The IndustriALL India Council welcomed Valter Sanches, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, and called on Indian affiliate unions to intensify efforts to defend workers’ rights in supply chains and build global solidarity.
Participating in the India council meeting in Delhi on 5 May 2017, Valter Sanches said:
“The rise of conservative political leadership around the world, including the election of Donald Trump as US president, poses a critical challenge to the international trade union movement.
“We are also facing troubles in the form trade agreements such as TPP and TTIP. These agreements include investor state dispute settlement provisions that would allow multinational companies to sue governments, seriously undermining the sovereignty of many countries, including India. IndustriALL will continue to intervene in trade policy issues with a view to defend workers’ rights.”
Talking about his recent visit to Bangladesh, Valter Sanches said, “Bangladeshi workers faced severe repression and incarceration when demanding an increase in the minimum wage. IndustriALL’s global campaign led to the release of all the jailed trade unionists, and we will continue to focus on the supply chain and work strategically to build union power to safeguard workers’ interests.”
Welcoming Valter Sanches, Dr. G Sanjeeva Reddy, IndustriALL Executive Committee member and the President of Indian National Metal Workers Federation (INMF), said:
“The Indian trade union movement needs increased involvement of IndustriALL to protect workers’ rights, which are under incessant attack from the rightwing government. The international trade union movement should extend solidarity to the struggles launched by joint trade union committee, in which central trade unions are working together.”
IndustriALL affiliates raised key issues such as social security for home-based workers, ratification of the ILO Home Work Convention 177, the problem of increasing precarious work in the mining industry and the ratification of ILO Convention 176 on health and safety in mines.
Further affiliates from the cement sector welcomed IndustriALL’s efforts towards signing a global framework agreement LafargeHolcim and called for increased attention to protect the interest of precarious workers in the cement sector in India.
IndustriALL India women’s committee called for intensive engagement to address women workers’ issues in the manufacturing sector and particularly in the readymade garment sector. They highlighted the need for bringing more women workers into unions and build capacity to deal with sexual harassment and violence against women.
IndustriALL affiliates also underlined the need to end the exploitative nature of the recruitment of young workers with poor wages in factories across the country under the scheme of National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM). Under this scheme, workers are not covered by labour laws and the employer has no obligation to provide employment after the training period.
The Indian National Metal Workers Federation (INMF) representative from Hindustan Zinc Ltd shared successful experiences of organizing precarious workers and winning equal wages for equal work and urged all permanent workers unions to actively bring precarious workers into their union in their respective companies.