DowDuPont: Don’t Spin Off Worker Rights!

DowDuPont: Don’t Spin Off Worker Rights!


IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates throughout the world call for support in demanding chemicals giant DowDuPont to respect workers’ rights through its current spin-off process.

Members of IndustriALL-affiliated trade unions representing DowDuPont workers in North and South America, Europe and Asia, are facing great upheaval as the newly merged company splits into three separate segments. The demand is to have a seat at the decision-making table through this period of change.

The company was formed in August last year after a US$150 billion merger between Delaware-based DuPont and Michigan’s Dow Chemicals. The three new spin-off companies will be in these industries: Specialty Products, Material Sciences, and Agriculture. Each of the three is cutting costs by around US$1 billion.

Through this restructuring, management’s cost savings goal is $3.3 billion. The company calls this the “cost synergy number”. The network argues that this cannot come from employees.

DowDuPont is posting massive increases in earnings, with sales up by 13-percent.

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 12075 President Kent Holsing from DowDuPont’s facility in Midland, Michigan chairs the DowDuPont North American Labor Council. Kent said:

“We are speaking not only for the unionized employees of DowDuPont, but also for the non-union employees who don’t have that voice. Our goal is to use this petition as a platform to ensure the employees and their communities are represented and heard.”

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan said:

“The DowDuPont merger creates the world’s biggest chemical company and has triggered other major restructuring in the industry. Now the company’s breakup into three separate segments will again affect working men and women all over the world. The demand from those workers’ national unions and international trade union, IndustriALL, is to have their voice heard through the restructuring.”

“Workers’ representatives must play a central role in the decision making that will affect them and their communities. Our international network of DowDuPont unions is ready to work together in this regard and demands a proper seat at the table.”

International trade union networking at DowDuPont has been conducted since the merger, and will continue. A large meeting of the network will take place on 9-12 October.

Click here to access the online petition calling on DowDuPont to respect their workers, and not just the shareholders at this important time.

Pakistan Tragedy

Pakistan has failed to learn lessons of Gadani tradegy, say unions

Pakistan has failed to learn lessons of Gadani tradegy, say unions

On 1 November, 2016, 29 workers were killed and several more injured while dismantling an oil tanker at Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yard. Speakers at a seminar on the industry, organized by IndustriALL affiliate the National Trade Union Federation in Karachi on 21 April, said that the government does not appear to have learnt any lessons from the tragedy.

In an industry often called the most dangerous in the world, the Gadani shipbreaking yard in Pakistan is among the worst. The unions say that failure to comply with internationally accepted labour standards and criminal negligence by the Pakistani government, employers exploiting labour rights, risking workers’ lives, is resulting in a decline. The government has given employers and contractors a license to kill the workers, when despite all the casualties in the industry, no one is prosecuted. According to the unions, there is an urgent need to implement labour standards in line with ILO conventions, South Asian and Turkish shipbreaking industries’ guidelines and the Hong Kong Convention.

At Gadani, thousands work in inhumane conditions with no safety measures. As a result, every day, workers are injured for life or even die. Instead, the government has turned a deaf ear to workers’ rights, health and safety, leading to scores of accidents being unreported. Workers have been deprived of their constitutional and legal rights to obtain fair wages and medical cover.

Speaking at the seminar, IndustriALL affiliate NTUF deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor said that the shipbreaking industry earns billions of rupees to the federal and provincial governments, employs thousands of workers directly and indirectly and caters for up to 30 per cent the country’s iron needs:

“But because of the governments’ negligence, the industry is deteriorating with devastating results. A lot of iron now needs to be imported to the country, and downstream industries with businesses linked to shipbreaking employing more than two million people, face an uncertain future.

“Similar industries across the world have managed to change after implementing labour rights and standards according to international conventions. In Alang, India, they have started to implement a shipbreaking code after a decision from the Supreme Court, and the accidents and casualties have been considerably reduced. In its turn, this has helped Alang become the largest shipbreaking industry in the world with 60,000 directly employed workers.”

Once one of the leading ship breaking industries in the world, employing around 35,000 workers, there are today around 10,000 people working there, a number which may decline even further.

Bashir Mehmoodani, president of Ship Breaking Workers Union, Gadani, said that the government, other authorities and employers should take real measures to save the industry from closure:

“There should be serious consultation with trade unions and workers’ representatives to ensure labour rights.”