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IndustriALL 2nd Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3-7 October 2016

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15 December, 20161,500 delegates from all over the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three exciting days of Congress - from the colourful opening with President Lula’s speech getting standing ovations to discussions, elections and solidarity resolutions.Each Congress session was themed after one of IndustriALL’s five strategic goals. Union representatives and one employer took to the stage to show delegates actions taken to build stronger unions, defend workers’ rights, confront global capital, promote a sustainable industrial policy and to fight precarious work.



BERTHOLD HUBER, IndustriALL President 2012-2016

“We are a union federation based on the principle of mutual solidarity. We stand together, we are friends and allies. We do not let anyone down whether he or she works in the mining, chemical and energy, textile and garment, metal or electronics industry, or whether he or she has a permanent or precarious or atypical job or works in the informal sector. Unity makes us strong. It is only together that we can move things forward. This also means that IndustriALL is only strong when everybody advocates for it.”

MIGUEL TORRES, President CNTM/ Força Sindical

“There are many different threats from politicians and business people trying to break union power. To face such challenges, the Brazilian union movement has made a huge effort to advance an alternative, to increase average income and guarantee education for all. We greet all delegates in the name of unity, so that we can consolidate and advance the global union movement to confront capital. We must show the unity of all workers!”


“Democracy is a right that is non-negotiable. After 38 years of struggle we have been able to change our country. We have been able to lift 36 million people from absolute poverty. But the rich cannot accept this and will continue to try to undo the work we have done.

Comrade Lula is the one who brought about all the change, and he is under attack. We need to defend him.”

LULA DA SILVA, President of Brazil 2003-2011

“I joined the labour movement in 1969 when I was 24. By 1972 I was a rank and file delegate. I became president of my chapter of the Brazilian metalworkers’ union in 1975. In 1980, I was banned by the military regime, because of the strikes we organized.

Why am I telling you this? Because the struggle goes on. The struggle will go on for a long time, if we are not careful.

We were making real progress in Brazil, creating good jobs, building a powerful, sustainable economy. But the coup by the right wing threatens to undo all of this. I say with pleasure and pride: another world is possible.”

AFRO LATA from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro

In 1998, a young group from Vicar General, a favela in the north of Rio met and formed a band. Despite the lack of conventional percussion instruments, they started playing with broomstick pieces, oil cans, barrels and plastic buckets. Self-taught, they learned percussion completely intuitively. Proving that music is a truly democratic art; the Afro Lata group was born.


A vibrant intervention from Juventud en movimiento - Youth in Action!

80 young trade unionists from Latin America, Germany, Russia, Japan and Austria made a surprise entrance into the Congress hall with tambourines, banners and flags chanting “I am IndustriALL”.

On 3 October a Youth Event was held to ensure active participation of young trade unionists from all over the world. It also provided a platform to plan an intervention at the Congress plenary. Participants discussed the need to provide training for young people, creating opportunities for youth within trade union structures and the creation of affirmative and specific policies for youth.

"Young people are both the present and the future of the labour movement. Unions need to give them space to develop as future union leaders,"

said  Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL General Secretary 2012-2016


Organizing and retaining members is IndustriALL’s number one priority.

Strong industrial unions are the basis of bargaining power and legitimacy as the global voice of working people. Through organizational development, IndustriALL builds strong, united, democratic, independent, representative and self-sustaining trade unions throughout the world.

MARTIN LINDER, Unionen, Sweden

“In 2010, Unionen was losing members and something needed to be done. We decided to shift focus from problem solving to improvement provider. With the help from superheroes and traditional advertising, we made people see that being a member of a union can give you superpowers.”


“Textile and garment is the main industry in Lesotho. Five different unions used to organize the 40,000 workers in our small country. But despite dynamic trade unionists, the workers’ conditions have not improved in years. But with the support of IndustriALL, the three biggest unions in Lesotho started to work together. A joint campaign on maternity leave led to its extension from one to four weeks.”


“The SMEFI has gone from zero to 20,000 members in the last ten years. 10,000 members were gained from 2012, when IndustriALL was created. The organizing focuses not only on India, but is now expanding to Bangladesh and Pakistan where more than 50,000 workers in shipbreaking are waiting for our union support.


Industry is a key driver of jobs and development for national economies and the foundation of good living standards. IndustriALL is calling for strong industrial policies that advance social, economic and environmental sustainability. IndustriALL will not leave decisions about the future of our industries, our jobs and our planet to multinational companies and market forces. We will take action to promote our vision of sustainable industries and industrial jobs to governments and employers. Through IndustriALL we make the voice of industrial workers heard!


“There are no jobs on a dead planet, and there is no sustainable development without peace and security. There are no energy reforms with bankrupt companies and jobless workers. Thus, we struggle for a planet with global warming limited to two degrees Celsius or less. We struggle for peace and social security. We struggle for energy reforms that lead workers to environmentally friendly jobs and to jobs that are more decent as well.”


