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Chilean women workers fight for empowerment

news 07 Mar 2024

Women in ITF affiliate union Sindicato DHL Chile have created the ‘DHL Chile Women Workers’ Network’ to help empower women in the workplace. The network has already achieved a significant profile at national and regional levels, and has introduced benefits in favour of working mothers in its collective agreement. 

Concerned about the low participation of women in trade unions, the leadership of the Sindicato DHL Chile developed a series of workshops for the integration and education of women in the union.  In September 2023, FES Chile and ITF held a workshop on strengthening gender participation in the ITF-DHL Regional Workers' Network. The discussion focused on the importance of gender inclusion in the network and in union life. Women participants, supported by  the union, created a working group led by women to continue working towards the goals set during the workshop. This led to the DHL Chile Women Worker’s Network. Since then, it has stood out in its vision to promote human and labour rights, women's empowerment and the promotion of gender equality throughout Latin America.

Since former President Michelle Bachelet was in government, women in Chile have achieved a degree of recognition in the workplace and wider society, resulting in the ratification of ILO Convention 190, on the elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace. However work must still be done to integrate women into trade unions.  

The Network holds meetings with women workers (and their male colleagues), to carry out union training, holding debates on strategies to promote working women in the labour market and to learn about issues such as maternity provision. These meetings have been well received by both the workers and the management of the company, who are interested in promoting women’s  empowerment. 

in 2019 The ITF, concerned about respecting the rights of logistics workers, reached an agreement with the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) and UNI Global Union to maintain a constructive and ongoing dialogue on employment and industrial relations, which improved procedures for labour and human rights in its supply chain.

DHL Chile's policies state that both men and women have the same opportunities in their job promotion. However, previous Collective Bargaining Agreements didn’t cover maternity provisions. Through meetings with women, the Network recognised this as a demand which affected working mothers. During the last CBA negotiation, representatives of the women’s Network negotiated the inclusion of financial aid for working mothers struggling to secure a place for their children in state nurseries. This demand was accepted and added to the CBA.

The Network have also met with women workers from other logistics companies, achieving a broad panorama of ideas and experiences. 

Daniela Morel, leader of the DHL Women Workers’ Network, has expressed the need to promote the work of this network at a wider level. "In Chile, the situation of women has improved considerably over years. Personally, it has been a culture shock to see that in other countries women do not have a fair job promotion, nor basic and dignified facilities”.  

“Our goal in the network is to achieve the projection of women not only in Chile, but in all of Latin America. This International Women’s Day is an opportunity for women to be united in solidarity, share experiences and spread motivation - to have confidence in ourselves and achieve all of the goals we set ourselves. It takes time and effort, but it is always possible. Women in Latin America cannot continue to fear not achieving their goals - something that has been culturally imposed in our countries. There are no limits, women can do it!” Morel ended.