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ILO supports the creation of an independent trade movement in Arab countries


According to last Saturday’s issue of Al Akhbar, the ILO has organized a workshop including a number of academics and trade unionists from Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Yemen and Oman for the purpose of understanding the realities of trade union representation as well as consider the possibility of creating an independent trade movement in the region given the political complexities and the aftermath of the Arab revolts and the fact that only 10% of the labor force is actually represented in trade unions.  During the workshop, AUB professor Vijay Prashad spoke of new mechanisms to reach workers and convince them to join trade unions namely not accessing workers in their place of work but in their homes as well as recognizing the presence of marginalized communities of worker and challenging organization barriers between workers and unions and regional networking and exchange of experiences amongst trade unions.
For his part, Ghassan Dibeh of AUB spoke about the new categories of workers that are difficult to study.  He noted that global economic transformation and globalization sought to convince peoples that these trends are inevitable but failed to produce any changes in the structure of the trade movements but rather dismantled the working class and eroded earlier gains.  Dibeh added that the new slogans of trade unions should be the inclusion of marginalized labor.
Finally and according to the newspaper, the workshop mainly focused on the trade union representation of migrant workers and domestic workers since there are some 25 million domestic workers who are considered to be outside the labor forces with only shy attempts taking place in the region to include them in trade unions.
Source: Al-Akhbar 24 May 2014

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