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24-May-2016

IndustriALL global unions have said they will intensify their work in India's garment and textile industry in order to improve worker safety and defend employees' rights, with a pledge to ramp up recruitment.

At a workshop in Bangalore earlier this month, IndustriALL global union and Swedish non-profit organisation ‘Union to Union’ discussed strategies and shared experiences of organising precarious workers in the country's textile, garment and leather sector.

Winning workers' confidence in unions is a major challenge faced by organisers, IndustriALL said in an update from the workshop. "Social security for precarious workers has been a key demand pursued by unions. In the absence of secure work, union intervention in enabling precarious workers to obtain government sponsored social security schemes have made a positive impact in organising workers."

Unions are also facing the challenges of factory closures, particularly tanneries, due to environmental regulations. In some cases, workers are left with no compensation or alternative employment opportunities.

Apoorva Kaiwar, regional secretary of IndustriALL, urged participants to build union power at plant level. "In today's scenario the textile, garment and leather industry is witnessing a rapid growth, but the workforce is facing the serious challenges of precarious jobs. Migrant, young and women workers are becoming the face of the workforce in this sector and we need to organise them in a way suitable to the next generation workers."

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