Global delivery unions address digitalisation and automation challenges

Representatives of unions, companies and international organisations from 25 countries have met to discuss the challenges of responding to digitalisation and automation in global supply chains.

More than 70 participants gathered in Nyon, Switzerland on 21-22 November for the ITF/UNI Global Union global delivery network meeting.

Activists worked in groups based on multinational logistics companies: DHL, Toll/Japan Post, TNT/FedEx, UPS and Geopost. They discussed company strategies in the light of mergers, shared best practice for organising strategies and looked at using global framework agreements as a strategy for union growth.

Deniz Akdogan, ITF inland transport sections senior assistant, told the conference: “The emergence of global logistics has put transport workers in a strategic position in the globalised economy. International union co-ordination should be capable of delivering union action at key leverage points along strategic global supply chains.

“The work we’ve done on DHL is a good example of this joint approach, and UNI and the ITF are working together to build on this to find solutions in more leading industry players in the post, logistic and transport sectors.”

The ground-breaking protocol between DP-DHL, the ITF and UNI has been extended until December 2019. One of its aims is to be implemented in all countries where DHL operates, and to instruct managers to inform workers about fundamental rights, freedom of association and collective bargaining.

ITF head of inland transport sections Noel Coard told the conference that the DHL work was a priority for the ITF, and that progress had been made with DHL on adhering to the protocol. He added that they welcomed the challenge to working with DHL to adopt not only the wording of the protocol but the ethical spirit within it.

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