Eric Lee has written an article for In These Times on the role of the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) in helping the Nestle workers in Panjang reach a settlement.
At its recent world congress in Geneva, IUF affiliates stepped up to the plate to show their support for their fellow union members. They did this not by passing resolutions and sending protest emails —though that may well be part of a campaign. Instead they raised money, lots of money, to sustain the workers during what is turning out to be a long and bitter dispute.
Throughout the congress, the chairperson would make periodic announcements as unions made pledges of thousands of dollars. At one point, the IUF’s General Secretary, Ron Oswald, announced that rank-and-file workers at a Nestlé factory in the U.K. had raised £1,000 (about $1,550) for their brothers and sisters in Panjang.
If Nestlé thought they could get away with quietly intimidating union members in a far away corner of the world, they were sorely mistaken. Though international trade union solidarity may sound like a thing from the past, the IUF announced its campaign on the web, Facebook and Twitter.