UNI Global Union’s General Secretary Philip Jennings’ final keynote speech brought the UNI World Congress to its feet.
Jennings began by calling on everyone in the hall to be a feminist in the name of equality and justice, noting the success of the UNI World Women’s Conference held last week.
The outgoing UNI GS said that UNI was relentless in its commitment to changing the rules of the game of the economy and that we do have the tools to get the job done. He said that Sharan Burrow was a great example of strong leadership and someone who was changing the world for the better and fighting for decent work.
Jennings urged Congress to get on its feet and show its support for the labour movement’s ability to bring about change and defeat the racists, the xenophobes and the haters.
Jennings called on Congress to show its support for former President Lula and demand his release from prison. He said Lula’s imprisonment was a stark example of the closing down of democratic spaces.
He gave a snapshot of the successes of the UNI’s regional work in Europe, the Americas and Asia which highlighted how UNI’s 12 sectors were breaking through and organising hundreds of thousands of workers around the world.
Jennings reminded Congress that the Bangladesh Accord had been renewed for another three years and had already saved many lives since 2013 and the Rana Plaza tragedy.
He also pledged that the trade union movement would shape the digital world of work. Decent work had to be part of the new digital equation.
On peace, he said that UNI and its affiliates remained committed to peace through its ties with ICAN and the IPB– and that we were a force for peace, with the roots of the ILO being in the union movement. He praised Guy Ryder for his leadership of the ILO.
In his final remarks, in this his last keynote speech to Congress as general secretary, Jennings said how proud he was of the organisation he had led for 18 years.
“UNI Global Union – a power in the world, with ideas to fuel social justice, making a difference in workplaces everywhere. UNI Global is and will continue to Make it Happen.”