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JYRKI RAINA: Welcome to Global Worker

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2 December, 2014Building the organizing and campaigning capacity of unions is at the heart of IndustriALL Global Union’s agenda. Recent mobilizations demonstrate the power of global solidarity.

This Global Worker looks at a number of key union battles on organizing, union rights and living wages. A strategic approach is important for success - and coalition building, supply chain pressure, corporate research and a media strategy are some of the essential elements. But it is global worker solidarity that makes all the difference.

Incorporating all these factors in a campaign with our partners led to a victory against Dutch electronics supplier NXP in the Philippines. The company, which produces parts for the iPhone 6, fired 24 elected union officials for taking time off on national holidays. But powerful local action in the Philippines, social media flagging the labour rights flaw in the new iPhone model, 150,000 petitions to Apple and demonstrations at its stores in the US, turned this union-busting attack into a triumph for IndustriALL affiliate the Metalworkers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP).

In union-hostile southern US states, the United Autoworkers (UAW) is using new tactics to organize workers at foreign-owned car plants. German affiliate IG Metall is using its influence to ensure neutrality at Volkswagen in Tennessee and Mercedes operations in Alabama. Japanese unions joined an IndustriALL solidarity mission to Mississippi, pledging continued solidarity with the Nissan workers’ organizing drive and pressing global management to ensure neutrality.

IndustriALL’s campaign to STOP Precarious Work on 7 October saw the biggest ever participation by affiliates around the world in rallies, human chains, press conferences and public speeches.

For the first time, IndustriALL used a social media tool called Thunderclap to ensure that the message to STOP Precarious Work resonated around the world.

1,592 supporters sent out the same message at the same time on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, reaching an amazing 1,194,792 people.

But the campaign continues every day of the year to limit precarious work through legislation and collective agreements. Check our new guidebook Negotiating Security for bargaining victories by our affiliates.

‘The world needs a pay rise’ says International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow. IndustriALL, together with ITUC and UNI Global Union are targeting a number of countries to raise minimum wages to the level of living wages.

Together with our NGO partners, the three global unions have organized two worldwide action days this year in support of the Cambodian garment workers’ fight for a living wage. In an unprecedented move, leading multinational clothing brands wrote to the government and employers in September, supporting the unions’ demands and promising to increase their purchasing prices accordingly.

Sharan Burrow sets a target of 20 million new union members by 2018. In the IndustriALL family we will do our share of organizing and building global union power for social and economic justice.

Jyrki Raina

General Secretary