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18 July, 2014ICT, Electrical & Electronics unions in Taiwan discuss and learn about the importance of organizing unorganized workers and actively discussed how to strengthen their own union cooperation.
The ROCMU-IndustriALL Global Union Organizing Seminar on ICT, Electrical & Electronics Workers took place on 11 July in Jungli, Taiwan. 42 union officers from various age groups and 16 plant level unions, including non-affiliated unions in the sector participated.
Over the past 20 years, Taiwan has become an important player in the global value chain of the electronics industry, and many Taiwanese MNCs has been expanding their business to the Asia-Pacific countries. On the other hand, the prevalence of precarious work has also rapidly increased in Taiwan, especially in the young generation while the labour movement has been splitting into several groups and weakening its power. The unions in Taiwan are now under pressure from the need to create a strong solidarity base to secure good quality jobs and organize unorganized workers.
In the keynote lecture, Mr. Wang Hou-Wei, director of the Department of Employment Relations, Ministry of Labour pointed out that in recent years, 44% of labour-management disputes are related to creating/joining a union and in many cases the workers failed to organize because of the strong pressure by the management. He therefore mentioned that the unions should develop the alliance/federation in the industrial level to create scale advantage on union activity including finance schemes to hire full-time organizers and/or labour lawyers.
Kan Matsuzaki, director ICT E&E sector at IndustriALL Global Union explained the importance of organizing workers at Taiwanese MNCs such as Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) and asked the unions for active involvement on IndustriALL’s campaign. He also gave the concrete example of Japanese Denki Rengo-JEIU who is aiming to organize the workers at 1,534 companies by 2020, on mapping out the target companies, reaching out to key persons at unorganized workplaces and attracting workers to join the union.
In the meeting, the unions actively discussed how to strengthen the unions’ cooperation and how to organize a stronger union. As a result of the discussion, the unions confirmed the need of an internal reformation process which will focus on strategic training on organizing and separation of politics and trade union activity. ROCMU will work on the coordination for the future cooperation among the unions to re-vitalize the trade union movement and organizing drive.