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Towards IndustriALL’s third Congress: “Amandla Awethu – United for a Just Future”

The IndustriALL Global Union executive committee, meeting in Geneva on 21-22 November, considered preparations for the third Congress in Cape Town 2020, which will send a strong message to the world about the strength and unity of the global movement.

Delegates analysed the proposals of the two preparatory working groups for the Congress: on Action Plan and Political Resolution and on Statutes, Finances and Sustainable Structures. In the upcoming period affiliates will be invited to submit their proposals for the above, and nominations for leadership positions.

The executive committee resolved to campaign for the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 190, following a recommendation from the strong World Women’s Conference on 18-19 November.
The decision was made after introductions by assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft and women’s committee co-chair Eva Arcos. Arcos reported on the inspiring women’s conference, which saw more than 200 women from 60 countries demand a transformative agenda to address discrimination, violence and harassment in the workplace and in our unions.

Holdcroft spoke about the ongoing global crisis of violence against women, and the power of ILO Convention 190 as an instrument to fight it. She called on the executive committee to campaign for the ratification of the Convention. The resolution passed unanimously.

IndustriALL president Jörg Hofmann reminded delegates of the global retreat from democratic values, trade wars, a shift in production due to Industry 4.0, and climate change.

“We need strong and united workers’ organizations to confront the challenges ahead of us. Failure is not an option. We have to be positive, face challenges, pool our resources and bring all the forces of trade unions together with civil society for the challenges of the future,”

he said.
General secretary Valter Sanches reported on the work of the organization in a challenging context: the combination of low growth and growing inequality is explosive, and there are people on the streets in Hong Kong, Algeria, Haiti, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, Chile and elsewhere. Although each uprising has a local cause, the movements are united by a common understanding that freedom, democracy, social protection and the environment are threatened.
Sanches thanked the affiliates for their steadfast support for Lula during his 580 days in prison.

“His release is the first step to restoring democracy in Brazil, and your solidarity was crucial,”

he said.
Assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan spoke about IndustriALL’s involvement in the UN climate change conference, and the importance of unions engaging in these discussions to ensure that there is a Just Transition.

“Corporations will fail to deliver what is required unless we put pressure on them.”

Vice-president Anna Fendley said,

“We represent industries that are uniquely affected by changes to meet climate emissions targets. We have power here. We can act on the climate crisis.”

Özkan introduced a discussion on binding global instruments to ensure corporate social responsibility. The meeting discussed global framework agreements, which need to be living instruments, not just words on paper. The commitment of home country unions is essential.

IndustriALL will join other global unions in dedicating Human Rights Day on 10 December to The Philippines, where President Duterte’s war on drugs has killed 27,000 people.

At least 43 trade unionists have been killed.

The executive committee approved the affiliation of the following unions:

  • Union Algérienne des Industries – UAI
  • Kenya Union of Hair & Beauty Workers – KUHABWO
  • Union of Practical Engineers and Technicians Histadrut – UPET
  • Industry Workers’ Union of Russia – IWU
  • Union Syndicale des Travailleurs de Guinée – USTG

The meeting also passed a resolution in support of NUMSA members striking at South African Airways.

A side meeting was held on organizing white collar workers, and a new guide was introduced.


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