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Indian auto and garment workers move to strengthen union power


IndustriALL South Asia Office organized consecutive workshops for auto sector workers on 28-29 July, and for garment workers on 26-27 July in Chennai, focusing on strengthening union power.

In the workshop on collective bargaining for auto sector workers, union representatives from leading automobile original equipment manufacturing (OEM) units from the Chennai and Bengaluru automotive clusters participated actively, sharing collective bargaining practices and workers’ welfare benefits policies of the respective companies.

Ways to access and understand corporate information was shared, with participants underlining that increasing the union’s capacity to understand corporate information is important to appropriately frame the unions’ charter of demands, strengthen bargaining power and to contribute to the growth of the organization.

Trade union representatives from automotive units including BMW, Hyundai Motors, Volvo, Ashok Leyland, Ford, Daimler, Royal Enfield, Bosch and Hindustan Motors participated in the workshop. Union leaders decided to enhance information sharing and cooperation among unions in the auto sector.

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About 25 women garment union leaders participated in the workshop on organizing and union building. The workshop witnessed enthusiastic participation of garment union leaders, where they developed plans to address various practical difficulties involved in union organising efforts at the factory level. The workshop focused on strategies to organise and build union power.

Participants shared challenges they face when organizing workers. Though participants came from different geographical locations, experiences were very similar, and they decided to intensify organising efforts and take advantage of international instruments including IndustriALL’s global framework agreements.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary said:

during this series of workshops for the auto sector and garment workers we saw enthusiastic participation from our union leaders. We hope that the workshops have strengthened the capacity to build stronger unions. We are sure that increased information sharing, cooperation among the union leaders and enhanced use of international instruments will contribute to building union power and defend workers rights.


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