Est-ce que le pape soutient les syndicats dans leur bataille contre le dumping social?

Frank Moreels, président de l’UBT et vice-président de l’ITF, a fait un appel aujourd’hui au Sommet de l’Union du Transport et des Manufactures au Vatican (Rome) à mettre fin au dumping social et à l’exploitation des travailleurs.

Lors de cette conférence, organisée par le Pontificia Academia Scientiarium en collaboration avec l’ITF, il a prié les employers, les grands multinationaux, à travailler ensemble avec les organisations syndicale afin d’avoir des résultats le plus vite possible.

Vous pouvez lire le texte complet de l’intervention de Frank Moreels (uniquement en anglais) ci-dessous.


Good morning everyone,
First of all, let me introduce myself.

My name is Frank Moreels,
And I am president of the Belgian Transport Union.
My union is very active in international trade unionism because we are convinced that the problems we face in Belgium
Are the same ones that workers all over the world are confronted with.
The same economic reality,
the same companies we deal with
the same challenges
and also ...
the same techniques of workers exploitation,

It motivates us to work together on a global level together with other unions under the umbrella of ITF.

If we want to give the workers,
and more specifically the transport workers,
The respect they deserve
we will have to tackle problems
like exploitation,
and even modern slavery, by working together.

Together with brothers and sisters of other unions
Together with employers who share our concerns
Together with all partners
who want to stop the excesses of globalisation
And who want to work together towards a fundamental system shift.

Allow me to share an experience with you
that I had during a mission in Africa.
My union has a cooperation project
with local unions and ITF in Kenya.
During a field visit in Kenya, we were confronted
with a Tanzanian vessel crew that was just liberated from jail by a team of ITF inspectors.

The Tanzanian crew was beaten and mistreated. They had to work 18 hours a day on a Taiwanese fishing boat and didn’t receive their salary.
The moment they started protesting, all six of them were thrown overboard with all their personal belongings. Picked up by a smaller fishing boat (of the same company) they were dumped in the port of Mombasa. There they were arrested. Luckily an ITF inspector was informed about what had happened to them. She was able to get them out of jail, obtain the salary they were entitled to and send them home safe and sound.

Some naive participants in this audience might think: well, this only happens in Africa,
but not in the so called more developed part of the world.
This a mere excess, not a common practice.
I can assure you, this is a big mistake and must be considered as paternalistic and even arrogant.

Let us just look at another example to demonstrate my point.

In the Memphis warehouse of XPO in the United States the management is majority white male while the workers are predominantly African-American women. On October the 17th shortly after the start of the morning shift, Linda Neal went to her supervisors multiple times asking to leave work or to take a break because she wasn’t feeling well. XPO denied her requests. Less than an hour later she passed out. Co-workers wanting to help her, were told to get back or they would be fired. They had to continue with their job. Nobody called 911. Instead, the supervisors held a 30-minute meeting to discuss what to do next with Linda. When the 911 call was finally made, 56 minutes after Linda passed out, the call would be for DOA, dead on arrival.

I could give you plenty more examples.
What about XPO that is active worldwide,
And is organising massively social dumping in Europe.
In Spain for example, female workers are discriminated and don’t stand any chance of getting a promotion. The reason: they might be off from work if they become pregnant.

I can give you the example of
Turkish union members
that were sacked by DHL express
just because of their union engagement.
And the difficult and long fight that our Turkish affiliate had to organise – with support from other European unions and ITF – to obtain union recognition and a good CBA.
Union recognition which should be a basic right for workers, shouldn’t it?

I can tell you the story of a truck driver working for a subcontractor of IKEA who committed suicide in his cabin on a parking area in Strasbourg. Because of his depression linked to stress, bad working conditions and being away from his family for months.

And I can tell you about his colleague,
who was forced to take over the wheel even without the cabin being cleaned...

I can tell you about a Romanian driver, working for a Belgian company. He got burned quite severely while cooking his meal on a gas pit in his truck. The man was too afraid to go to hospital with his burns because his employer threatened him. The company even withheld money from his salary to pay for the damages to the truck.

How come that in our global transport industry
these kind of flagrant situations occur,
all over the world?
The answer is simple:
Institutional and corporate greed.

Half of the world’s net wealth belongs to 1% of the adult population. 10% of the adults hold 85% of the world’s net wealth, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15%.

Apparently, for some people, it is never enough.
A race to the bottom is organised
By exploiting workers
Just to make a minority of rich people even more wealthy.

A determining role here is played
by the so called economic employers.
Those multinational companies that
Give the orders in the supply chain.

Let me give you another example.
We wonder what the iconic book case Billy of Ikea would cost if the truck drivers where not exploited.
Every five seconds Ikea sells such a book case that costs 39,99 euros. The university of Lund calculated that, if extra costs where charged for fair transport, Billy would cost the customer 40,57 euros. So Ikea saves 0,58 euros on the back of the truck drivers.

It is a shame that a company such as Ikea, who cares so much about it’s image of sustainability doesn’t seem to care about the people working for him. Although apparently, they could easily change the working conditions of the people working in their supply chain, if only they wanted to.

So it would be a major step forward
if multinational companies. make a clear statement that they want to stop exploitation in their supply chain, and that they engage by declaring their attachment to corporate responsibility.
Even more that they actively work together
with ITF and local unions
to fight the excesses of exploitation in the supply chain.

There are some multinational companies who already “saw the light”. Unilever for example is negotiating with ITF to improve their supply chain, to ban all ways of social dumping, by taking responsibility for their choice of subcontractors.
This company should be an example for all others. Their goal is also to make a profit, but not on the back of the drivers.

We invite all other multinationals to work together with us
To act together in monitoring the supply chain
Put inspection teams “on the road”
And clean up our transport industry from
Modern slavery, exploitation,

Because if we would be able to organise
Fair Transport

Our Tanzanian Vessel crew
The workers of XPO and other transport companies
The subcontractors of Ikea and other economic employers
All workers in the supply chain could work in good working conditions
And get the respect they deserve!