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Challenges of unity building in the Philippines

13 March, 2014When ITGLWF, ICEM and IMF merged to become IndustriALL Global Union, Philippine affiliates to the former GUFs were brought together under the same roof. But with as many as 17 IndustriALL affiliates covering different industries in the Philippines, building a culture of unity is a challenge.

On 26-27 February, 38 participants met in the Philippines to discuss unity among the IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in the country. In addition to IndustriALL’s Philippine affiliates, representatives from Japanese affiliates JCM and UA-Zensen, as well as Australian affiliate AMWU, participated.

Fernando Lopes, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL, said that the three golden rules of unity building should be the way forward:

“There should be no competition among our affiliates; instead cooperation and sustainability. The priority is to organize the workers.”

And the two-day meeting succeeded in finding a way to move towards increased unity. Led by an external facilitator, affiliates will convene again on 1 April to find an acceptable structure of working together and to form an action plan on common issues. Annie Adviento, IndustriALL Regional Secretary will be there as an observer.

Later on in the same month, affiliates will meet to plan a three-year organizing project.

Fernando Lopes stressed the importance of increasing unity among the Philippine affiliates:

The strength of IndustriALL can be measured by increased membership, cooperation between affiliates and building sustainable unions. The future holds great challenges, which we will be able to confront by our affiliates working together.