Global energy unions move against unfair labour practices

NUPENGEluonye Konyegwuaehi

07 June 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – NO fewer than 250 union leaders from 45 countries including Nigeria have adopted plan of action for the next four years reinforcing unity and fighting back against similar anti-worker tactics throughout the world.

They adopted this an ambitious and vibrant plan at IndustriALL Global Union’s World Conference for the Energy Industries,

Hosted by IndustriALL’s two affiliates FITAG-UGT and Industria-CC.OO., the Conference made an extensive debate over the five strategic goals of the global union which were endorsed by the Executive Committee. Delegates reported similar stories from all five continents of trade unionists in the industry being undermined by precarious work, aggressive liberalization, unsafe work and union busting.

“Unions in the industry are fighting back”, IndustriALL General Secretary Raina told delegates in his opening address. “Every day is a campaigning day for IndustriALL Global Union”.

Spain’s Secretary of State for Energy Alberto Nadal addressed the conference in its opening session, giving importance to developed industrial relations with IndustriALL’s Spanish affiliates.

The country’s highest energy official told delegates: “Energy should be a universal right for all. Without cheap energy, there is not development, and without secure energy, no economic growth. Energy is the base of all economies”.

The conference sought to analyse and develop progressive energy policies that fully take into account the interests of workers faced with rapid change in national energy policies and structures, and ensure change is managed through a process of “Just Transition.” The energy industry plays a key role in IndustriALL’s worldwide initiative of “Sustainable Industrial Policy”, particularly with its close connection with manufacturing sectors as well as sustainability matters.

In addition to the action plan, the Conference unanimously passed five emergency resolutions, issuing urgent solidarity and support for UWUA members under attack in the US by FirstEnergy; in Iraq where an inspirational trade union leader has received death threats against her family; in Indonesia where Pertamina management is acting with impunity and ignoring a court ruling to punish workers for organizing; in Australia where oil giant Chevron is union busting the MUA; and extending solidarity to the Mexican union of electricity workers.

The delegates also applauded IndustriALL’s close cooperation in the energy sector with other sister global unions, PSI and ITF, to advance alliances in the supply chain.

New co-chairs of the sector were elected by delegates in line with the new policy of IndustriALL whereby each industrial sector will be jointly chaired by one woman and one man. The new co-chairs of the energy sector are Apsorn Krissanasmit of Thailand and Leif Sande of Norway.

The Conference also formed an Action Group to handle the day-to-day work of the sector.

The make-up of the group again reflects the regional, sub-sectorial and gender balance in the industry: Gwenne Farrell of Canada, Linda McCulloch of Workers’ Uniting, Jean-François Renucci of France, Lev Mironov of Russia, Kaoru Kishimoto of Japan, Pablo Emilio Santos Nieto of Colombia, Jorge Fierro Andrade of Chile, Abdelmajid Matoual of Morocco, Aly Al-Adwani of Kuwait, Ady Lombume of Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mfanawelisontfo Dlamini of Swaziland.

Concluding the Conference, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan stated: “The very high quality discussions, energy, enthusiasm of energy industry comrades from five continents will make IndustriALL a genuine global trade union power in this centrally important industry.”

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