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Global fight for workers’ rights continues at Crown Holdings

5 February, 2015IndustriALL Global Union stands firm with Crown workers all over the world fighting for their rights against the unscrupulous US-based multinational packaging producer.

Some 120 workers of Crown Holdings at the company plant in Toronto, Canada, who were all once awarded a top company honour for “dedication, commitment and personal accountability”, are now in the 17th month of a strike, which began in September 2013. Workers were forced to take strike action when Crown management demanded huge concessions, including a 42 per cent pay cut for new employees and permanent lower wage scale, trying to build even bigger profits on workers’ backs.

Last summer Crown made a miserable offer to the workers. While removing the demand for a two-tier wage system, the company demanded a 30 per cent cut of all wages instead. Workers overwhelmingly rejected this proposal by 117 to 1 vote.

IndustriALL has given solid support to its affiliate United Steelworkers, USW, which has launched a special campaign “Take-Backs No More!”.

In April 2014, IndustriALL and USW organized a special protest action in Philadelphia at the Crown annual general assembly of company shareholders. Further protest actions were staged in Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, and France.

However, instead of changing its behaviour Crown announced that it wants to replace three quarters of the workforce at its Toronto plant, even if the dispute is settled. It means that striking workers will lose their jobs.

In Turkey, Crown used gaps in local legislation to avoid negotiating with the officially-recognized bargaining counterpart, IndustriALL affiliate, Birlesik Metal-Is. The company rejected good faith negotiations, and in violation of principles of freedom of association, has dismissed union activists for no good reason.

In October last year, IndustriALL  with fellow global union, IUF, wrote to Crown’s customers denouncing the company’s dishonest behaviour towards its workers.

At the end of January 2015, Crown once again showed its ugly union busting face in Ghana. Without any preliminary discussion or warning, local management locked out 42 workers who are affiliated to IndustriALL through the Industrial & Commercial Workers' Union, ICU. The workers staged protests in front of the closed factory demanding their severance packages that have been in discussion since last year and are determined to continue with protests until their claims are met.

Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary said:

Our entire 50 million strong IndustriALL family stands in firm solidarity with Crown workers in Canada, Turkey and Ghana. We are determined to escalate our global campaign against Crown Holdings and we will challenge their union busting practices by all possible means at national and international level. We will continue to raise the issue with all their board members and major customers and suppliers, and will inform the general public about every single step they take.”