The Executive Committee, meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 8 and 9 November, endorsed campaigns against Glencore, Shell, violence against women, and in support of workers fired for striking at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia.
Trade union leaders from nearly 50 countries met in a display of the full force of the global union movement.
An important discussion on what women face daily in their working lives was held, with the Executive Committee adopting a resolution on violence and harassment against women in the workplace. Violence against women in the workplace is real, and happens every day. It takes many forms – from verbal harassment to physical and sexual abuse.
Delegates were asked to take a stand and support and promote a pledge in their unions, clearly stating that all forms of violence against women are unacceptable.
IndustriALL is a campaigning organization. The Executive Committee supported the launch of two new corporate campaigns; against oil giant Shell and mining and commodity company Glencore.
The campaign against Shell calls for equal rights for all workers in Shell operations. Currently, there are huge discrepancies in the way the company treats its workforce in different jurisdictions.
The campaign against Glencore demands that the company respect workers’ rights, improve health and safety, and shows good faith in both direct and indirect negotiations with employees.
The immediate impetus for the campaign is disputes in Australia, Canada, and South Africa, including the Oaky North lockout in Queensland, Australia, and a ten month strike at a refinery in Quebec, Canada. The campaign seeks to resolve these disputes, and establish meaningful global dialogue with the company that addresses concerns about union rights and health and safety at operations across the world.
Mining can be a treacherous profession. IndustriALL’s fight for workers at Freeport’s copper mine in Grasberg, Indonesia, continues. Indonesia’s national human rights commission has found that the company’s dismissals of thousands of workers are violating human rights, and is recommending they be reinstated.
IndustriALL General Secretary Valter Sanches said:
Workers face injustice in all countries of the world. We need to fight back, using the leverage we have.
Fighting precarious work is important to IndustriALL. After the Executive Committee’s first day, delegates joined affiliates in Sri Lanka in a demonstration to demand that the government take action to stop the spread of precarious work.
Trade and industrial policy
Industry 4.0 is having a big impact on some of the industries of IndustriALL’s affiliates. It is transforming work and production, eliminating and changing jobs.
The Executive Committee endorsed the action plan for Industry 4.0.
The IndustriALL working group on trade is demanding that any trade agreement needs open and transparent negotiations, including labour rights. The issue needs to be discussed globally and all affiliates need to be part of the discussion.
The Executive Committee adopted a number of solidarity resolutions:
- Exxon mobil, Australia, where the employer is trying to force 30 per cent wage cuts while making huge profits
- Solidarity with unions in India, embarking on national protests against the Modi government
- Support for Romanian workers’ protests against worsened social security
- Honeywell, Italy, where workers are striking in front of the plant, supported by the local community
- Support for unions’ national day of action in Brazil
The text of all resolutions can be found in the links at the side of the article.