From Ecuador and Chile, to France and Belarus, to Algeria and Sudan, to Kirgizstan and Hong Kong, with 200 million Indian workers joining together in the biggest general strike in history, mass protests and discontent are surging throughout the world.
And yet traditional trade unionism in many of its former strongholds is shrinking, having fallen victim to a deadly combination: the widespread demolition of traditional manufacturing centres; ruthless anti-trade union laws; bureaucratic sluggishness and outright corruption. In Britain, membership has halved since the great industrial battles of the 1970s.
Meanwhile, new layers are coming into militant action: in Britain for instance, university lecturers and junior hospital doctors. And vibrant new unions are springing up mobilising “precarious” workers in the “gig economy”: cleaners, security guards, couriers and fast-food workers…
This meeting discusses the role of trade unions today
Dave Buxton (UNITE Community) Chair
Panel of speakers:
Steve McKenzie (UNISON)
Jade Saab (Industrial Workers of the World),
Jabu Nala-Hartley (Oxford Living Wage Campaign)
Lizaveta Merliak (International secretary of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union [BITU]) and
Yuri Ravavoi (BITU and strike committee member of Grodno Azot enterprise)
A Workers’ International Network meeting
Sunday 11th October 2020