2013 – A Year of Struggle and Victories

20.12.2013

For IndustriALL Global Union, 2013 was an eventful year of struggles and victories. In addition to the historic Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, we fought hard for a better life for workers and their families around the world.

The industrial homicide which killed 1,130 garment workers at Rana Plaza in April expedited negotiations on a legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. 

Today, more than 120 leading brands and retailers of the world have signed the ground-breaking Accord with IndustriALL and our sister organization UNI to help make the Bangladeshi garment industry safe and sustainable in a major five-year project. The participating companies have committed themselves to exhaustive inspections, finding funding for the necessary repairs of dangerous factories, and training for management and workers.

IndustriALL will continue action to reach a living wage after the 77% increase to the minimum wage in December in Bangladesh, and launch a major organizing project in cooperation with our partner organizations.

On Mexico, global solidarity was put on full display at IndustriALL’s Executive Committee in December. For the first time since he was forced into exile in 2006, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia travelled outside of Canada to participate in the meeting, receiving a standing ovation. IndustriALL will continue the campaign for democratic unions and against protection contracts in Mexico.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, IndustriALL is supporting the development and growth of free and independent unions with concrete programs and campaigns. The focus countries are Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco. In December, we again delivered our message to the Iraqi government on the need to pass new, modern trade union legislation to guarantee union rights.

An increasing number of multinational companies are engaging with IndustriALL to improve conditions of work in a constructive manner in all their operations. After the Bangladesh Accord with 120 companies and the global framework agreement with electric power giant Enel of Italy, Belgium’s chemical company Solvay lays new ground with an accord that will become a living reality for the improvement of conditions of work.

Our web site www.industriall-union.org will tell you more of our struggles and victories around the world. Issue number 2 of our journal Global Worker delves deep into a wide range of issues from a worker perspective.

But the fight continues all around the world. Trade union leaders are under arrest in Colombia, oil workers are detained in Kazakhstan, chemical workers are locked-out in the USA.  And so on.

IndustriALL Global Union will relentlessly continue its mission in 2014 to promote workers’ rights worldwide. Join the struggle!

Jyrki Raina

General Secretary