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Materials unions intensify global solidarity

18 November, 2013Around 80 union delegates of 18 countries from all continents representing glass, cement and ceramics workers attended IndustriALL’s World Conference for the Materials Industries in Bangkok, Thailand on 12-13 November to discuss a wide range issues.

The Bangkok Conference examined recent developments in the materials industries, and discussed the severe challenges that unions face, particularly job losses, deterioration in working conditions and the future of employment in the sectors. Particular attention was given to the campaign that the European trade unions conducted for the survival of the glass industry.

The delegates precarious work as one of the most threatening practices for workers in the materials industries all over the world on the basis of experiences and lessons learnt, and decided to pledge full support to IndustriALL’s worldwide fight to STOP Precarious Work. Health and safety issues were also debated with particular emphasis on occupational diseases in the sector.

Trade union networks and global framework agreements were also on the agenda of the meeting, and delegates underlined the importance of networking in multinational companies dominating materials sectors, such as Holcim, Lafarge, Saint Gobain, Asahi Glass, Nippon Sheet Glass and Owens Ilinois (O-I).

IndustriALL’s organizing and campaigning programme through experiences from Asia was intensely discussed. Sustainable industrial policy in the materials industries was part of the presentations and panels. The Future of sectors and employees were focused in the context of sustainability.

All working men and women deserve a clean and safe workplace; respect and fair treatment from their employer

said Newton B. Jones, Chairman of the IndustriALL Global Union’s Materials Industries Section, also International President of Boilermakers.

Today, by necessity, we commit to global unity.  We join hands.  We link arms.  And we stand together with our newly-formed federation of International labor unions as the IndustriALL Global Union.

He continued

To conclude, the delegates discussed and unanimously adopted an action plan for the sector covering the upcoming four years. The action plan includedthe following:

  • promote more effectively international solidarity and cooperation among workers in multinational companies and their supply/value added chains;
  • fight precarious work in all it’s forms;
  • support and reinforce organizing efforts and activities of affiliates in multinational companies and their supply chains;
  • integrate more women and young people into the work;
  • continue the work on multinational company strategy, including global networks and global framework agreements;
  • promote a sustainable industrial policy in the materials industries sector.

The Conference elected new leadership for the Section. Newton B. Jones of the Boilermakers of North America was re-elected as Chairperson while Rosemeire Theodoro dos Santos of CNQ-CUT of Brazil became Vice-Chairperson. Along with this, the delegates decided to create a Steering Committee where Peter Schuld from IG BCE of Germany, and Bambang Surjono from FSP-KEP of Indonesia will work together with the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson.

“The delegates in the Bangkok Conference made very good discussions and adopted an action plan in line with IndustriALL’s general strategies”

said Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL’s Assistant General Secretary.