Against the background of recent outsourcing strategies of their companies, trade unions in South East Asia met in Kuala Lumpur to develop strategies and tools to integrate workers affected by restructuring and outsourcing into unions and collective bargaining while protecting sustainable employment within media companies.
UNI Apro, UNI’s Malaysian Liaison Council and UNI MEI partnered to implement a two-day workshop for thirty trade union leaders and activists from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to discuss the challenges and opportunities of organising workers across the media sector. Unions in the commercial broadcasting and production sector continue to grow in all three countries. The region and the national UNI offices have been supporting the organising drives in these countries, which have been making significant progress in recent years.
The unions and their federations are growing in membership and extending the coverage of collective bargaining in a sector that continues to fragment around few powerful players. Building and sustaining union to union cooperation across the different companies is key to maintain and increase the strength and capacity of the unions. Participants discussed the different models of pooling resources, experience and skills of company unions. In his conclusions, UNI Apro MEI Vice President, Khairuzzaman Mohammad and leader of the Federation of media unions in Malaysia stressed the importance of active leadership and mentoring of new leaders to sustain the unions’ capacity to mobilise members across all ages and professions. UNI is committed to work with the unions in the region in facilitating mentoring and networking.
Addressing the workshop, UNI Apro Regional Secretary Chris Ng, emphasised the opportunity to strengthen the union to union cooperation and joint action in developing the dialogue and undertake common projects with the regional employers’ association, the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). The association, which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur participated in a session on the impact of digitalisation and discussed with trade union leaders how management and unions can manage change together. ABU which will also participate in this year’s UNI Apro MEI sector meeting and forum on “shaping the digital economy” (Davao, Philippines 14-15 August) proposed to grow the cooperation and develop joint policies that both organisations can promote among their respective membership.