A new global trade union federation took a step nearer to reality recently. Unions affiliated to the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF); the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) and the International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF) met to continue an examination of how to unify the world’s industrial workers into one global union federation and create a merged organisation.
Task force members of the three Global Union Federations (GUFs) from five continents confirmed the rationale of creating a united voice of the industrial and manufacturing workers of the world, and a strong counter-power to major transnational corporations.
The international unions want to underline the role of manufacturing industry as the driving force of national economies and as a creator of quality jobs with decent working conditions and trade union rights.
The task force heard the reports from the working groups on statutes and finances, and discussed in detail the decision-making, regional and sectoral structures of a possible new Global Union Federation. The next meeting will be on May 5 in Frankfurt, Germany, to finalise a proposal.
“By creating a new International and combining our strengths we believe we can do more to mobilize workers, defend trade union rights, and organize unorganised workers throughout supply chains into strong and self-reliant unions. Together we can create a powerful counterpart to transnational corporations and fight more forcefully for good quality industrial jobs and against precarious forms of employment” they said in a statement.
The need for one industrial and manufacturing global federation has apparent for some time. Much of the work of these three global federations overlaps. Global corporations covering a number of industries, not to mention the global financial corporations owning many of them has meant that each of the federations duplicates such work as research, campaigning and health and safety.
By combining resources the new global federation will gain greater visibility and impact, provide better service to affiliates and become more relevant to millions of workers – those organised into unions and those outside of the union movement.
Discussions of a similar nature are taking place between the European federations, the EMF, EMCEF, ETUF.
Both sets of mergers are a positive step in fighting back against global capital.