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IndustriALL pulp and paper unions target multinationals

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5 September, 2016In order to build strength and coordination, the IndustriALL pulp, paper and packaging unions of South East Asia have established a new trade union network with an ambitious action plan. Two multinationals have specifically been identified for action, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Kimberly Clark (KC).

Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia on 30-31 August, the IndustriALL Global Union affiliates from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia and Thailand shared strategies and information before discussing how to build their new regional trade union network.

Participants chose Alex Millar of CFMEU Forestry, Furnishing Products and Pulp & Paper from Australia to serve as the network Chair. The network established a working structure, with contact points in the respective countries, communicating through new online tools.

Alex Millar said:
“I am humbled to be selected as Chair in a room full of leaders. No matter how badly governments and companies treat workers, there are always people who will stand up for workers. I look forward to working with you. I am sure that our network will continue to grow.”

Co-chair of this sector at IndustriALL, Leeann Foster of USW, explained to the meeting how the global work group is structured and its current action plan.

“I am so pleased your meeting is happening – it is part of our larger agenda for this global pulp and paper sector that we all live and work in. This is a truly global industry – made up of multinational corporations – so it is fundamental that IndustriALL be strong in all geographic areas where the pulp and paper industry operates.

“Many of these multinationals are anchored in the U.S. The United Steelworkers represents over 90,000 workers in the industry in the U.S. and we are ready to use our influence with those headquartered in the U.S. in solidarity with you.”

The newly adopted objectives of the network include organizing, supporting solidarity campaigns, addressing the issues of precarious work, women workers and health and safety. The network will also build a database of CBAs and conduct skill sharing and training.

IndustriALL research and industry officer, Tom Grinter said:

“This exciting group of young workers leaders have set an ambitious work plan for the new network. We will continue to conduct mapping of pulp, paper and packaging unions in the region, conduct regular meetings and work together to build union power.”

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan saluted the work of the new network.

“We now have a regional trade union network in Latin America and South East Asia for this important industrial sector. IndustriALL will support our affiliates’ in expanding their work at APP and KC.”