“Africa is a wealthy continent, blessed with an abundance of raw materials. Yet we don’t profit from this, because value is added further up the supply chain, after we have exported the raw materials.”


“Around half of all jobs will disappear due to the rise of robots, what it shows is that a number of occupations are more susceptible to automation than others. Many of these jobs will not disappear, but change in character and nature. A famous example is how bank tellers were affected by the introduction of ATMs. Rather than becoming unemployed, the bank tellers shifted to becoming salespeople of financial products.”


“The future is in all our hands. The action we take now will influence the kind of world our children will live in. Together, we can transform our industries to bring dignity, security and sustainability to all.”


IndustriALL makes the voice of workers heard globally, building power to influence the global companies and institutions whose decisions and policies affect the lives of working people. Affiliated unions organize along the supply chains of multinational corporations, and hold them accountable for salaries and working conditions of all the workers who create their profits, consistent with their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


“ IndustriALL has had a number of campaigns. The campaign against Rio Tinto, the mining giant, is the flagship. The campaign has been far-reaching, professional and tough. Rio Tinto is changing. We do have dialogue with the company. But we won’t let them off the hook until we are convinced that the change is fundamental.”


“IndustriALL has negotiated 48 global framework agreements. These don’t prevent problems from arising, but they provide a mechanism to solve them.”

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SCIBERRAS Head of Group Industrial Relations &

Social Innovation, Solvay, addresses the congress in a video message:

“We believe in social dialogue, trust and transparency. Being challenged by an independent organization can only bring us further. For us IndustriALL is a strong challenger. If we cheat they will know. We talk, we exchange, and together we improve.”

Affiliates took to the stage, saying:

“We hold C&A responsible”

“We hold Uniqlo responsible”

“We hold Kik responsible”

“We hold all brands responsible”


IndustriALL is a fervent defender of workers’ rights and employs all possible means to exert pressure on the companies and governments that violate them.

When faced with attacks on workers and unions, IndustriALL’s global strength is used in targeted actions by affiliates and in strategic alliances with related organizations and other campaigners. The goal is universal recognition of workers’ rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining and to strike, safe and healthy workplaces and an end to all forms of workplace discrimination.

MICHELE O’NEIL, Textile Clothing and Footwear Union, Australia

“Australian unions heeded the call for solidarity by IndustriALL affiliate FTZGSEU on behalf of the fired workers. We publicly campaigned and had many of Ansell’s glove and condom customers demand Ansell respect workers’ rights. We protested at Ansell’s head office and at their Annual General Meeting of shareholders. And we told Ansell leadership we would not give up the fight.”

SQ ZAMA from India, spoke on behalf of ANTON MARCUS, FTZGSEU Sri Lanka

“That support forced Ansell’s CEO to sit down and negotiate with us for the first time ever. We were able to reach an agreement with Ansell and the fired strikers are returning to work.”

MATS SVENSSON, IF Metall, Sweden

“IF Metall is supporting the global campaign to defend workers’ rights in South Korea. We’ve lobbied the South Korean embassy in Sweden and sent solidarity delegations to South Korea. And we’re ready to do more.”


“South Korean unions greatly appreciate the support that IF Metall and IndustriALL affiliates around the world have offered in this struggle. We have a long hard battle ahead of us, and we appreciate your continuing support.”


IndustriALL is campaigning to raise awareness on how precarious work undermines workers’ rights and has a big impact on the whole society. Through organizing, bargaining, campaigning and fighting legislation, campaigning to STOP Precarious Work in all its forms is a priority and will continue until all workers have access to a secure job with all their rights protected, including the right to join a trade union.


“Our bargaining program contains an important directive to bargain away contract work by lifting the floor for our members in lowwaged and precarious jobs and by enhancing stability, security and work-life balance for our members across the industrial spectrum.”


“In SINTRACARBON we changed our union structure to enable the affiliation of precarious workers and worked to ensure their inclusion in collective bargaining agreement, which in turn improved their working conditions. We will not rest until we achieve not only the affiliation of outsourced workers but real changes in legislation in Colombia for outsourced workers.”


“I started outsourcing work through a cleaning company. My salary was half than that of my colleagues. I was getting sick from inhaling the gasses of the materials. Everyday I could be given a different time to work. I couldn’t plan my social life, study or have a family life. With my union I’ve recovered my self-esteem. All workers should have the same benefits regardless if they are contract or permanent workers. And they all need to be unionized.”

A group of affiliates shouted together “nao nao nao a precarização” (no no no to precarious work). The new STOP Precarious Work logo was unveiled as they all march through the Congress hall.


To mark the World Day for Decent Work hundreds of photos were shared on social media of Congress delegates holding a banner calling on mining giant Rio Tinto to STOP Precarious Work at all their operations around the world.

JYRKI RAINA General Secretary 2012-2016

“We have launched a new era in global union solidarity. We need the greatest possible unity to fight capital. The workers of the world do not need 600 different unions: unions need to unite their forces for the benefit of workers. We need to build real industrial muscle.”


