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Defending employment standards and trade union rights in the face of outsourcing and casualization

Congress passed this resolution:

The 25th IUF Congress meeting in Geneva, March 19-22, 2007

NOTES WITH CONCERN the increased use of precarious employment practices by employers in all IUF sectors throughout the world, involving:

· outsourcing, contracting-out or subcontracting;
· casualization, contractualization or fixed-term contracts;
· use of labour agencies or labour-only hiring;
· hiring of temporary or contingent workers;
· abuse of seasonal and probationary employment and traineeships;
· falsely designating workers as “self-employed” or “independent” contractors.
FURTHER NOTES that these precarious employment arrangements are used to:
· undermine workers’ collective interests by attempting to divide workers and
undermine union strength in the workplace;
· evade employer responsibility;
· deny workers the right to employment security;
· deprive a growing number of workers of the benefits won by trade unions,
including decent wages and safe working conditions;
· undermine the employment standards and employment security of union
· roll back decades of trade union gains.
In this context the Congress RECOGNIZES that precarious employment practices
are a trade union rights issue, having a direct and far-reaching impact on union
membership levels and the collective bargaining power of trade unions.
Congress also NOTES that in many countries governments are complicit in this
assault on trade union rights and collective bargaining power by implementing
changes to laws and regulations that encourage the long-term abuse of precarious
employment practices, thereby dismantling the legal right to employment security.
The 25th Congress therefore CALLS UPON affiliates in all IUF sectors to:
· take a pro-active stance in confronting the spread of outsourcing, casualization
and other precarious employment practices by treating this as an assault on
trade union rights;
· educate their members about the threat posed by precarious employment
arrangements and the need to organize those workers hired under such
Item 16: Draft Resolutions / 31
IUF 25th Congress, Geneva, March 19-22, 2007
· negotiate restrictions on precarious employment arrangements in the
workplace and incorporate ‘best practice’ clauses in Collective Bargaining
· intervene politically to resist changes to laws and regulations that facilitate the
expansion of precarious employment and, where such changes have already
been introduced, mobilize to exert pressure on governments to introduce laws
that restrict precarious employment and protect the right to employment
· communicate information on precarious employment practices, employer
strategies, collective bargaining gains and organizing victories to the IUF
Secretariat so that this can be shared with all affiliates on a regular basis;
· actively participate in the global campaigns and international solidarity actions
against outsourcing and casuzalization coordinated by the IUF Secretariat,
especially where common employers or employers that are standard-setters in
the industry are targetted.
Congress also MANDATES the IUF Secretariat to:
· facilitate the exchange of information between affiliates concerning
company/employer practices, best practice clauses in Collective Bargaining
Agreements, bargaining wins, and campaign victories against precarious
· assist affiliates in developing political strategies to fight for legal changes that
will restrict precarious employment and defend employment security and trade
union rights;
· provide strategic support to affiliates that are organizing workers employed
under precarious work arrangements and campaigning to defend their right to
join unions;
· develop educational tools and organizing resources (similar to the IUF manual,
Outsourcing & Casualization in the Food & Beverage Industry: The Threat to
Workers and Unions & Union Strategies for Fighting Back) relevant for each
IUF sector;
· coordinate global strategic organizing and global campaigns specifically
targetting the use of precarious employment practices by common
employers/transnational companies that are industry leaders;
· incorporate restrictions on precarious employment practices in negotiations
with transnational companies;
· continue and expand global organizing initiatives such as CAFE, targetting the
outsourced workforce in IUF sectors;
· increase the capacity of the Secretariat to research, monitor and target those
labour hiring agencies, subcontractors, logistics firms, and service-providers
that are becoming significant employers in the IUF sectors.