UNI Global Union IT Organizing Conference vows to organize in the IT Sector
At the opening of the UNI Global Union IT Organizing Conference in Berlin, over 150 trade union leaders vowed to prepare for the future and organize in the IT sector.
Trade union leaders agreed that there was a need to work together to strategise and find better ways to organize in this large and rapidly growing sector.
In her opening remarks Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union Christy Hoffman said, “The Future World of Work is a top priority for UNI. But our strength - our credibility as unions- is in the world of Work. So only natural that we try to go beyond the question of “What is happening in the new world of work”- to the next step, which is “How can we organize in the new world of Work”?
Hoffman went on to dispel two popular IT sector myths – namely that IT workers and millennials are uninterested in trade unions.
For example, IT workers at Accenture in Bangladesh are just as passionate about wanting a union as workers anywhere,” said Hoffman. “They also want decent pay, job security and a voice on their conditions through bargaining. ”
Hoffman also referenced a recent a campaign where young workers joined in large numbers. “But young workers won’t join just because their fathers joined. Or their mothers.
Just like any organizing, there should be issues that they care about, objectives that the union can help to achieve, and these issues will be different for IT workers than for those in retail. And unions may need to “freshen” their image. But the labor movement is a big tent which can make space for all kinds of unions, this is not one “style” fits all. “
Michael Jäkel, head of the IT department at ver.di, “IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. As Telecommunications fades, big data and IT grows – this is the sector of the future and we must ensure that we remain relevant.”
Hans-Joachim Völker from Ver.di presented on IT “Ecosystems” and how they can influence employees and unions. Völker, who has worked for IBM for 36 years, urged unions to invest in new forms of organising, strategizing and communicating.
“If unions are not able to break in to these personal ecosystems and reach workers, they will become obsolete. The tools are here, and many unions are taking steps in the right direction – that’s why I’m so excited to see the results of this conference.”
Research was also presented on the state of play in the IT sector around the world by Emmanuel Reich before Alex Högback outlined the new forms of building worker power and organising strategies in the IT industry.