The meeting and workshop from 10-12 November was organised and hosted by Unite the Union to strengthen union power to respond to the challenges of globalisation in the area. Hull is Europe’s eighth largest port complex by volume and an energy and supply chain hub for the UK.
Participants discussed the impact in the hub area of contracting and subcontracting practices on workers’ health and safety and local community environments and agreed how to work collectively to tackle the race to the bottom.
They agreed steps to ensure that workers and communities benefit from the growing economic opportunities in the area, and decided to establish an Industrial Hubs Combine, with members from all sectors across the hub area, to act as a forum for co-ordinating joint campaigning. The programme will provide training and encourage goal setting that is worker-led.
One participant said: "Over the last five years, with the global recession, globalisation means all of us will suffer. It has a knock on effect on all industries, which affects us in our workplace. On the other hand, during the good times, we all can benefit, so globalisation can be a force for good. The only problem is, we will only benefit if we workers are globally organised the way that businesses are globally organised. That's why I'm very happy to be participating here today."
Paula Hamilton, ITF industrial hubs programme leader, commented that port-based hubs like Hull were an increasingly important part of the global supply chains that drove commerce and involved workers across multiple transport sectors.