90 trade union representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean participated in the Second Regional Conference of IndustriALL in Panama, to redefine its strategic plan and promote the participation of the affiliates in its implementation.
"The theme of the conference, ´Democracy & Social Justice´, considers the current situation of the continent. Threats to democracy persist, neoliberal restoration in Argentina and Brazil, coups in Honduras, Paraguay and Brazil, electoral frauds in Honduras and Mexico, and there is a strong need to elect progressive governments in Colombia and Mexico.”
explained IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches at the beginning of the meeting.
The conference was attended by the deputy minister of Labour and Labour Development of Panama, Zulphy Santamaria, who pointed out that, unlike these realities, Panama is committed to social and tripartite dialogue to ensure respect for labour rights.
Sanches then opened a debate on trade agreements and their impact on workers. They concluded that trade unions must influence the agreements and ensure decent work.
They also stressed the need for solidarity action in countries where serious violations of trade union rights still persist. They held a street rally in defence of democracy in Brazil, in favour of restoring the rule of law, and called for the release of former president Lula da Silva. In turn, they committed themselves to providing solidarity with the workers of Goodyear in Mexico.
The delegates emphasized the importance of spreading IndustriALL's campaign to fight violence against women, and signed the pledge on behalf of each of the trade unions present. They also reinforced the need to reach the 40 per cent quota of women's participation in the executive committee of IndustriALL as of the 2020 world congress.
In addition, a session was dedicated to Industry 4.0 and to the growing need to promote trade unions as political and social actors, in order to achieve a sustainable industry and an energy transition.
Deputy general secretary Kemal Özkan presented the new IndustriALL document on the challenges of Industry 4.0. He explained that trade unions, employers and governments need to promote human-centered technologies and create better consequences for workers.
At the same time, regional secretary Marino Vani presented a new organizational structure, made up of four macro sectors (light industry, mobility, energy and manufacturing), bringing together the 14 sectors represented by IndustriALL. The aim is to strengthen unionization and collective bargaining, and to monitor compliance with global framework agreements and trade union networks in supply chains.
Finally, Valter Sanches announced that the third world congress of IndustriALL will be held in South Africa and indicated that at the November meeting of the executive committee in Mexico City, the working groups for the construction of its programme will be defined.
In turn, he emphasized that the region will have an outstanding and active participation in Mexico, where he will highlight the transformations that took place in the various countries.