Tough conflicts have marked the IUF engagement with Unilever, but the process has brought tangible results. On the eve of the meeting the IUF and its members at Unilever’s Kecap Bango joint venture in Subang, Indonesia secured over 600 new direct, permanent jobs for casual and contract workers after a lengthy struggle.
Tensions are inevitable, because the two sides bring different demands and expectations to the process. The latest meeting brought a deepening and widening of the agenda which is positive, and which could serve as a model for other transnational companies.
IUF general secretary Ron Oswald, representatives of IUF affiliates, representatives from the general and regional secretariats and a representative of IndustriAll met with corporate and regional management in London on March 5 to continue our engagement on key issues. While the core issue remains trade union rights and the denial of these rights in cases which threaten to spill over into sharp confrontation, the agenda has widened to include precarious work and the outsourcing of production, gender equality and global and health and safety policy.
Members of the IUF-affiliated Independent Union of Kecap Bango Workers (SPMKB) show their solidarity with the strikes and protest actions of the FNV Bondgenoten in the Netherlands, where the union is demanding decent transfer conditions for workers being outsourced to Sodexo.