Watching Over Every Link in the Chain

Participants discussed how workers are uniquely placed to build power across supply chains at a lively debate on logistics today.

The ITF’s Ingo Marowsky explained the Federation’s new approach: “Logistics workers are integrated into global supply chains with complex power structures. Unions need to target the ‘real employer’ who has the power to change terms and conditions across the chain.”
 
“That is why the ITF has created a new unit for supply chain campaigning. We are building new alliances, and tapping into the power of unions in industries like retail, manufacturing, and energy”.
 
Christine Behle, head of transport at ver.di, highlighted Amazon as one of the most important lead firms. 
 
“Amazon is changing the face of the logistics industry, with bad results for workers. In Germany there have been strikes in 14 different warehouses, but Amazon says it will now move its distribution to Poland. We need to have an international strategy for this company,” she said
 
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said the global union movement has all the tools to build power across supply chains: “When you look at what the ITF has achieved in the FOC campaign, using the joint power of dockers and seafarers, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t build power in global supply chains.”
 
“The ITF, along with UNI Global Union, is leading the way on logistics organising with the DHL campaign. It is also very important that the global movement develops an effective strategy to organise Amazon. The ITUC is fully behind the global union federations with these important campaigns”, said ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow.
 
Steve Turner of Unite the Union said it was about turning just-in-time into just-too-late. “Logistics workers have enormous power, and they are learning how to use it very effectively”.