Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Last day of the World Council
17 oktober 2015
Last day of the World Council
The proposal was to add indigenous peoples to the list of non discrimination groups. A part of the present delegations took the floor to oppose against the protection of free sexual orientation; this was very difficult to see, especially as the YWCA is supposed to be an inclusive movement. In the end the motion for non-discrimination won, and one very brave lady on the stage said that this end of the debate supported her personally as being gay.
It was an emotional moment for many of us.
But my day of emotions had not ended yet. As my delegation offered me the space to skip the end dinner, which by its pictures was a great success, I could have the time to meet my Thai friends. Thai people are culturally very reserved in their behaviour, but my Thai friends always give me a big hug, because of our history together. To explain this I have to explain something technical, please indulge me to do so.
The United Nations has several department linked to the treaties that have been rectified. One is focused on labour and it is named the ILO. The ILO is formed by representatives of employers and workers, and together with staff of the UN, they form a tripartite body (three parties).
One of the important rules of the ILO is that workers can be organised independently and freely, the basic right to organise and be a member of a trade union. This opposes yellow unions, and for Europeans; works councils are not a replacement for free trade unions but a high value addition (many countries only know the shop steward model) and are only in place in some parts of Europe. Two issues have a big influence on this right: TTIP and national law. Free trade zones deny trade unions access to the free trade area, so the workers cannot be protected or demand their rights. National laws often make trade union members an easy target to get fired especially, but not exclusively, by Anglo-Saxon companies.
So what is the relation of all this with my friend, who’s name I cannot mention due to safety reasons. There are two things that matter here:
My friend worked for 20 years at Lindegas as an operator and got fired. When I first met him, local Lindegas had tested all drivers for safety reasons on being colour blind, and by “coincidence” all colour blind drivers were members of the trade union. When the international trade union was visiting Thailand we checked and found this was not Lindegas policy and phoned with a member of the European Works council, he asked a question to the European Leadership of the company on this issue. Next day we were talking with the Asian manager and everything was solved.
Now my friend who is the leader of the trade union in Lindegas is part of a partly independed trade union. To explain: Yellow unions are organised by the employer, money is taken from wages and everybody is automatically a member within the company, this is for example the case in Japan, but also was the case at IKEA in the Netherlands. Yellow unions are against the ILO rules.
Thai trade unions have paying members, the trade union representatives are working in the company, but they are part of a small independent federation. The moment the workers are fired, and they are the trade union leader, like he is, the head of the trade union in the company is cut off. The trade union tried to fight the situation at court but this is, at this moment very complicated, due to the political situation in Thailand.
It was sad to see him like this, I could see he is very depressed. After eight years the company finally managed to fire him, as restructuring was necessary. He is now 42 years old, worked hard in shifts, and even being an educated operator does not make it easy to find a job, so he washes cars at his house to earn some money for his family, what a waste of his experience and knowledge. He finds it hard to find work also because if he applies, he has to sign that he will not be a member of a trade union or he will be fired. This is daily routine in many many countries. It made me sad that in 2015 this can still be the case.
So I didn’t dance at the end dinner of YWCA, but it was good to meet my friend and give him a little support in his difficult situation. And of course he brought me presents as Thai do in their endless friendliness, like all the volunteers of the YWCA with free flowers, free massage, extra trips being organised around the congress and their ever present smile and sawaadi ka!
17 oktober 2015 12:26 | Door: Mieneke
Wat moet het een heerlijk gevoel hebben gegeven, dat de non-discriminatie motie het gehaald heeft. Heeft de workshop, die jullie verzorgd hebben daar ook aan bijgedragen?
Ik hoop, dat we na jullie terugkomstniet te lang hoeven wachten op een presentatie van jullie ervaringen.