Mandate Trade Union Host Major International Trade Union Conference

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Zara owners sign global union recognition deal in Dublin

Mandate Trade Union hosted a three day major global trade union conference in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, Dublin 9 between Wednesday, 30 Sep 2009 and Friday 2 October 2009. The theme of the conference was building global alliances between unions throughout the world in order to create decent work for those in the retail sector.

Trade union representatives at the UNI Global Commerce Conference in Dublin stressed the need for strong alliances that create a powerful voice for workers at multinational companies.
Commerce sector unions from around the world agreed that global union alliances are vital in the fight for workers’ rights. The 200 trade unionists from 36 countries and 51 unions have decided to build global alliances at key global companies in the commerce sector.

The Inditex Group which owns company’s such as Zara and Pull & Bear signed a global union recognition agreement at the conference in Dublin today. Mandate trade union welcomed the development and said more global retailers need to follow suit.
John Douglas, General Secretary of Mandate said, “This global agreement with Inditex is a true breakthrough in this difficult economic time and also a breakthrough for the trade union movement in general. With more multi-national retailers operating than ever before, unions need to make a joint effort to ensure workers are protected and are provided with a decent standard of living into the future.
“The time has come for a different set of values to underpin our economy and our society.This global conference in Dublin is about providing decent work for workers in Ireland and throughout the world. Employers, and in particular retailers need to start thinking more along the lines of corporate social responsibility and provide their staff with a decent working environment.”
UNI is helping to build some of these alliances at companies where it has Global Agreements with management. The alliances are intended to ensure that the Global Agreements are enforced.
Speaking at the conference, UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “Global agreements are just pieces of paper. What makes them real is our workers on the ground.”

“While the signing of Global Agreements usually leads to better conditions and greater rights for workers at multinationals, we believe that an agreement is only as strong as UNI and the unions’ ability to enforce it,” Mr Jennings concluded.