JÖRG HOFMANN IndustriALL President

“Your commitment has made this Congress into a very lively exchange. We, the trade unions of IndustriALL, have established a very good action plan. We must become the counterweight to global capitalism.”

VALTER SANCHES IndustriALL General Secretary

“All our action plan points are related; we can’t talk about fighting precarious work without talking about union building, confronting global capital and defending workers’ rights. We see that precarious work always finds a way, even in Germany, which has the highest standards of all.

The only we can move forward is to help strengthen our unions in the region.”

JENNY HOLDCROFT IndustriALL assistant general secretary

“Confronting global capital is one of the most important parts of our action plan. We heard that global capital seeks to optimise profits. We heard that trade agreements are affecting workers’ rights.

We need to protect the interest of workers. We need union tools to work. We have no global architecture for unions to work. It is up to us to build it. We are successfully building global framework agreements. We are truly proud of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, we need more agreements like that. We will continue to fight and we will win!”

ATLE HØIE IndustriALL assistant general secretary

“It is unfortunate that we have to defend fundamental workers’ rights, rights that we won a long time ago. But solidarity works. I expect many of you will request the support of IndustriALL when your rights come under attack.

We will support you. At the same time, I ask that when we request your solidarity, you will extend it too.”

KEMAL ÖZKAN IndustriALL assistant general secretary

“The old ways of thinking about industrial policy, not taking into account the social and environmental impacts, will no longer work. Every discussion on sustainable industrial policy must include a plan for a Just Transition. There will be changes, whether we act or not. However, if we do not demand measures to ensure a Just Transition, we are guaranteed an unjust one. If a sustainable future is our goal, a Just Transition is the bridge that will take us there.”


GUY RYDER ILO, Director General

“The formation of IndustriALL was good news for the world’s workers. This Congress is meeting in traumatic circumstances. We have a global economy that has lost the capacity and will to grow, since the financial crisis of 2008. And there is more bad news coming our way. This means mass unemployment, and young people will be the first victims. Let us reflect on our challenges. This is a moment when every act of the democratic process brings with it the realisation that what was once unthinkable is now possible, and in some cases happening. Economic collapse has brought social crisis and grave political dangers. As our economy changes, the future of work must be decided by us, not for us.”

SHARAN BURROW ITUC, General Secretary

“The global economic model is broken, and the rich and corrupt are on the move. Right here in Brazil we have a coup, against the work of our brother, former president Lula. Lula’s legacy, the union legacy, is being torn up right now. In supply chains, millions of workers have no chance of decent work without us. There is a hidden workforce, making up 90 per cent of workers in supply chains. This model is broken. Enough is enough. We demand an ILO Convention on supply chains. We demand the rule of law.

We have released a global scandal report: Samsung Exposed. This is one of the most evil examples of out of control supply chains. We have corporate capture of the state: workers’ rights are being attacked at the behest of capital. Jyrki, you are a great union leader and a great friend. I wish you all the best. I welcome the new leadership team, who are great brothers and sisters.”



Emergency resolution on South Korea The president of IndustriALL affiliate Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU) Sang Gu, told Congress that the government is removing laws protecting workers and calling it labour reform. Workers and unions are under attack, and the South Korean government is not adequately guaranteeing freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining agreements. Congress participants were given red headbands and endorsed the resolution in true Korean style!



“We call for a responsible solution to bring peace. The Nobel committee has taken the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Santos. It is major step to recognize the efforts towards peace. We have millions of people displaced, and hundreds of people including trade unionists assassinated. We unanimously support this resolution. The moment of solidarity is now.”



“For many years, Ford plants had high levels of unionization. Ford has taken the decision to reduce car making in Australia. We cannot be silent about the closure of Ford in Australia – it is devastating. The automobile industry has provided jobs to thousands and thousands of workers and many of those jobs will be lost. I call upon you to support this resolution based on the principles of our global solidarity for Ford workers and their families, and a collective condemnation of the neoliberal thinking of the governments.”



“160 skilled trade workers at the Volkswagen plant voted to join the UAW. However, Volkswagen refused to recognize the union. The company refuses to comply with its own global framework agreement with IndustriALL. It refuses to comply with US labour law. This case has the potential to impact all workers in all unions across the world.”

TONY BURKE Unite the Union, UK

“VW must immediately stop stalling and start talking. If it’s acceptable to negotiate with workers in Germany, how can they refuse to negotiate with UAW workers in America? Valter, you must put them on notice that we will revert our agreement with VW if they don’t negotiate with workers in Chattanooga.”



“The union boycott of CUB products has resulted in a significant loss of sales. This resolution asks for your support to condemn the actions of InBev and solidarity for the reinstatement of the 55 CUB maintenance workers.”



“Workers in the world are facing serious attacks. In Brazil the coup government is implementing an agenda that removes rights and social benefits. What we have achieved in the past 12 years is being reversed by the government coup. This government does not respect democracy, women, and youth. Rights should not be reduced; we need your support!”