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Rio de Janeiro calling – A luta continua!

29 June, 2016In October, more than 1,000 union leaders from all five continents will gather to Rio de Janeiro for the second congress of IndustriALL Global Union, to take a number of important decisions, but also to show our support for Brazilian unions.

Preparations for IndustriALL Global Union’s second congress are in full swing. Our 600 affiliated unions have just received a number of documents to prepare themselves for this major event.

Congress is the highest decision-making body of IndustriALL. It approves an action plan, resolutions and statutory changes, and elects a new leadership and executive committee for the organization.

We chose to hold the second IndustriALL congress in Brazil, which has one of the strongest trade union movements in Latin America. This strength has been built through struggle, after years of military dictatorship.

During the past decade, Brazilian unions have managed to win considerable wage increases through united action by different trade union centers. The socially progressive policies of presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff helped lift 40 million people out of poverty.

Now the country finds itself in political and economic turmoil. In May, IndustriALL’s executive committee passed a resolution expressing its solidarity with the Brazilian people by strongly rejecting the ongoing coup in the country. The new government has already begun to dismantle the social policy achievements of the past years. 

Therefore, we will also be present in Brazil to show our support for democracy and for the Brazilian workers and their unions. 

When the IndustriALL family gathers in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate its first four years of action and victories, it will also debate our future strategies and continued global struggle for better lives for workers and their families.

With our unification, we wanted to launch a new era of global solidarity to ensure that every worker has the right to join a union freely and get the protection of a collective agreement with living wages, reasonable working hours, and a safe and healthy workplace. 

In a globalized world plagued by increasing inequality, greed, poverty, unemployment and social injustice, we knew that we needed to grow our force and work together across national borders more than ever.

As only 7 per cent of the world’s workforce is organized in free and independent unions, our absolute priority has been organizing and union growth to strengthen our legitimacy as the voice of the working people. IndustriALL’s union building projects have helped our affiliates organize hundreds of thousands of workers into unions, and create an organizing culture.

We wanted IndustriALL to be an organizing and campaigning union. Every week we have taken action against companies and governments that want to deny workers their fundamental rights. We have built union networks, fought to stop precarious work, and launched work on just transition after the Paris climate agreement.

In Rio de Janeiro, the IndustriALL Global Union family will vow to continue to push for societies based on democracy and economic and social justice in the spirit of our Congress slogan Fighting Forward – A Luta Continua!

Jyrki Raina

General Secretary