With union representatives from 25 countries, the UNI Graphical and Packaging Conference, held 14-15 November in Marseille, France, united unions in the sector to reflect on their situations and plan to build worker power over the next four years. It followed the Trade Union Conference Against the Rise of the Far Right held by UNI Graphical & Packaging (UNI G&P) on 13 November.
The meeting came against a backdrop of industrial consolidation, including changes to the structures of some of the largest employers, such as the announced merger between the giants Westrcok and Smurfit Kappa. To address this new reality, UNI G&P adopted a new Action Plan focusing on the challenges for the future along three axes:
The conference highlighted achievements in unionization campaigns undertaken in Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Poland and Colombia in recent years. It also featured discussions on evolving strategies concerning human rights due diligence, the FSC label and capital strategies.
Participants organized a solidarity action in support of workers at the Pilenpak packaging company in Turkey, which has dismissed union representatives and blatantly flouted trade union rights.
Finally, European colleagues bid farewell to Joaquina Rodriguez from CC.OO, Spain, as UNI G&P President and welcomed Simon Dubbins from Unite the Union, UK, as the newly elected President.
“The most important thing will be to take on certain multinationals operating in our sectors. Through trade union alliances around the world, we will hold these companies to account, and above all prevent them from violating labour rights when operating in countries where the legal framework is less robust. Organizing for social justice and democracy will remain our guiding compass,” Simon Dubbins, UNI G&P President.