IndustriALL’s executive committee brought together hundreds of trade unionists online to discuss strategies, solutions and solidarity. Today’s meeting is the last one before IndustriALL’s third Congress in September, which will be entirely virtual.
IndustriALL president Jörg Hofmann, also president of German union IG Metall, opened the executive committee by remarking that Covid is a human rights crisis, as well as a health crisis.
“There needs to be fair vaccine access for everyone. No one is safe until everyone is safe. It’s not over until it’s over for everyone,” said Jörg Hofmann.
The pandemic has brought IndustriALL’s Congress forward a year, to September 2021, and preparations for the online event are under way. The technical platform will enable delegates to participate directly, vote and interact, and it will be possible for observers to follow and communicate on a separate platform. The executive committee voted on a number of recommendations for Congress, including on 40 per cent women’s participation.
The recommendation for IndustriALL’s action plan for 2021-2025 was unanimously approved, including a political resolution and the four strategic goals: advance worker’s’ rights, build stronger unions, confront global capital and promote sustainable industrial policies.
The executive committee heard from two candidates for general secretary; current assistant general secretary Atle Høie from Norway and current assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan from Turkey, Current general secretary Valter Sanches from Brazil will step down in September.
Valter Sanches, reported on the organization’s activities since the last executive committee in November 2020.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced workers around the world to find alternative ways to communicate, interact and work, becoming more reliant on digital solutions. IndustriALL has been active in strengthening affiliates’ digital capacity, providing technical equipment, reliable internet and digital meeting platforms.
As highlighted in the secretariat report, in the face of adversity, unions are still able to win. In Pakistan, homebased workers managed to get social protection benefits; in India, 1,257 workers got their jobs back after an eight-month long international union campaign; unions in Spain successfully defended jobs at Repsol; Canadian cement workers fought for justice and won; after an agreement with the employer, Colombian union Sintracarbón ended an historic strike; a union deal in the UK saved jobs at Rolls Royce.
Building strong unions remains central to IndustriALL’s activities, and the meeting approved to re-affiliation of the Nigerian Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Senior Staff Association – CANMPSSAN and the affiliation of the Argentinian Coordinación Nacional de Trabajadores/as de Industria de la CTA Autónoma.
In their report the executive committee, IndustriALL’s women’s committee reported on the continued fight against gender based violence and the promotion of ILO Convention 190. Training will be organized at sectoral, regional, national and workplace levels.
This year has seen increasing attacks on democracy in the Philippines, Belarus, and Myanmar. IndustriALL continues to support its affiliates in those countries in their fight for democracy, as well as in Haiti and Hong Kong.
The Philippines’ anti-terror law is used to attack social movement and trade unionists. In March, the vice chair of Pamantik-KMU, Dandy Miguel, was killed.
35,000 people have been arrested in Belarus since the rigged presidential elections in August last year. 300 unionists have been prosecuted and the offices of independent unions have been searched and vandalized.
Since the military took power in Myanmar in February, more than 700 people have been killed.
“There is no future, no rights, no freedom, and no prosperity under military rule. We need your support to restore democracy and to isolate the military junta within the country and internationally,” said Khaing Zar, president of Industrial workers’ federation of Myanmar.
The executive committee unanimously adopted a resolution on Myanmar, calling on companies to end commercial ties with military; on all affiliates to pressure governments for economic sanctions; on governments to recognize the new National Unity Government of Myanmar.
“For more than a year, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our world with enormous consequences for workers all around the world. IndustriALL will continue to defend workers’ right, fight violations and demand equitable access to vaccines for everyone,” said Valter Sanches.