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IUF Women's Conference meets

  Silvia Villaverde The 8th IUF Women Workers Conference was opened by IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald and Conference president Sylvia Villaverde (pictured), chair of the IUF women's committee. The General Secretary called on women delegates to be "key engines of change" and "to force the pace in bringing a far more equitable gender balance to all IUF structures". There was also a greeting from Sharran Burrow, President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), who also stressed the importance of ensuring adequate women's representation in IUF structures.

The first day's activities concentrated on information dissemination via panels and presentations of key issues that would be discussed in working groups on day two of the conference. These included:

  • work-life balance
  • work on maternity rights
  • the impact of global trade on women's employment in the agriculture and food sector with case studies
  • equal pay for work of equal value

This was followed by a presentation on the proposed international "diversity" agreement between the IUF and Danone.

The Conference agreed to call on the IUF Congress to support the campaign by Brazilian unions to prevent repetitive stain injuries in the poultry sector.

Photos of conference participants (click on photo for more details):


Day Two opened with presentations on developments in the hotel sector, especially the negative impact of outsourcing and a description of the IUF women's manual. Conference recommended that the IUF 25th Congress be made aware of the contents of the manual.

The IUF/GUF/ITUC pilot project with IRENE on organizing and protecting domestic workers was presented and a case study on organizing domestic workers and campaigning against child labour closed the morning session.

The Conference broke up into language-based working groups to discuss priority areas for IUF future gender work based on the earlier presentations. The draft resolution to the IUF 25th World Congress on women and employment was adopted with minor changes.

The Conference also discussed the proposed amendments on strengthening women's participation in the IUF Congress and Executive Committee. The proposed amendments were overwhelmingly supported and women AC members were given a clear mandate to ask the AC/Resolutions Committee to support these amendments.

The draft IUF policy on sexual harassment was discussed in some detail, especially the proposal to designate within IUF meetings a committee to deal with complaints. The paper was adopted by the Conference for transmission to the Congress.

The IUF women's conference was attended by 81 participants from 49 affiliated unions and six guests/observers.