“The Next Five Years” – the Secretariat mandates from the 27th IUF Congress

Women Workers Issues

Against this background it is therefore suggested that the IUF and its affiliates should closely monitor the implementation of the IUF Action program and reinforce the focus on the following issues as organizing priorities for the next five years:

  • Prevention and tackling of gender based violence in all its forms;
  • Women workers’ networks within TNCs to reinforce women’s bargaining power on local, national and international levels;
  • Equal access to jobs for men and women as a means towards pay equity;
  • Women’s health and safety at work;
  • Extension of social protection to all workers including maternity benefits;
  • Continued promotion of C183 on maternity protection as a minimum standard in collective agreements;
  • Campaigning for affordable, accessible and quality child care facilities;
  • Continued training of women as leaders, organizers, negotiators, safety representatives and educators;
  • Continued support to increase women’s membership and representation in union structures and leadership positions.


  • Strengthen work in the international priority crops, bananas, palm oil, sugar and tea;
  • Restore and increase work in the cut flower sector focussing on building the capacity of unions to organise and represent flower workers;
  • Maintain as an international priority work on occupational health and safety in agriculture, especially:
    • campaigning to ban the most toxic pesticides
    • prevention of and action against sexual harassment
    • ensuring access to potable water in the workplace
    • work on agro-ecology
    • work on AMR
    • campaigning for the ratification and implementation of ILO C184 on safety and health in agriculture;
  • Continue the work to eliminate child labour in agriculture;
  • As proposed by the AWTG 6th World Conference, convene a global conference of unions representing workers in cocoa growing and processing/chocolate.

Beverages – soft drinks

For its ongoing TNC work in Coca-Cola and PepsiCo for 2018-2022 the Secretariat proposes the following future action:

  • Organize and strengthen global union density within the soft drinks industry in particular within Coca-Cola and PepsiCo;
  • Further develop and strengthen the network of the Coca-Cola Workers’ Alliance, supporting the development of new independent unions and the growth of existing unions by creating and maintaining a safe space in which unions can develop;
  • Expand on the work of the Coca-Cola Workers’ Alliance by developing concrete measures to protect workers within Coca-Cola and its major independent bottler system;
  • Build up and expand the work on gender equality throughout the Coca-Cola system, creating an environment for women to develop and achieve their full potential and enforcing/implementing policies that support them at work;
  • Develop and strengthen the process of engagement between an international team of IUF Coca-Cola affiliates and corporate Coca-Cola Company management (known today as “the Atlanta Process” and use the strength and solidarity within the Alliance to actively promote, defend and protect the rights of trade union members;
  • Continue to highlight and fight against trade union rights abuses within the Coca-Cola system, strengthen the IUF’s role and influence at the “Atlanta Process” and develop alliances with international organizations and NGOs;
  • Significantly increase pressure on both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and their supply chains to implement and adhere to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights;
  • Strengthen the PepsiCo and Frito-Lay Unions Network through organizing and growing union density within PepsiCo operations;
  • Continue to seek an engagement with corporate PepsiCo management that recognises that the IUF and its affiliates represent a significant number of PepsiCo workers internationally constantly monitoring and defending access to rights throughout PepsiCo and its supply chain and that we will do so either through some form of engagement with the company or exclusively through ongoing public action;
  • Monitor and organize within any growth of other emerging soft drinks manufacturers that might grow in the space currently occupied by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Beverages – breweries

Working through the facilitator group brewery affiliates will be further engaged strengthening the division’s activities initially through conference calls, networked communications, the brewery web platform (www.beerworkers.org) and a future wider meeting of brewery affiliates.


  • Building strong international union organization within the major transnational companies
  • Supporting affiliates in any and all union rights struggles in the sector
  • Working towards formulating joint demands towards each company
  • Demanding respect and global responsibility for trade union and workers’ rights
  • Seeking international union recognition from major brewery transnationals
  • Increasing union density in the brewery sector globally

Dairy Division

The Dairy Division will continue to demand a fair deal for dairy workers in the universal fight for safe, secure and well-paid jobs. The division will, amongst other activities:

  • Organize and build power in key dairy TNCs through:
    • Continuing to map union density and strength company by company and country by country;
    • Maintaining and building formal relationships with TNCs to protect the rights of members and potential members and to create space to organize more workers into unions;
    • Maintaining and strengthening international union alliances within Danone, Fonterra, Arla and Saputo and establish new functioning union alliances within other TNCs commencing with Lactalis;
    • Strengthening and consolidating the work of the Dairy Division Steering Group in setting organizing targets and monitoring and encouraging progress.

