The UNI Apro Finance sector successfully held its 6th Sector Conference on 22nd and 23rd November 2021.
The conference drew over 100 delegates, guests, observers, and UNI and UNI Apro staff to participate in the two-day proceedings.
Mr. Michimasa Sakaida, FNIU, Japan, chaired the proceedings as President of UNI Apro Finance.
Rita Berlofa, President of UNI Finance, Angelo Di Cristo, Head of Department UNI Finance, Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union General Secretary, and UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya conveyed their solidarity greetings to the finance delegates and guests in the meeting.
They commended finance workers as being rightly frontline heroes, particularly bank branch workers, for ensuring people could access vital banking services during the pandemic, especially during lockdowns.
They foresee that remote work will likely remain a permanent fixture post-pandemic, and unions need to tackle accompanying challenges such as the increasing use of technology to carry out undue intrusive surveillance on remote finance workers.
The growth of fintech is a definite concern, and finance unions need to organise and convince these new companies to come to the bargaining table and ensure digitalisation can work for the benefit of workers.
They also highlighted the sector’s importance in critically powering the green, digital and social transition during these current turbulent times, including defending human rights and democracy, such as the case of Myanmar.
The conference’s keynote panel was held with the theme of “Green Finance and Clean Energy for Shared Prosperity” on day two.
The keynote address was delivered by Michael Budolfsen, President of UNI Europa Finance and member of the Civil Society Advisory Body of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB).
Mr. Budolfsen said that sustainable finance is the agenda everywhere and is increasingly seen as a license to operate. Investors, customers, and legislators are also progressively scrutinising banks and holding them to higher standards.
Finance unions everywhere can contribute to the green agenda by leveraging the expanding array of new partnerships and friends through UNI Finance’s involvement at the global level.
He was followed by a distinguished panel of friends of UNI Apro Finance who contributed richly to the discussions.
Mr. Satoshi Ikeda, Director, Chief Sustainable Officer Financial Services Agency- Japan, shared Japan’s climate innovation finance strategy. Ms. Sandra Silea spoke on Australian Super’s approach toward the ESG (Environment, Social, Governance). Ms. Haidy Ear-Dupuy, the Senior Social Development Specialist at the Asian Development Bank’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, presented the bank’s initiatives to drive green finance to achieve green prosperity in the region.
The conference adopted the following major policy decisions:
- “Building Forward: Towards an Inclusive, Equitable and Sustainable Future,” UNI Apro’s agenda for an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future driven by a human-centred approach to recovery.
- The UNI Apro Finance Workplan 2021 – 2025
The UNI Apro Finance Workplan 2021-2025, incorporating the key elements of the UNI Apro’s “Building Forward” plan, highlights six strategic priorities that centres on increasing trade union density, engaging in social dialogues, and influencing policy formulation – particularly on green financing and jobs, negotiating collective agreements for decent work including emerging trends of remote work and enhancing employability, and building alliances with FinTechs and start-ups in the new economy.
The delegates also endorsed a statement supporting the KFIU-Citibank Korea Workers Union’s struggle to hold Citibank Korea to live up to its social responsibility.
The conference elected a new steering group for the 2021-2025 term. The new steering group comprises representation from Taiwan for the first time and young men and women representing finance sector unions in the region.
The conference finally confirmed the re-election of Mr. Michimasa Sakaida, FNIU, Japan, as the new President of the UNI Apro Finance sector.
The delegates also confirmed that Mr. Sakaida and Ms. Julia Angrisano, FSU, Australia, would be the two vice presidents representing the UNI Finance presidium from the Apro region.
The 6th UNI Apro Finance Conference represents the completion of the UNI Apro series of sector conferences.