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Alliance to meet new global challenges

8 August 2006

Alliance to meet new global challenges*

Delegates from unions representing workers who transport oil and gas yesterday threw their weight behind an alliance between the ITF and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM).

Many delegates came forward, at a special lunchtime meeting, to offer their active help with mapping union memberships at every point in the oil and gas supply chain.

The ITF and ICEM have a history of cooperation going back 15 years. This has involved several joint campaigns, including joint working to organise the offshore oil industry.

The alliance has been gathering momentum for the past few years and is now committed to a formal partnership, which was cemented by the adoption of a motion moved by Paddy Crumlin of the ITF Executive Board, and seconded by Fred Higgs, General Secretary of ICEM. Both organisations recognise the huge strategic advantages that could be gained from ongoing cooperation between unions involved in possibly the wealthiest and most powerful industry in the world.

Fred Higgs said: “ICEM is totally committed to working with you across the world on behalf of our joint members. Together we can create a level effect of global organising that major companies within the sector will have to recognise.

“That is going to be achieved by our affiliates, being prepared to give this alliance life at company national and regional levels. Then we can start pushing doors open and get companies to tow the line, and recognise human and labour rights across the world.”

Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, and ITF/ICEM committee member explained that the next stage in the alliance’s work programme was to create a joint “information centre” or database, as a shared resource for the federations. This must be geared to an active, practical programme, he said. Achievable campaign targets must be identified involving major oil and gas players.

ITF Assistant General Secretary Stuart Howard explained to the meeting that in order to take this campaign forward, we need to have clear information on which unions are organising in which companies involved in oil and gas – for many tanker drivers this would involve contract companies. He also explained it was just as important to identify the gaps in union organisation.

“We don’t mind which unions oil and gas workers are in, as long as they are in a union,” he said. “We need to organise all oil and gas workers everywhere.”

Following the appeal for information, the meeting heard from delegates representing countries including Croatia, Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Ghana and Sweden, who reported on union activities spanning workers in oil tankers, tanker trucks, barges, refineries and other related sectors.




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Copyright © 2020 ITF
ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DR  |  +44 20 7403 2733   |  mail@itf.org.uk