Metalworkers in Asia Pacific discuss unity and diversity

04.06.2012

Metalworkers from Asia and the Pacific countries met in Kaohsiung, TAIWAN-R.O.C to discuss the ongoing process to build stronger unity among affiliates of IMF, ICEM and ITGLWF in their respective countries before and after the creation of IndustriALL Global Union.

TAIWAN-R.O.C:  Over 80 leaders of metalworkers' unions in the Asia and the Pacific region gathered together at the 5th Asian Metalworkers' Liaison Conference (AMLC) on May 29 and 30 in Kaohsiung, to share their experiences and discuss the ongoing process to build stronger unity among affiliates of IMF, ICEM and ITGLWF in their respective countries before and after the creation of IndustriALL Global Union.

Asia and the Pacific is the world's most diverse region and the new global union to be launched on June 19, IndustriALL will need to cover 172 affiliates with 18 different basic languages. The region is facing serious labour issues such as violation of basic workers' rights by newly emerging MNCs while more than 100 free trade agreements are under implementation among countries in Asia and the Pacific without ensuring respect of core international labour standards.  To overcome divisions in the union movement and build unity to confront MNCs, it would be very important to create a common platform among affiliates in the same country and regions through alliances, mergers and creation of national and regional councils.

During the conference,  IndustriALL Australia/New Zealand Council, formed in 2011, reported on their activities such as cooperation among the affiliates tackling Asian regional issues and the participation of women representatives, and they are now looking to greater cooperation. The Japanese, IMF-JC reported that they are having regular meeting with ICEM-JAF and UI Zensen at secretariat level at least once a month and hope to step up a top officers meeting to discuss future potential of coordinated joint activities under the flag of IndustriALL Global Union.

The participants also discussed the future of AMLC and confirmed that it will continue as it is within the metal section for the next year and will also continue to seek some possible options to include unions from other industrial sectors in the transitional periods of the IndustriALL by 2016.

AMLC is not an IMF decision-making body, however representatives of the IMF Secretariat attended AMLC meeting and participated in its discussions and debates at the invitation of the IMF affiliate and organizer of the conference, IMF-JC.

On the next day, May 31, all Taiwanese IndustriALL related affiliates met in a round table meeting for the first time, and discussed and exchanged ideas for future cooperation that builds a strong solidarity in both domestic and international activities.