IMF holds Women’s Workshop on Precarious Work
IMF delegates put forth proposals on precarious work for consideration at IMF Central Committee taking place November 28-29.
BRAZIL: More than 50 delegates participated in the International Metalworkers’ Federation’s Women’s Workshop on Precarious Work in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil on November 26.
Delegates considered a report on activities of the IMF Equal Rights Department regarding Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and women workers in the electronics manufacturing industry. The meeting put a focus on the issue of precarious work in Brazil, where Brazilian women represent the majority of precarious workers in the country.
Carol Landry from the United Steelworkers Canada, Hyewon Chong of the Korean Metal Workers Union and Francia Sosa of the National Federation of Miners and Metalworkers (FENATRAMIN) in the Dominican Republic were part of a panel reporting on precarious work in their respective countries and strategies their unions have taken to address this important problem.
Hyewon reminded delegates of the enormous challenge precarious workers face to improve their situation. “Once you fall in, it’s almost impossible to climb out and get permanent work,” she said, noting that precarious workers are by definition robbed of the tools to change their lot, the right to strike and the right to collectively bargain.
The workshop examined why women are more likely to be in precarious work and possible union approaches to improve conditions for women precarious workers specifically. Delegates put forth list of recommendations to be considered at the IMF Central Committee meeting taking place in the following days.
Proposals to be considered include:
- Unions should take action to reduce the double burden of domestic work on women, one of the reasons for women’s over-representation in precarious employment.
- Actions should be taken to improve the work-life balance in regular employment, to reduce precarious employment.
- Unions should do their own gender analysis of precarious work.
Strategies on precarious work should emphasize Decent Work and incorporate gender and race.
- Since women are often employed in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lack capacity to implement gains for women, union need to insist on bargaining with the principal company.
- All Central Committee proposals must take into account gender.
- IMF should develop a women’s manifesto pointing out the various ways that neo-liberalism has affected women in the metal industry.
- Precarious labour has a feminine face and all IMF documents need to show that understanding.
- Precarious work means precarious lives and social insecurity leading to increasing violence against women. This must be emphasized in the IMF’s campaign against precarious work.
Nov 27, 2007 – Kristyne Peter