Kemal Özkan Assistant General Secretary

IndustriALL Global Union keeps fighting back through active campaigns

23.07.2015

Attacks against fundamental rights are continuing and increasing all over the world. Governments and multinational companies use all dirty tactics to prevent workers from joining a union of their free choice and keep them away from our important tools collective bargaining and strikes.

This keeps IndustriALL Global Union fighting back through campaigns to react against those severe violations.

Every hour, every day, every week.

Not only because our global union is constantly fighting to improve the lives of our members, or to organize new members, or to grow our unity and common understanding.

This is a must for IndustriALL and its affiliates throughout the world. We all need to campaign constantly against the egregious violations of employers and governments on a daily basis.

Greece. A clear case on how union rights are trampled as part of austerity policies. IndustriALL Global Union continues to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Greek workers and citizens in this important fight for democracy, human dignity, fundamental rights. Soon IndustriALL will conduct another solidarity mission in Greece to demonstrate constant solidarity. We continue to call for a fair and sustainable solution.

Is Greece alone? No.

This month, workers throughout the United Kingdom are suffering an attack to their legal union rights at work. The Conservative government are pushing a bill through parliament that will greatly reduce the right to strike. The new law will permit employers to hire replacement contract workers to break strikes, require unions to give 14 days advanced notice of industrial action, and require a 50 per cent strike vote while not allowing electronic voting to replace postal voting.

Even strike pickets of more than six people will be criminal. If these changes pass into law the UK will have the most anti-worker strike laws in Western Europe.

These are happening at the heart of Europe.

An overwhelming majority of companies are following the same path. Even worse.

Huge brands and multinational companies force IndustriALL to campaign every day with their disregard for core labour rights in their supply chains. At two factories in Turkey our affiliates’ members are being sacked and threatened simply for joining the union. These workers make expensive products for luxury brands like Mulberry, but the brands have taken no genuine steps to reinstate the sacked trade unionists.

Again in Turkey, Enpay, a national supplier for major companies such as ABB, Alstom, Schneider, are sacking workers because they simply join unions. There are many other similar cases in the metal industry.

Nissan’s abhorrent treatment of its workers in Canton, Mississippi, is resulting in a growing international coalition of unions at Nissan and corporate partner Renault.

This month mining group Thriveni threatened Indian workers wanting to join IndustriALL’s affiliate HKMF. We are demanding that key customer Tata takes action here.

The Syngenta case in Pakistan is still ongoing even though judiciary processes in the country continue to rule the company’s employment practices unlawful. The same is true with multinational glove producer Ansell in Sri Lanka since the company keeps harming workers.

The mining giants Rio Tinto and Glencore continue to bring our mining trade unions closer together with their systematic disrespect of our members on all continents.

The list goes on. IndustriALL will continue to rise to the challenge with workers’ unity and strength.

However there are also good news.

In North America, a six-year collective agreement was reached by the Steelworkers with Crown Holdings for the plant in Toronto after a proud 22-month strike. Our sisters and brothers finally go back to work by standing strong against the attempts to eliminate the union. Congratulations!

Our sisters and brothers in Myanmar managed get their first minimum wage three years after the unions were legalized. They are not alone. A similar campaign is being conducted by Thai unions to increase their minimum wage.

And others.

The fight continues.

Kemal Özkan

Assistant General Secretary