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Chemical unions determined to defend and advance workers’ rights

12 May, 2015Around 200 delegates from some 40 countries representing chemical workers gathered in Hannover, Germany on 6 - 7 May. Participants at IndustriALL Global Union’s World Conference for the Chemical Industries debated challenges and identified responses of the unions.

Chemical industry plays an important role in global economy as it serves to different sectors as one of the most dynamically developing and innovative industrial sectors, particularly employing highly skilled workers. This fact, however, does not make it immune from different problems and challenges faced by workers and unions in other industries.

Opening the Conference the Michael Vassiliadis, President of the IndustriALL’s German affiliate Mining, Energy, Chemical Union IG BCE as well as industriAll European Trade Union said:

We know that in some countries and regions it is still dangerous to stand up for human and trade union rights, that in many countries the profit is made to the detriment of the protection of human health and environment. However I am sure, jointly and in great solidarity we will continue to make progress in the fight against child and slave labour and conclude collective agreements for decent conditions avoiding any discrimination”.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, commented

IndustriALL has been formed in 2012 as a new force in international solidarity to confront the global capital, since then every day is campaign day for our global union”.

The participants interacted on a series of political matters, including sustainability with its effects on jobs; trade union networks, global framework agreements as instruments boosting solidarity among the workers; union organizing and campaigns; problem of declining membership and rampant precarious work; and occupational health and safety.

At the end of the two-day conference with the view to overcome the existing challenges and build stronger unity and solidarity among the chemical workers the participants adopted and action program over the strategic goals of IndustriALL Global Union: Build Union Power throughout the world; Confront global capital; Defend workers' rights; Fight precarious work; Ensure sustainable industrial employment.

The participants unanimously elected two co-chairpersons of the chemical industry sector, namely Iris Wolf, IG BCE of Germany and Sergio Luiz Leite, Fequimfar-Força Sindical, Brazil.

Prior to the World Chemical Conference, IndustriALL’s Global Pharmaceutical Unions’ Network and BASF Representatives’ Global meetings met and discussed actions to be taken in the period to come.

Excellent quality of discussions, commitment and spirit of solidarity marked the World Chemical Conference” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. “Our chemical affiliates developed an ambitious Action Programme, and it will be genuine base for the global union power for this critical sector”.

Photos from the Conference are available on IndustriALL Flickr channel.