Share information including current collective bargaining agreements online on the IUF collective bargaining agreement platform;

  • Promote gender equality and enhance opportunities for young workers in the dairy sector and within dairy unions;
  • Fight trade and investment agreements and agitate for dairy supply management systems country by country and globally to reduce commodity price volatility and promote stable and secure jobs;
  • Build union and community alliances to fight low wages and rights abuses on farms and in other sectors of dairy supply chains;


Fisheries and aquaculture

Seafood workers increasingly join the struggle and we intend to develop in the next Congress period a global campaign for sustainable fisheries by:

  • Exposing brutal treatment of fisheries workers in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, USA, etc.;
  • Engaging with governments and intergovernmental organizations on fighting illegal, unreported and undocumented fishing;
  • Continuing our campaign on promoting permanent, sustainable employment and safe workplaces, linked to sustainability and food safety;
  • Extending cooperation with other organisations to develop long-term strategies on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture;
  • Practical support to the local organising initiatives and campaigns in fish and seafood growing and production at a maximum possible extent;
  • Consolidation of the efforts of fish and seafood workers at the national, regional and international level within a fish/seafood division within the IUF;
  • Intensified advocacy for enforceable international standards which will help to remove the numerous obstacles for organising of seafood and fish workers at various levels:
    • To eliminate child and forced labour;
    • To directly link human rights and environmental crime (IUU fishing concept) in the international trade regulations;
    • To develop state policies on the effective raise in occupational health and safety standards in fish/seafood processing and aquaculture.

Food processing


In the event Mondelēz remains as viable food processing company the Secretariat proposes to:

  • Strengthen international union organization and communication amongst IUF affiliates with Mondelēz membership;
  • Solidify Mondelēz “manifesto” with affiliate feedback and seek endorsement to use publicly;
  • Engage in rolling ground and digital action building on the 2017 Mondelēz Week of Action;
  • Support affiliates in fighting factory closures and production transfers.

Kraft Heinz

  • Continue researching Kraft Heinz and majority shareholders 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway with IUF affiliate assistance;
  • Determine additional points of leverage;
  • Continue building effective international union organization within Kraft Heinz and maintaining regular communication between IUF affiliates with Kraft Heinz membership;
  • Help affiliates to develop a politically effective critique of Kraft Heinz and its business model to take to a wider public;
  • Support affiliates in fighting factory closures and production transfers.


  • Continue engaging Nestlé management over access to trade union rights in North America;
  • Continue negotiations on a joint policy to promote equality at Nestlé at all levels;
  • Support affiliates’ efforts to convert precarious employment into permanent jobs through local collective bargaining and engagement with corporate management;
  • Support affiliates in dealing with cost-cutting and productivity-enhancement measures, new technologies and processes;
  • Support affiliates in fighting factory closures and production transfers;
  • Continue building and strengthening international union organization within Nestlé and maintaining regular communication between IUF affiliates with membership at Nestlé.


In its ongoing work at Unilever the Secretariat proposes to continue to seek to build effective international union organization at the company to:

  • Support affiliates’ organizing at non-union facilities and recruiting new members;
  • Strengthen collective bargaining;
  • Promote the conversion of precarious to permanent employment contracts through local collective bargaining and international engagement with corporate management;
  • Promote equality at all levels by building on the 2016 agreement on sexual harassment at the workplace;
  • Expand the scope for union action and organizing in Unilever’s supply chain.


In its ongoing work at Danone the Secretariat proposes to:

  • Continue to promote the IUF-Danone Agreements amongst affiliates;
  • Engage with Danone with a view to re-negotiating the agreement on trade union rights;
  • Support affiliates’ efforts to convert precarious employment into permanent jobs through local collective bargaining based on the IUF-Danone Agreement;
  • Support affiliates in dealing with the effects of cost-cutting measures and new structures and processes;
  • Continue building and strengthening international union organization within Danone and maintaining regular communication between IUF affiliates with membership at Danone.

Food processing Division

The IUF proposes that a Food processing Division would, amongst other activities:

  • Organize (internally and externally) and fight to win recognition from a critical mass of food processing companies to gain new space for union organizing and bargaining within the TNCs which are driving these highly destructive trends, including their supply chains;
  • Build, strengthen and support equality platforms within TNCs in the food processing division;
  • Continue the fight for the conversion of precarious to permanent employment;
  • Support affiliates in combating declining or stagnant wages;
  • Encourage and support union activity to strengthen workplace health and safety, including political initiatives to strengthen regulatory protections;
  • Educate, agitate and assist affiliates to organize for political action to roll back the financial dynamic which is driving consolidation in the sector;
  • Support affiliates in fighting closures, outsourcing, production transfers and social dumping;
  • Provide ongoing support to organizing to protect the rights of migrant workers.

