Unions unite (fwd)

Thu, 6 Mar 1997 15:25:12 EST5EDT
Terry Boswell (TBOS@social-sci.ss.emory.edu)

Some good news about international labor organizing follows (thanks to
Joya Misra for forwarding this; sorry if it duplicates for some).
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
>From: D Shniad <shniad@SFU.CA>
>Subject: Unions unite
>Comments: To: Progressive Economists' Network
>The Daily Telegraph Tuesday 4 March 1997
> By Jon Hibbs, Political Correspondent
>The first step towards the creation of a European super-union was taken
>yesterday when one of Britain's biggest trade unions signed a joint membership
>agreement with its German counterpart.
>The unprecedented deal between the GMB general union and IG Chemie
>means that more than 1.8 million workers in the two countries will be entitled
>to mutual membership when working abroad. About 120,000 people working
>either in Britain or Germany are expected to benefit from the link, which was
>hailed by both sides as a model for co-operation between unions in different
>European Union member-states. However, the development is likely to be
>viewed with alarm by Tory MPs as an example of the European social model
>which ministers claim would shackle competitiveness and restrict the freedom
>of business under a Labour government.
>The union movement in Britain has taken an increasingly pro-European stance
>over a decade and believes that it can match the growth of multi-national
>companies in the single European market only by developing closer continental
>The GMB was the first British union to open an office in Brussels, and
>pioneered European-style works councils which cover 46 firms with plants in
>both Britain and other EU member-states. For several years it has been co-
>operating informally with IG Chemie, which covers workers in the chemical,
>ceramics and paper industries, and is talking to other unions about further
>agreements elsewhere.
>John Edmonds, the GMB general secretary, said: "It is important for workers to
>have quality representation wherever they work." Hubertus Schmoldt, the
>president of IG Chemie, said from his union's Hanover headquarters: "Our goal
>will be the creation of a joint membership at European level to be able to
>achieve minimum standards on bargaining agreements for all workers."
>The deal means that any GMB member working in Germany will have have the
>right to IG Chemie membership, and vice-versa in Britain. However these
>rights vary, as the unions offer different services to members. British
>in Germany will be eligible for legal advice, support from
>representatives, and
>training facilities. German workers in Britain get legal advice, health
>and safety
>information, and financial benefits.

Michael Lichter <mailto:lichter@ucla.edu>
UCLA Department of Sociology / Center for the Study of Urban Poverty
Terry Boswell
Department of Sociology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322