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Strengthening global solidarity to protect health and safety, jobs and income of our members

18 June, 2020In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, IndustriALL’s Executive Committee brought trade union representatives from around the world together online to reiterate the demand for a just and better future.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the deepest economic crisis since World War II and is having a catastrophic effect on people. In his opening remarks, president Jörg Hofmann said that in the face of the pandemic we will not allow to be split from one another.

“The crisis is impacting trade union activities and is being used to roll back the rights we fought to have. The strength of IndustriALL is based on the strength of its members, on their negotiations, campaigns and other actions. We must stand together, as the majority of the 3.3 billion workers worldwide are worried about their existence and future.”

The International Labour Organization is predicting that by July this year, 300 million formal jobs will have been lost, even more in the informal economy.

The pandemic shows how vulnerably global supply chains are and that multinational companies have a particular responsibility. IndustriALL affiliates spoke about the impact for their members as auto manufacturers in the UK are dismissing thousands, on continued corporate neglect in the global garment industry, how Italy has been brought to a more or less complete standstill, how India is badly hit with a government trying to push through amendments to labour laws at workers’ expense and migrant workers are trying to get back home without any food or transportation.

In his report to the Executive Committee on the impact of Covid-19 on IndustriALL’s sectors, general secretary Valter Sanches said that IndustriALL is working with global unions, national unions and sector level unions to ensure that workers are protected.

“We see our affiliates fighting against the negative impacts of Covid-19, defending the health and safety, jobs and income of their members. And at the same time, unions work with companies to reconvert production facilities to  manufacture goods mostly needed in the frontline of care, like ventilators and hand sanitizers.”

And unions are fighting back against governments, like those of Hungary, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Philippines, who are taking advantage of the crisis to crack down on democracy, human rights, workers’ rights and trade unions. 

“You all participated in the campaign to release Soy Sros, the union leader who was jailed in Cambodia for speaking up for her members, and it shows that international solidarity works.

“This week we launched another campaign to defend workers’ rights in India. We need unity and struggle for a just and better future.”

The Executive Committee unanimously adopted a political statement on Covid-19, as well as a resolution for a campaign on brands in the textile and garment industry.

IndustriALL’s Womens Committee met the day before the Executive Committee, and in the report, co-chair Monica Veloso stressed that women must be included in all aspects of the union:

“The current pandemic affects women in hardest times, at the same time they are underrepresented in unions. Unions have to fight for women’s rights and for gender equality. Governments are not providing enough guarantees that women can work without suffering harassment. More governments urgently need to ratify ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work.”

In face of the pandemic and its risks, the Executive Committee unanimously decided to postpone IndustriALL’s third Congress one year, until September 2021. The current mandates (executive committee, internal auditors, president, vice presidents and leadership) will be extended accordingly. The mandates of the two Congress preparatory working groups (statutes/finances/sustainable structures and action plan) were also extended.