E-Equality Newsletter Special Edition – April 2007

  • Amicus take first steps toward global super union
  • Workers’ Memorial Day – 28 April
  • Zimbabwe Sanitary Products Appeal
  • Stop Violence Against Women: Demanding Justice in Guatemala & Mexico

Amicus take first steps toward global super union
Amicus, the T&GWU and the United Steel Workers (USW) of America have announced a formal process to prepare the ground for the creation of the first Trans Atlantic trade union.

At a ceremony held in Ottawa at the USW’s Canadian Congress, representatives of the three unions will sign an accord to set up a merger exploration committee which will be tasked with laying down a foundation for a legal merger.

The new union would represent over 3.4 million members in the US , Canada , UK and Ireland . It would be the world’s biggest union and would be expected to attract other union organisations throughout the world into membership.

During the exploration process, the unions will engage in coordinated campaigning and common approaches to collective bargaining with multinational companies.

This agreement follows a strategic alliance signed between Amicus and the USW two years ago. Amicus and the T&G will join together as one union from May 1st 2007.

Amicus General Secretary, Derek Simpson, said,”One of the main reasons for the merger between Amicus and the T&GWU, was our desire to create an international trade union that would be able to deal with multi national companies on an equal footing and organise working people in every greater numbers . Coming as it does, hot on the heels of our merger, today’s announcement demonstrates the resonance that the idea of a global super union with an organising agenda has throughout the international trade union movement.

Amicus Head of Equalities, Siobhan Endean, commented, “A merger with the USW will be a big step forward for trade unions. We already have Amicus young members going to America to study on the USW Leadership Scholarship Programme. With a merger we will be opening up new opportunities to organise and campaign and progress towards equality for workers across nations”.

Workers’ Memorial Day – 28 April
Workers’ Memorial Day is commemorated every year on 28 April to remember those that have been killed carrying out their work. Every year more people are killed at work than in wars and most die because their employer decided that their safety wasn’t a priority.

Give your support and sign the petition to have Workers’ Memorial Day declared a national day of mourning. And see the Amicus website for more information and events commemorating the day.

Zimbabwe Sanitary Products Appeal
Millions of women in Zimbabwe are going without sanitary products. As a result many are suffering from infection, depression and, in some serious cases, infertility.

Amicus the union and the campaigning organisation Action for Southern Africa, are raising funds to buy large supplies of sanitary products to send to Zimbabwe .

As Robert Mugabe’s leadership plunges Zimbabwe deeper into crisis – basic goods like sanitary products are becoming a luxury item only available to the rich.

Lucia Matibenga, President of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions is angry about the lack of sanitary wear for women, which she says not only threatens women’s health but also their dignity. She is currently in the UK and has spoken this week at the STUC Conference. She will also be meeting with the Amicus delegation to TUC Black Workers Conference this weekend. She says, “Ordinary women cannot afford sanitary wear. We are using old pieces of cloth or newspapers, but the ink from the newspaper is causing infections, and there is no medication to cure this. It’s immoral for the leadership to deny us our biological rights, ”

Lucia and her colleagues are asking Amicus members to help the women of her country. She urges you to donate generously. Your gift will make a huge difference now, and for many months to come, and provide the support that will improve women’s lives.

Together we can lessen this serious and devastating problem in Zimbabwe To download the form, click here

If you would like some hard copies, please send and email to Ashraf Choudhury.

Stop Violence Against Women: Demanding Justice in Guatemala & Mexico
In Guatemala and Mexico thousands of women face violence on a daily basis, but they cannot count on their governments to provide them with a basic level of protection and security.

Amnesty International are hosting events in London, Edinburgh and Belfast in May where two campaigners, Jorge Valesquez, from Guatemala and Neil Arias, from America will be telling powerful stories about their campaigning work to get justice for women in their countries.

Both Amnesty International members and non-members are welcome. If you would like to attend more details are available here.

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