UNI ICTS gives first-ever excellence in organizing awards to SITT, SITRATEL-FEDOTRAZONAS, and GPEU
To honor groundbreaking victories, UNI Information, Communications, Technology, and Services (ICTS) gave its first-ever organizing award to IT workers in Romania, contact center workers in the Dominican Republic, and telecom employees in Bangladesh.
Representatives from Romanian union SITT (Sindicatul IT Timisoara), SITRATEL-FEDOTRAZONAS in the Dominican Republic, and Grameenphone Employees Union (GPEU) in Bangladesh accepted the awards. All three groups demonstrated determination and courage to secure workers’ rights in difficult circumstances.
“The progress these unions have made shows what is possible with persistence and solidarity,” said Teresa Casertano, Head of UNI ICTS. “Their inspiring message is clear: regardless of your employer and regardless of where you are in the world, workers can win when they have a solid strategy and unflinching resolve.”
SITT is transforming the IT sector in Romania
Starting from a small base of Alcatel-Lucent workers in 2009, SITT has grown rapidly in recent years winning gains for thousands of workers in global and national technology companies, where there was previously no unionization in the country’s IT sector. SITT has made advances in key areas such as wages and benefits; flexible time; and social protections across the country’s information technology sector.
“Many of our members had no previous union experience, but through teamwork, a lot of one-on-one conversations, and collective actions, we have been able to break through in our sector and show the collective power of technology workers in Romania,” said Florentin Iancu, President of SITT. “Our goal is to not only make improvements on a company level but win a sector wide agreement that raises standards in our industry.”
SITRATEL-FEDOTRAZONAS is organizing without fear
After a years-long—and often bruising—effort to form a union at Teleperformance in the Dominican Republic, SITRATEL-FEDOTRAZONAS have won a representation agreement that allows workers to organize in an atmosphere free from intimidation. Since the agreement with the Paris-based contact center giant was signed in April 2018, almost 1,000 workers have joined the union, and the union now represents a majority of Teleperformance workers in the country.
“After years of struggle we reached an agreement with Teleperformance that sets a strong precedent for the contact center industry in the Dominican Republic,” said Ygnacio Hernandez, President of the FEDOTRAZONAS labour federation to which SITRATEL belongs. “We will keep pushing for better jobs at Teleperformance and beyond to raise standards for workers nationwide.”
GPEU wins after a 7-year struggle at Grameenphone
Grameenphone workers, members of the GPEU, in Bangladesh faced down the refusal of both the employer and the government to register their union. For seven years, the union maintained its organization, represented the interests of the workers, and upheld the responsibilities of a union in every sense—carrying forward unified demands and holding protests when necessary—even though it did not have formal recognition. The GPEU’s perseverance paid off, and in March of this year, it was registered to become the first legally recognized union in the ICT sector in Bangladesh.
“With our union, we ensure that human rights are respected at Grameenphone. We stayed strong together for seven years because we know how important unions are for job security and improving wages and benefits,” said Mia Masud, General Secretary of GPEU. “But we also see that having a union is good for the company, and we believe it will improve productivity and performance over time.”
In addition to the international recognition, the awardees were given a cowbell as a symbol that sometimes unions must make noise to get results.