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ICT, electricals and electronics unions resolve to intensify organizing

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31 May, 2018IndustriALL’s steering committee meeting of the ICT, electrical & electronics (ICT, EE) industry was held in Mumbai on 28-29 May 2018. Union representatives from around the world discussed global industry trends; evaluated current activities and future strategies to strengthen union power and respond to challenges faced by the trade union movement.

Takahiro Nonaka, co-chairperson of the IndustriALL ICT EE sector said:

Workers around the world in ICT EE sector are facing increasing challenges of precarious work and now confront new questions emerging from rapid technological change, which will affect the industry both in good and bad ways. The trade union movements need to strengthen our capabilities and strategically build global solidarities to help one another.

The steering committee meeting witnessed frank discussion over a series of issues including ongoing union organizing initiatives, organizing non-manual, women and young migrant workers, union activities and campaign against precarious work, future organizing strategy and defending workers rights in the supply chain and strategies to improve occupational safety and health (OSH) measures.

Prihanani Boenadi, co-chairperson of the IndustriALL ICT EE sector said:

Achieving gender equality and at least 40per cent women representation in union structures and activities should be one of the primary objectives of the unions. Our unions are progressively advancing with enhanced women participation and we need to intensify this process. Increased women participation will enable unions to effectively defend workers rights as ICT EE sector consist of large amount of women workforce.

Union representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines shared respective union’s organizing efforts, increasing union membership and their struggle to win wage increases, improving working conditions and OSH measures.

Jenny Holdcroft, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL said:

In recent times we witnessed enormous progress in bringing more workers into union folds. However, the ICT EE industry continue to be the difficult space for organizing as some of the leading companies that have large and complex supply chain in the sector are hostile to trade union activities. Unions need to work strategically to create space for dialogue with multinational corporations while breaking new grounds for organizing in their supply chain.

Union representatives from France, Singapore and United Kingdom shared strategies adopted by unions on issues emerging from the gradual ascent of Industry 4.0. They underlined that it is important for unions to engage effectively with the government’s policy initiatives and employers’ future plans in order to influence them to protect workers’ interests. Simultaneously, unions need empower their membership and work with employers to re-imagine the future of work, redesign jobs and re-skill workers and employers.

Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL ICT director said:

IndustriALL affiliates have made significant progress in organizing new members into their unions, which will enable them to effectively defend workers rights, while increasing paying membership. Our affiliates are well on the way to achieve the target of more than 15000 newly recruited members in ICT EE sector.

Towards building union power, affiliates have strategically moved forward with establishing and strengthening trade union networks in companies such as IBM, SIEMENS, NXP, Ericsson, STMicroelectronics and GE. We are also striving for more such networks and launch new global framework agreements. Further, we are forming new alliances with other global union federations and civil society networks like ‘Good Electronics’ to counterbalance powerful MNCs, while deepening union density to gain negotiating space in the companies.

On 29 May all participants visited Siemens' Kalwa Factory in Mumbai and interacted with management officials and union representatives. The factory visit enabled participants to understand that IndustriALL’s GFA with Siemens empowered to establish progressive industrial relations in the factory.