sister to many, and a mother of the domestic workers movement worldwide.

IDWF said in the statement

The statement also commended Elizabeth Tang’s efforts in advocating for the domestic workers worldwide, including leading the global network of domestic workers in a campaign that led to the 2011 adoption of ILO Convention 189 concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers. “a major step towards the protection and recognition of millions of domestic workers around the world, sparking a seismic shift in society towards respecting and valuing the vital contribution of these most vulnerable and ‘invisible’ workers.” IDWF said.

36 countries has ratified the ILO Convention 189 as of today. 

We stand in solidarity with Elizabeth, one of the world’s most principled and prominent women trade union leaders and activists.

IDWF on 15 March 2023

UNI Global Union, All Philippine Trade Unions Sentro Labour, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF), the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the Dutch Trade Union Federation (FNV) also issued statements to stand with Elizabeth Tang this month.

I was fortunate to work with her closely in the 2000s, and she has always put special focus on the ‘invisible’ and vulnerable workers who are left behind. Her approach has consistently been that we must lift wages and conditions for all workers, not only those in more privileged circumstances. She has earned UNI’s complete respect.

Christy Hoffman, UNI General Secretary on 6 March 2023

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