8 December, 2014On 4 – 5 December, IndustriALL held its Executive Committee meeting in Tunis. The location was a show of support for Tunisia’s democratic development, in which trade unions have played an important part.
The Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) and its member unions, including IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliates in the country, played a crucial role in the development of the new constitution.
Houcine Abassi, General Secretary of UGTT, welcomed the Executive Committee to Tunis and promised to protect gains made by workers:
“Workers are instrumental in the strive for a democratic Tunisia. IndustriALL’s presence in our country sends a strong message of support for our trade unions and their work.”
Ahmed Anmar, Tunisia’s minister of social affairs committed to social dialogue with trade unions and said:
“The Tunisian people have showed maturity and it is to them that the last steps towards democracy are due.”
The two days contained reports and discussions on IndsutriALL’s continuing work of building union power and organizing, fighting for trade union rights and and campaigning for a living wage. The organization is widening its frontiers; new affiliates in among other Mauretania and Myanmar brings the total number of countries where IndustriALL is represented up to 143.
Adoption of four solidarity resolutions
The IndustriALL Executive resolved to support the demands of the FNTE, National Federation of Energy Workers on the government of Morocco, to maintain electricity in the country as a public service; and to preserve the jobs, achievements and rights of all electricity workers.
150 IG Metall members have been on strike since 4 December and occupying the ThyssenKrupp auto supplier site in Esslingen, Germany. The workers are demanding that the company cancels its plan to close the site before Christmas. The IndustriALL Executive resolved to support the strikers and their demand on the company to keep the site open.
IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates at ThyssenKrupp are currently at an advanced stage of negotiations with the company towards a Global Framework Agreement. IG Metall and IndustriALL are not seeking to stop that process.
Belgian unions are currently uniting in a month-long series of strike action. The rolling strikes are combatting the right-wing government’s austerity measures. Important unity between the country’s two main trade unions, the FGTB (General Confederations of Belgian Workers) and CSC (Confederations of Christian Trade Unions), makes the strikes stronger and more significant.
Since September 2014 with the coming to power of the coalition of the New Flemish Alliance (NVA) and Reformist Movement (MR), a savage austerity programme has been rolled out by Prime Minister Michel, who is vehemently anti-worker.
The IndustriALL Executive resolved to convey full and strong support in solidarity with the Belgian Sisters and Brothers at this time of confrontation; and demand that the coalition government of Prime Minister Michel consults the unions on serious changes in social spending.
The IndustriALL Executive also took a stand against asbestos and resolved to work with the BWI, the ITUC, Asbestos Support groups and civil society groups to assist the campaign for the listing of chrysotile asbestos at the Rotterdam Convention in May 2015, and the overall campaign against the asbestos industry.