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IndustriALL ICT, Electrical and Electronic Steering Committee Meeting

4 March, 2014ICT, E&E unions will concentrate on organizing and fighting against Precarious Work

At IndustriALL Global Union’s Steering Committee on ICT, Electrical & Electronics on 9 April in Ho Chi Minh City, unions set up key strategies to concentrate on organizing and fighting precarious work.

The 2nd IndustriALL Global Union Steering Committee Meeting on ICT, Electrical & Electronics took place on 9 April in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 42 participants(including 2 guests), 16 unions from Australia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were present. The meeting discussed:

 •Global Trends and Situation of IndustriALL’s Activities in the sector

 •Organizing and Fight against Precarious Work

 •Promoting Sustainable Industrial Policy

 •Priorities and Strategy for 2014-2015

In the ICT, Electrical and Electronics sector, labour intensive production of MNCs is rapidly shifting into ASEAN countries and India where the standard wage of manufacturing workers is now lower than China, the world biggest producer of ICT, E&E products. At the same time, the number of unorganized workers in the sector continues to increase all over the world and precarious work expands in the complex supply chains system which was created by free trade agreements without protection of workers’ basic rights.  

This time, the Steering Committee have conducted survey research on the situation of  Precarious Work in the sector and received 11 cases from 9 unions in 7 countries. (See Background Document slide no.10-21) The result clearly shows that the permanent workers are being pressured into precarious positions in the most of cases and the unions are struggling on how to reach out  agency or outsource workers who have little or no chance to bargain collectively on their terms and conditions of employment. The unions shared common priority that the unions should make more efforts to organize precarious workers and include them in the same collective bargaining agreement.

All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) has also participated at the meeting as guest organization, and shared the views on organizing workers in MNCs as well as migrant and agency workers. The union organizing work in China is also faced with challenges such as the weak awareness of workers, especially migrant workers in joining in unions; quite a number of workers dare not to put forward the demand for union organizing for fear of losing jobs and pressure from employers. ACFTU is also focusing on capacity building on grassroots union to strengthen unions attractiveness and cohesiveness.

Shoji Arino, chairperson for the sector, insisted that “ ICT E&E sector is experiencing in the most rapid globalization process among any other manufacturing sector. That is why the unions in this sector should aware its role and responsibility, and take lead on organizing and fight against precarious work.”

As summary of the discussion, the Steering Committee agreed that all the unions will continue to follow up the conclusions of the 10 priorities for 2013-2016 which was decided in the last meeting, and agreed to focus on the key strategies 2014 to achieve goals for 2016.(see also Background Document slide no.38)

  1. Build union power : EC supported project to be launched. Awareness of workers' rights and initial steps on organizing workers by ICT E&E unions to be taken in 5 countries in Southeast Asia.
  2. Confront global capital: Creating structure between the unions and IndustriALL on targeting/identifying the companies such as Samsung and Foxconn. Deepening mutual understandings and cooperation on MNCs  with Chinese workers.
  3. Defend workers rights: Collaboration on company profiling/campaign with other GUFs, NGOs such as UNI and GoodElectronics network.
  4. Fight against precarious work: Clear indications that the unions take visible actions and gain participation to the Campaingn. Collaboration activities with Living Wage to be developed.
  5. Ensure sustainable industrial employment : Good practices on sustainable industrial policy acitivities to be shared and the next steps to be discussed.

The day before the meeting on 8 April, the participants of the Steering Committee visited a plant of electrical appliance company, Viettronics Tan Binh JSC in Vinh Loc Industrial Park. The participants learned about industrial relation and the plant’s production of refrigerator which is mainly for domestic market and export to Cuba.

The participants also confirmed this sector will hold the world conference in conjunction with 8th Asian Metalworkers’ Liaison Conference in Malaysia, in 2015.