At the MENA Conference in Beirut, IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in the auto and supplier sectors came together in a meeting on the 21 April to reinforce cooperation among each other.
MENA unions representing workers at different major car makers such as Renault and PSA, as well as suppliers such as Leoni, discussed working conditions and union actions with their colleagues from Germany, Spain and France.
IndustriALL’s presentation on the situation in auto industry worldwide with special focus on MENA region made a base for the discussions during the meeting. Participants learnt about IndustriALL's activities in the sector and the importance of the company networks in assisting union organizing efforts and strengthening unions.
Union representatives from Europe explained their union structures and organizing efforts with a focus on the auto and supplier industry.
Contacts already exist, especially in the supply chain with the German union IG Metall and with unions from Renault. There were also discussions to intensify these contacts with PSA as well.
Participants decided to organize follow-up meetings to tackle the challenges for the unions in auto and supplier industry in the region and to improve cooperation of different unions in the companies concerned. Union building at the plant level will be a focus for the planned activities. This includes capacity building, further organizing efforts and networking on different levels.
“This first-ever MENA region meeting is a very important start for IndustriALL,” said Helmut Lense, Director for Auto and Rubber Sectors. “MENA is becoming more and more important for car manufacturers, and therefore we have to begin making all the necessary efforts to organize the plants to increase union membership.”