Hotel, Restaurants, Catering and Tourism Trade Group

Business and leisure hotels

  • Support affiliates in all ways possible to build strong union membership locally;
  • Create functioning networks of affiliates within a growing number of major hotel brands;
  • Negotiate improved agreements which enhance workers’ ability to access and exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • Negotiate agreements with international management around key issues such as sexual harassment, equality and diversity, health and safety and limits to casualization and outsourcing;
  • Negotiate with those brands improved standards for hotel housekeepers built around the objectives of our Global Housekeeping Campaign;
  • Increase our understanding of franchise contracts notably around the absence or presence of binding language around human rights issues;
  • Leverage OECD Guidelines obligations to secure enhanced commitments from brands regarding their responsibility for workers in franchised and managed properties.

Hotel Casino Resorts

  • Increase our understanding and initiatives on Hotel Casino Resorts to support affiliates’ struggles and ongoing organizing efforts;
  • Build active networks of affiliate representatives within the sector and in regular communication across borders;
  • Coordinate collective actions and campaigns to resolve common issues;
  • Organize solidarity actions whenever and wherever rights are violated;
  • Aim to reach agreement with major sector players which enable workers to access their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • Promote coordination with our sister Global Union Federation UNI that organizes the traditional gaming industry as opposed to the IUF’s hotel and food & beverage sectors. The cooperation would focus on support for affiliates’ organizing projects in such resorts.

Catering and facilities management

Active international union alliances will be developed within two major catering/facilities TNCs, Sodexo and Compass through targeted activities on each with the immediate objectives to:

  • Strengthen exchanges of information about challenges and progress in relation to collective bargaining, wages and employment conditions;
  • Enhance our ability to provide collective support to members in struggles in these two companies;
  • Provide an internationally coordinated trade union response to both company corporate managements;
  • Secure a formal level of recognition from corporate Compass management;
  • Negotiate and, if necessary, campaign against sexual harassment and all forms of gender violence within the catering sector aiming to secure meaningful agreed common positions and policies with both companies based on zero tolerance;
  • Strengthen our common position in support of stable employment in the sector initially through internal affiliate research providing a stronger platform from which to engage both TNCs.

In airline catering

  • Adapt the objectives for IUF catering work concerning exchanges of information, collective support in times of dispute, gender equality and the fight against all forms of gender violence and support for stable employment to apply to the airline catering sector;
  • Build active union alliances within the two major airline catering TNCs, HNA (Gate Group) and LSG Skychefs;
  • Convene a strategy meeting with relevant affiliates to map out future work in the sector and determine the basis for stronger cooperation with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF);
  • Deepen research into the nature of the industry and the degree and nature of union representation within it.

Fast food

  • Elaborate a broader strategy that can unite and strengthen fast food workers and the unions that increasingly represent them;
  • Explore with affiliates the potential value of company-specific networks of union representatives to share knowledge and any progress establishing union membership and collective bargaining processes in those companies;
  • Enhancing the international fast food workers network amongst affiliates active within the sector and strengthen regular communications amongst these affiliates;
  • Deepen research on key fast food companies and enhance the degree to which the research is shared and understood amongst affiliates;
  • Continue to map union activity and engagement in the sector world-wide;
  • Strengthen our capacity for collective and concrete solidarity action in support of fast food workers facing rights abuses in the sector;
  • Continuing to expand the footprint and visibility of the international struggle of fast food workers around the world.


  • Defend and enhance workers’ rights by working with sister GUF’s on specific topics and projects;
  • Carry out joint research with other GUF’s on issues of common interest (e.g. the “access economy”);
  • Promote our initiatives, publicize disputes and campaigns through NGOs and other allies to create greater public awareness amongst a wider public and to build support;
  • Continue our work with institutions to defend and enhance workers’ rights by setting or improving international standards;
  • Promote existing affiliates’ national lists of hotels and businesses, based on agreed local criteria, which would include respect of freedom of association, access to collective bargaining, etc.;
  • Supporting affiliates to develop suitable criteria and to obtain and collate data;
  • Keep working with affiliates to collect information on the “Access economy” and exchange knowledge and examples of best legal practices;
  • Support affiliates in any campaigns and specific actions on these companies;
  • Identify some common issues for collective actions and campaigns.

Meat Division

The Meat Division will lead and coordinate the work of affiliates to organize and fight to win safe, secure and well paid jobs in the red meat and poultry processing sectors.

The Meat Division will develop strategies and set targets for organizing precarious workers and to fight for more permanent well paid jobs. A focus on the needs of migrant workers and a determined fight against discrimination will be required to ensure continued progress.

The division will fight for gender equality and the equality of all workers in the sector and foster tolerance and respect for diversity.

An international organizing campaign will be developed and launched aimed at lifting standards and levels of union organization in the poultry sector.

