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South East Asian cement workers demand an end to unfair competition

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25 July, 2019IndustriALL Global Union’s South East Asia affiliates call upon governments take action to stop unfair competition and protect cement workers in the region.

The unions unanimously passed a South East Asia cement network declaration at the end of IndustriALL regional cement industry workshop on 23-24 July 2019 in Bogor, Indonesia.

“We are convinced that only joint action can save a sustainable cement production in the South East Asian countries, hence the respective governments should ban ‘cheap’ cement through pricing carbon on imported cement and clinker if not done in the countries of origins”,

the declaration reads.

Demands include respecting ILO core conventions, particularly freedom of association, stopping the long distance transportation of cement and clinker to reduce the carbon footprint, ban the outsourcing of core business and subcontracting activities, and better health and safety protection for cement workers.

 

The president of the Federation of Indonesian Cement Workers' Union (FSPISI), Teguh Widodo, said the cement industry in Indonesia faces extraordinary decline with the entry of many new industry players, including Chinese companies, which are hostile to unions, pay low wages and unsafe working environment.

In agreement with Widodo, Denise Giron of Filipino affiliate the Associated Labor Unions said that affiliates in the Philippines face the same problem of the import of cheap cement driving down the domestic price and precipitating the layoff of workers.

Matthias Hartwich

“The oversupply of state-subsidised cement in some countries and the subsequent export to other countries is a growing concern in the world of work. Governments must impose stricter rules and regulations to safeguard local jobs and reduce carbon emissions. Cement and clinker should not be transported over long distances,”

said Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL’s director of mechanical engineering and base metals.

Annie Adviento with the declaration

“The industry is fast changing and unions need to have effective networks to share information and bargaining experience. The last cement union meeting in Padang proves it is useful for our affiliates, but we must follow on our existing action plans to overcome challenges such as weak collective agreements or union mergers in Thailand,”

said Annie Adviento, regional secretary of IndustriALL.

Lena Yuliana of Indonesia talks about women in the sector

The 40 participants, including eight women, are from IndustriALL affiliates from Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. They committed to increase women’s participation in leadership in near future. All groups adopted ambitious action plans for the following months.

Matthias Hartwich commented:

“These plans look good; they are ambitious but realistic. Now it is up to you to make it happen – I wish you all the success with that!

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