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3 November, 2022IndustriALL Asia Pacific executive committee met on 28 October, ahead of the global executive committee meeting later this month. Trade union actions to advance workers’ rights in light of the current wage crisis coupled with an increasing attack on democracy and fundamental rights in the region, were key points of discussion.
About 50 members from IndustriALL affiliates in the region participated in the meeting, chaired by the Asia Pacific vice president Akira Takakura along with co-chair Prihanani Boenadi.
“These are very challenging times. The effects of the war in Ukraine are being felt by the working class around the world. In the Asia Pacific region, the situation is particularly bad in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. IndustriALL stands in solidarity with our affiliates in the region who are putting up a strong fight in the face of growing attack on workers’ rights,”
said Atle Høie, IndustriALL general secretary.
Participants discussed the enormous pressure that workers are under in light of a soaring inflation, energy crisis, food insecurity, attack on democracy and climate change, particularly focusing on the precarious situation of workers in Myanmar, Ukraine, and Sri Lanka.
“Economic crisis, climate change and suppression of democracy are increasing inequality across the world. We are seeing a rising attack on trade union rights in the region; activists are persecuted in Myanmar under the military regime. It’s important that we continue to take united action as IndustriALL to defend workers’ rights,”
said Akira Takakura.
Sri Lankan affiliates shared that while food inflation has hit 94 per cent, workers’ wages have stagnated. Workers are struggling to pay for utilities that are now thrice as expensive as they were before the economic crisis hit the country. Trade unions have written several petitions to the government demanding that the national minimum wage be raised and that workers must be given economic relief allowance, however the government is unwilling to engage with unions.
IndustriALL is urging global brands to discontinue operations in Myanmar as due diligence cannot be fulfilled under the military regime.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan focused on the actions that IndustriALL is undertaking globally in accordance with the action plan adopted by Congress in September last year.
On activities undertaken by IndustriALL in the region, progress was reported on the increasing participation of women and youth in trade union activities.
The executive committee called for an immediate resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine which has global consequences.