Global rights and global organising


The world watched with horror when a Bangladeshi garment factory collapsed in April 2013 leaving more than 1,100 workers dead.

But as the neglect of the factory owners and their links to prestigious western clothing labels became apparent, global unions swung into action pressuring the western brands to take responsibility for their supply chains.

The result was the Bangladeshi Accord – an agreement that for the first time holds international brands responsible for workers a world away from the glitzy marketing images they trade off.

• With a global labour pool increasingly competing for work, what can we learn from the Bangladeshi experience?

• Is this a model for global responsibility? Or is clothing a special case where brand does matter?

• And even if we can create corporate supply chains, who monitors them and can they be trusted?

Or expert panel of UNI general secretary Phil Jennings, Said Iqbal from KSPI Indonesia and Burmese leader Maung Maung bring us their perspective on the global fight for workplace rights.


See the panel debate live 1240 Wednesday at www.



Delegates to this Congress represent 176 million workers worldwide, making it the largest democratic, member-based movement on the planet.

But with the global workforce estimated at three billion, that leaves density at little more than seven per cent.

With building union strength a key focus of this Congress, today’s Congress Live panel will look at the movement’s efforts to build density globally.

Paul Goulter from NZEI, the ITF’s Stephen Cotton and Jyoti Macwan from India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) will discuss the challenges in organising the rest of the earth.

• Is there one model of organising or many approaches, dictated by the culture and economy unions are operating in?

• How can workers in insecure and precarious employment organize when they don’t even have the status of en employee?

• How can the movement reimagine work in a world that is being transformed by technology?

• And what are the pressure points for big business in an increasingly global economy?


See the panel debate live 1320 Wednesday at www.