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Civil aviation unions reaffirmed their support to PALEA the ground staff union at Philippines Airlines. More than 700 workers have been maintaining a protest against their jobs being outsourced for more than two years. A number of international action days have been held to keep up pressure on the company. The union's ability to sustain the protest along with a new company management have given hope that the dispute could be resolved in the next few weeks.
ITF affiliates in the Asia Pacific Conference paid tribute to the retiring ITF General Secretary David Cockroft today. Affiliates reflected on the years of service during which he had strongly supported unionism in the region. Kalpana Desai gave particular appreciation to David's championing of women's activities in the ITF. David was praised for his commitment and transparency as a General Secretary who was determined to promote the cause of all transport workers around the world.Some emotional stories were told by union leaders expressing the warmth of affiliates for David's support and work over the years.
Asia Pacific civil aviation unions were urged to call on their governments to pressure the ILO and ICAO to enter a process to implement a range of measures to build a more sustainable civil aviation industry and protect it from flags of convenience. These measures were agreed after lengthy debate by civil aviation unions and the industry at the ILO Global Dialogue Forum which took place in Geneva in February this year and aim to ensure that the kind of total global deregulation that has had such a negative impact on the maritime industry is not allowed to enter civil aviation.
The ITF is increasingly identifying key transport hubs and corridors. A major container shipping route connects Europe and Asia. Here are two stories of union organisation being supported along this route.
Noor Azman organised dock workers in the container terminal at Tanjung Palapas in Malaysia. There had never been a union in the port before. “I was approached by other workers who wanted their rights. I managed to get in touch with Ameer Hamzah in Singapore who gave me advice and told me how about getting people into a union. He also told him about the ITF. This gave him confidence. “ I went around all the workers, walking the ground telling the workers, explaining about a union. I managed to get around 350 members. Now we have around 800 members and we have managed to get a positive dialogue with the port”. Tanjung Palapas in Malaysia is a major container terminal in the global container route between Europe, India and China. In January 2013 Noor attended an ITF Global Networks Terminals meeting in Manila where he met with union representatives from other container terminals along the same route who are now starting to coordinate together.
PK Raman is a union official in the Transport and Dock Workers Union in Mumbai. “There were new terminals outside Mumbai built by the big global terminal operators. These terminals are on the same container shipping route stretching across the globe. There was no union in the GTI Terminal. “When we tried to organise the contract drivers in the terminal four workers were abducted to a quarry and beaten. Then later other workers were beaten on their way to work. We asked for help from the ITF who contacted the terminal company at a global level. Global negotiations eventually forced the contractors to recognise the union. We then moved inland along the freight corridor. The containers are taken to big container freight stations and we got union recognition in these. Our next big target is the rail freight operation from the port terminal going to Delhi.”
Elections were held for the Tourism Services Section of the Asia Pacific Region of the ITF with the following results
Chair: Bro. Ohki
Vice chair: Bro. Mishra (South Asia)
Ditto: Bro. Ma Chau (East Asia)
Ditto: vacant (SE Asia)
Ditto: Nomination can be made (Pacific)
Women rep: Sis. Lin Yen Yun (Taiwan)
Youth: To be nominated