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ITF hub voices

Global unions building industrial power

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September 2015

The industrial hubs programme beyond the UK

Collective power and standing together, that’s what the industrial hubs programme is all about. And it really doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if there is an identified strategic industrial hub and there are ITF unions, there is potential for the industrial hubs programme to have a positive impact.

In the UK, around ports in the Humber and in Grangemouth, this training is designed to show workers how they fit into the bigger picture of national, regional and global trade. It’s to help them to appreciate how they can maximise their influence on decisions made, not just in their sectors but in sectors up and down the supply chain, by working collectively.

And this potential isn’t unique to the UK. There are industrial hubs all over the world. Ports where thousands of different workers come together as part of a supply chain that ultimately leads to an exit and/or entry point to a country or region. In the Arab World and across the ITF regions there is huge potential to use the hubs model for organising, mobilising and ultimately building union power.

Unions in different sectors are getting weaker because of the sectors and business fragmentation, but workers can meet from different sectors to work together across the whole chain to a win a collective fight. For example, oil and gas unions alone can do something, and transport unions alone can do another thing, but both unions can control the whole oil and gas supply chain if they work closely together and can achieve the big things. This is the way for workers to fight back and be again the main player in the industry.

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Building levers of power – how do hubs fit in?

At the ITF’s decision making congress in 2014 plans were agreed for new ways of building union strength. Representatives from unions across the world backed the plan to focus on the 4 levers of power. One of those levers of power is giving workers in strategic transport hubs a collective voice – exactly what the industrial hubs programme aims to do.

Read the report from the congress session on the 4 levers for more insight into why the industrial hubs programme was developed.

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