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Big Rights Debate on Union Island


Thanks to everyone who came to our event for SL’s Human Rights Festival on Monday. We had an ambitious plan to link senior international unionists in Brussels, Geneva and London, and it nearly worked!

We had two great presentations from Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, and Owen Tudor, Head of International for the TUC, and brought in Zuzanna Gorska, Polish federation Solidarnosc’s (Solidarity) member of the ITUC Human Rights Excecutive for a discussion afterwards.

Here’s a log of the questions to the panel that we took after the presentations (which were in voice):


[8:20]  Zuzanna Strazytski: So, hello, my name is Zuzanna, I work for Solidarnosc, the polish trade union
[8:21]  Zuzanna Strazytski: how about discussing a bit universal human rights from trade union perspective:)
[8:24]  Zuzanna Strazytski: i think solidarnosc has to reconsider its role and find the way back to the times when it was talking about workers rights not only in tradetional workplace context – ans perhaps that is why wwe all are here :)
[8:25]  Zuzanna Strazytski: because workers rights are human rights and human rights cannot be efficiently protected without solving workplace problems
[8:27]  Zuzanna Strazytski: ok, does anybody have any questions? or does anybody else want to talk ? :)
[8:29]  Monarchy Republic: how did Lech Walesa build the grassroots to gain support?
[8:29]  johninnit Ni: Thanks Monarchy
[8:29]  Amandeep Timeless: How can we introduce an environmental and working conditions index for all products? How can we give consumers power to choose to support environmental and humane working conditions? crazy proposition: LEWCI – Legacy Environmental Working Conditions Iindex
[8:29]  johninnit Ni: Zuzanna, are you able to answer that for us please?
[8:29]  Zuzanna Strazytski: :)
[8:31]  Zuzanna Strazytski: lech walesa and solidarnosc “success” – i think the key isseue was solidarity between workes of different sectors – some more powerful – who did not give up after gaining their goles – but were fighting for the weaker ones. and this has a symbolic meaning i think. solidarity is not ethical postulate. its a strategy that works
[8:32]  H3 Turbo: do you operate a open forum or have a sand box here in SL for all 20 million members to openly and publicly, maybe even annonomously, conect and voice issues
[8:32]  johninnit Ni: one for me I think
[8:32]  johninnit Ni: we do – sort of. this is still a young project, and only a section of unions from around the world are involved, but we have got plans for this kind of thing.
[8:33]  johninnit Ni: SL has a double digital divide for activism, you need first to explain what the medium is
[8:33]  H3 Turbo: 20 miliion members and you consider your orginization young?
[8:33]  johninnit Ni: before you can explain what you’re doing in it
[8:34]  johninnit Ni: no – the island here is 9 months
[8:34]  johninnit Ni: so we have training sessions for members and activists a sandbox, introductions and so on
[8:34]  Monarchy Republic: :)
[8:35]  johninnit Ni: but it’s very difficult to keep up on capacity, and we’re always after help (hint)


[8:35]  OwenT Turbo: To answer Ammandeep’s question, there are many tools consumers can use to buy ethical products – the well known Fair Trade logo means producers get a fairer wage – the Ethical Trading Initiative which the TUC supports encourages companies to improve working conditions and so on. But the best way to support trade union rights is to build trade unions, here and abroad – a donation to TUC Aid would help us do that in other countries! See
[8:35]  Monarchy Republic: it took the whole the Industrialrevolutionand TwoWorlds Wars to get anywhere last time
[8:35]  H3 Turbo: auto clear sand box…………after a day or so….is pretty simple
[8:36]  H3 Turbo: did we get anywhere?
[8:36]  Monarchy Republic: yes
[8:36]  johninnit Ni: you’ll find the sandbox behind the bar. it’s group user only, so you need to join union island user group,  which you’re very welcome to!
[8:36]  H3 Turbo: is group membership open?
[8:36]  johninnit Ni: yes
[8:36]  johninnit Ni: Junivers has a question from a question from Philip’s presentation – How come that woman still are so underpaid?
[8:37]  Carlo Sixpence: how to join?
[8:37]  johninnit Ni: Union Island User Group in search

[8:37]  OwenT Turbo: Women are still so underpiad partly because unions have not been able to secure sufficient legal protections, but we also have to admit that sometimes male leaderships don’t adequately reflect what women workers want. So we need to make sure more women are in the leaderships of unions, and that union leaders do more to represent ALL their members. But the main fault lies with the employers who refuse to pay women what they pay men!
[8:38]  Carlo Sixpence: thanks, johnninnit
[8:38]  pjennings Offcourse: UNI has projects in 70 countries to build trade unions. The key for us is to train women trade unionists. Union leadership is still too male dominated. Even if the HR declaration mentions equal pay it is far from being achieved in practice

[UNI GS Philip Jennings presenting on Union Island]

[8:38]  pjennings Offcourse: Why ? companies abuse, absence of collective agreement, fear of reprisals, when a women compains about unfairness. government not applying the law correctly [8:38]  johninnit Ni: 2 answers for the price of one
[8:39]  johninnit Ni: okay – has anyone else got questions they’d like to ask, or points to make?
[8:39]  Carlo Sixpence: EUROCADRES has a project based on “Female leadership”
[8:40]  Gorgeous Thespian: yes please, is there anything Polish trade unions are doing to for example stop homophobia?
[8:40]  Zuzanna Strazytski: also, still women’s discrimination in the workplace is reflected by insufficient political representation. not very original to say but still important i hope
[8:40]  pjennings Offcourse: Yes. UNI fights discrimination in all its forms.
[8:41]  OwenT Turbo: On homophobia, the Polish union confederations recently signed up to an all-Europe condemnation of politicians in Eastern Europe (it’s not just Poland) stirring up homophobia.
[8:41]  Gorgeous Thespian: any particular actions?
[8:42]  Monarchy Republic: divide and rule in any language
[8:42]  OwenT Turbo: The Polish unions are also part of a general Europe-wide move for LGBT rights, and will hopefully be involved in the Workers Out celebration and conference next year in Denmark.
[8:42]  Carlo Sixpence: it should be supported the depenalization of homosexuality
[8:43]  Zuzanna Strazytski: in poland still religion plays a political role and thats why so many homophobic argument coming sadly from poland but this is not represenative for the society.
[8:43]  Monarchy Republic: Catholism :)
[8:44]  johninnit Ni: Well, We need to wrap this up for our guests
[8:44]  johninnit Ni: thanks for questions.  though if anyone has a final point to make we still have time
[8:44]  Gorgeous Thespian: so does in Spain, but funny enough homophobia as raised as a result of gay marriage laws
[8:44]  OwenT Turbo: Sadly, no particular faith has a monopoly on homophobia.
[8:45]  Carlo Sixpence: Owen is right
[8:45]  Monarchy Republic: but keep faith in Human Rights in all spheres:)
[8:48]  junivers Stockholm: THX a lot Johninnit and UNI representers
[8:48]  Amandeep Timeless: thaks
[8:48]  Hazel Finney: thanx guys x
[8:48]  Amandeep Timeless: *n
[8:48]  OwenT Turbo: Bye!
[8:48]  Carlo Sixpence: thanks for organizing this event
[8:48]  Carlo Sixpence: bye
[8:48]  Zuzanna Strazytski: :)
[8:49]  Monarchy Republic: thank you everyone …good luck..have fun:)

2 Responses to “Big Rights Debate on Union Island”

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