Congress backs new plan for power

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Delegates today backed a new way to build union strength using four ‘levers of power’:

  • Consolidating hubs and corridors
  • Influencing lead industry players
  • Activating mass membership
  • Following geographic shifts

Assistant general secretary Stuart Howard explained the strategy: “These are the do or die issues, by focusing our energy on these levers the ITF family will build real muscle in all transport sectors, in all parts of the world.”

Activists spoke about how the four levers will make their unions stronger.

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Steve Turner

Steve Turner from Unite the Union, UK said that it was time to develop new models. “My union has been working closely with the ITF to build relationships between dockworkers and other workers in the port area. The ITF is taking this new organising approach around the world,” he said.

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Tony Sheldon

“We must target the real employers in our industry, often it’s not transport firms calling the shots,” explained Tony Sheldon, national secretary of Australia’s Transport Workers Union. “Our Safe Rates campaign holds big retailers responsible for truck drivers’ working conditions. Now we need to target the lead industry players globally.”

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Simon Sang

Simon Sang, leader of the Dock Workers Union, Kenya told delegates that “a few years ago we made a big effort reach out to women and young workers in the Port of Mombasa. This gave our union energy, and the strength to fight privatisation”.

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Iván De La Guardia

Iván De La Guardia from Unión de Capitanes y Oficiales de Cubierta, Panama concluded by focusing on geographic shifts. “Panama is investing heavily in multimodal infrastructure, but we have to fight poor labour standards. As we build unions in all transport sectors, the ITF’s international solidarity will be a vital source of support.”

Find out more about four levers in the congress theme document.

Date: 
11 August 2014