The nature of the sector requires a strong focus on organizing for safer and better workplaces and wherever possible the links will be made publicly between worker health and safety and safe food. Resources will be developed and distributed to assist affiliates to protect workers from antimicrobial resistant diseases.

A Meat Division leadership group of affiliates will be established to:

  • Lead and monitor the work of the Meat Division;
  • Identify and plan to win IUF recognition from targeted TNCs in order to resolve disputes concerning workers’ rights and to create the space to organize more workers into unions;
  • Monitor progress in the union mapping of major meat and poultry processing TNCs;
  • Encourage affiliates to share information including current CBAs on the IUF collective bargaining agreement platform (accessible through www.iufcba.org).


For the next congress period the proposed Mandate for the IUF Tobacco Sector is the following:

  • Strengthen links between unions and workers in tobacco growing, processing and the manufacture of smoking and nicotine-delivery products;
  • Support unions in tobacco growing in their struggles against abusive hiring practices; poor working and living conditions; and child labour and its root causes, which are to be found in exploitative tenant and contract farming systems and pricing policies;
  • Actively promote the Call for Action on Human Rights for Workers in Tobacco Growing;
  • Persist in emphasizing the responsibility of the tobacco companies for ensuring human and workers’ rights along the tobacco supply chain;
  • Fight the complicity of tobacco manufacturing and leaf trading companies in human rights abuses, including the denial of trade union and collective bargaining rights, along the tobacco supply chain;
  • Support unions’ coordination activities at regional level and within companies;
  • Support unions in fighting factory closures and production transfers.

Solidarity activities in defense of democratic right

The defense of democratic rights, and the struggle to extend mechanisms of democratic control for workers and their unions, underpins every aspect of the IUF’s work. The IUF will continue to:

  • Defend the trade union movement against all attempts by governments and employers to restrict union rights, including the right to strike, and compromise trade union independence;
  • Build strategic alliances within the labour movement and wider civil society to defend and to advance the realization of the full range of human rights and democratic freedoms;
  • Oppose and fight to reverse the erosion of sovereign and democratic control and the transfer of decision-making power from democratic institutions to transnational capital and unaccountable bodies which are at the core of the neo-liberal project;
  • Actively struggle at all levels, together with trade unions and civil society movements which share our goals, for the implementation of policies to reverse the growth of inequality, the concentration of wealth and power and the privatization and destruction of public goods and services which are everywhere feeding the rise of a nationalist, racist and xenophobic Right which is fundamentally hostile to the goals and values of the labour movement.

The Right to Food

The Secretariat is therefore proposing to continue work on the right to food focussing on:

  • Fighting for living wages for all food workers to ensure that they and their families have food security, with special attention to raising the living and working conditions of agricultural workers;
  • Strengthening and expanding the network of unions supporting the IUF’s work in the UN’s Committee on World Food security;
  • Increasing capacity of IUF affiliates to influence national policy on pesticide use and food security;
  • Continuing to work with civil society organizations, including family farmers’ organizations, sharing our views on how to ensure the world’s food resources are used for the common good.
  • Campaigning for governments to fulfill their international treaty obligations to ensure their citizens have adequate, affordable and safe food and potable water, e.g. by establishing national bodies to monitor and enforce food rights and by including the right to food in national constitutions.

Trade union development projects

Project support

In cooperation with the regional secretariats and coordinators, 13 new project proposals for 2018-22 were submitted to the Swedish affiliates and Union to Union end of May 2017. Together with FES, continued cooperation in particular with regard to transnational companies for another three-year cycle (2018-20) is being discussed. With regard to future cooperation with other project partners it will depend on assessed needs and priorities as well as on availability of funding for those purposes.

Over the past congress period several governments have changed their international cooperation policies, limiting the number of countries that can qualify for funding, giving increased support to business while reducing the space for civil society organizations, including trade unions. A general criteria is the GDP although it is not reflecting the average income level in a country.

It is therefore likely that it will become increasingly difficult to obtain funding for trade union development projects in future.

External funding for trade unions in the Global South can provide critical assistance and support allowing affiliates in those regions to grow and strengthen. However, such funding if not kept with some level linked to an affiliate’s own capacity is not without its potential risks in terms of an unhealthy level of dependency and other possible consequences. Following lengthy discussions at IUF Executive Committee meetings, the IUF has therefore had a longstanding policy going back to 1991 regarding such project financial assistance. That policy requires affiliates to make a significant contribution, in financial terms or in kind, to the cost of the project activities being supported and that, under normal circumstances such funding should not exceed 40% of an affiliate’s total budget.

This has also been a guiding rule for the IUF itself with overall external income for project activities remaining below 40% of the IUF’s own overall budget.