Unions representing workers from over 60% of Nestlé’s plants throughout the Asia-Pacific region started a three-day meeting today in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was also attended by Jörg Lindner of the German Food and Hotel Workers, the NGG, which acts at the IUF’s global coordinating union for Nestlé.
The meeting which is part of a new global Nestlé project which the IUF has launched with the support of the Freidrich Ebert Foundation and the global IUF coordinating union, the IUF’s German affiliate, the NGG, started with a clear and determined message from IUF general secretary Ron Oswald. “The world’s largest food company must make it clear that it will respect internationally recognized rights for its workers throughout the Nestlé system. The only legitimate and credible way it can do so is jointly with the IUF as the global trade union federation that represents so many Nestlé workers around the world.
The meeting heard a detailed description of global Nestlé business and social policies and delegates began the process of sharing information to establish the basis for continued common approaches and strategies in the Asia/Pacific region.
The meeting also heard of IUF experiences in other companies which had moved considerably ahead of Nestlé in agreeing and signing common platforms with the IUF, recognizing minimum social standards throughout those companies. In particular the example of Fonterra, the global New Zealand-based dairy company, was looked at closely and examples of the IUF/Fonterra global rights agreement were distributed. Delegates watched a video/CD/DVD presentation of the background to this agreement and the signing that took place in New Zealand earlier this year.
Delegates at the meeting ended their first day by joining Shangri-La Hotel workers demonstrating at the hotel. 80 workers remain illegally locked out since December 2000. Regional president Greg Sword expressed total support and confirmed that this total IUF support would continue until a fair and just settlement to the conflict was found. To read the latest about the Shangri-La conflict click here.