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Building trade union power in Latin America

  • Building trade union power in Latin America

14 May, 2014“IndustriALL, IndustriALL, we are fighting for social justice!” chanted the more than 70 women delegates at the Latin America Regional Conference, as they applauded the plenary’s unanimous approval of a resolution to increase the women’s representation quota to 40% in IndustriALL structures, executive committee and leadership positions.

The war cry of the Latin America and the Caribbean women, as they called it, was coined at the first women’s conference, held on 6 May, to communicate the nature of the demands on which they will work in the period up till 2016, which include greater representation, a campaign against violence and the fight for a living wage.

The women’s enthusiasm spread to all delegates, who applauded the approval of the resolution and joined in the chanting. “I am very happy with the energy and dynamism displayed at this regional conference”, said Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL General Secretary, expressing support for the 40% representation quota proposal.

“We want to work together, men and women, and be equally involved in the struggle throughout IndustriALL”. Delegates expressed their desire for IndustriALL to promote equal opportunities, strive for more balanced regional representation on the executive committee and support democratic initiatives for women and young workers.

The resolution was supported by all 250 delegates from affiliated unions, who also expressed a commitment to fair representation of Caribbean affiliates.

With interventions such as “we need a new generation of trade unionists that can unite the masses” and “young workers do not want to suffer continued exploitation”, the young workers who took part in the closing ceremony of the regional conference in Colombia called on IndustriALL to support the education and training of young trade unionists.

The plenary showed its support for the spirit, preparation and enthusiasm shown by the young delegates by unanimously approving proposals for the development of training and recruitment policies; the inclusion of young workers in trade union structures; and the promotion of specific agendas for bargaining on behalf of young workers.

At the closure of the conference, Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL Regional Secretary, said: “I am pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere at this meeting, with its diversity of cultures, languages and races, and in which we have all had an opportunity to discuss and decide on these actions and these important resolutions that reflect the work being done to strengthen our unions. We are working to strengthen global and regional unity, we are building the future, because Latin America deserves a better future”.