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IndustriALL chemical workers in LAC stronger together

28 October, 2015Trade union leaders in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries from all over Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) attended the first regional meeting of IndustriALL chemicals sector workers. The aim was to share and analyze the current trade union situation and labour relations and plan actions and activities on the problems that affect them.

Workers organized by sector, with strong national unions and sector level or company-wide collective agreements and social dialogue are essential to promote good labour relations and sustainable development

said IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan at the opening of the event.  

The meeting took place in São Paulo, Brazil on 8 – 9 October at the offices of IndustriALL’s affiliate FEQUIMFAR. Delegates assessed the sustainability of the chemicals industry and the challenges and opportunities it faces in relation to the trade union movement in Latin America and the organization of the sector at the regional and global levels.

IndustriALL is aiming to establish regular communication between all affiliates in the sector to facilitate the sharing of information on common challenges, solidarity and sector level campaigns in different contexts. Workers face threats to their basic rights, including the right to collective bargaining and many are working in precarious jobs, so unions need to become stronger and negotiate national and global collective employment contracts on the basis of global framework agreements.

Delegates agreed to concentrate on strengthening the sector and creating networks at company level to bring together workers and their unions from the different countries. This will help them understand the diversity of the context in which the movement is operating and encourage them to work together. 

Delegates also discussed an Action Plan for the sector including strategies and activities to improve tripartite dialogue with companies, governments and the ILO. They also backed IndustriALL’s Action Plan, which aims to continue organizing the sector and includes a second regional LAC sector meeting in 2016.  It was agreed to work towards empowering workers and promoting decent work, justice and social dialogue in the societies in which they work.

We want to discuss the problems that affect us. The sector has very specific characteristics, is very dynamic and developing quickly. This meeting provides an opportunity to get to know each other, see what each other is planning and find out what is happening in each country. We can explain our problems and analyze together the difficulties that we face, exploring the differences as well as the similarities. The most important thing is to discuss what we are going to do about the problems we face

said Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL Regional Secretary.