Tobacco workers were among the first to organize trade unions and to create an international organization in 1889.
Today across the tobacco sector’s global supply chains, the lack of labour rights creates many challenges including: retaliation against workers organizing trade unions; widespread use of child labour; long hours on poverty wages; unsafe working conditions; lack of access to health care and other social services; gender discrimination; exploitation of migrant workers; deforestation, pollution and other environmental damage.
Several multinational companies have divided the global market and are increasing their control across the supply chain including: Philip Morris International, Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International, Alliance One International and China Tobacco.
At the IUF Congress in 2017 the IUF affiliates decided to better address these challenges by building a Tobacco Workers’ Division within the IUF. Today tobacco workers are organizing globally within companies and across supply chains–from tobacco farms and plantations to manufacturing plants and distribution and marketing centers–in order to increase wages and social protections as well as to defend jobs during this period of massive technological restructuring and development of the new, smoke-free, nicotine products.
International Officer: Fisheries / Aquaculture & Tobacco