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Report on Organizing Workers in DHL and Postal Logistics Sector

Organised by Union Network International Asia and Pacific (UNI-APRO)

27-28 November 2009


Introduction

The expansion of global economy has been facilitated by the development of science and technology, international transport and communication and distribution of business and industries. This process has facilitated the growth of global network of production, distribution, exchange, communication, research and innovation. But, it has also fragmented the social and political identities of workers within the nation entailing the corresponding loss of state sovereignty.

To compete in the international market, many manufacturing companies have outsourced their communication, transport, logistics and distribution functions to subsidiarities-- tiny companies specialized in small areas and spread in various parts of the world. The basic motivation of this is to improve the services, make the business cost-effective and delivery of service on time whether it is document, parcel, general freight and commodity circulation. The vocation of trade union is to represent, channel and lead the aspiration of its members for compassion, freedom, social justice and basic solidarity. In this context, unions have to be adaptable to change everywhere in technology, communication, industry and society, no matter these factors are inward-looking or outsourcing, and protect the rights of workers.

The advent of DHL has tremendously reduced time for custom clearance and speedy processing of important documents. It began its business as an air courier of shipping documents. But now, it has developed itself into an integrated carrier, which handles not only mail, parcel, small package, freight, and logistics but also all businesses of various sorts. Deutsche post has developed even more effective strategy in overseas taking advantage of the effect of the global market integration process. Many other companies working in these sectors and even governments are following suit. They are addressing the needs of consumer market in the future and overcoming the weakness of the public postal services which is run in individual countries lacking "competitiveness" of an international integrated service from collection of parcel to the delivery to customers. Others are engaged in strategic alliance, diversification and market share between companies to increase their competitive edge. In this, context, UNI is planning to sign framework agreement with DHL very soon taking into account the interest of workers in these areas.

Objectives

  • To support the Nepalese unions to organize workers in this area,
  • To familiarize the situation of currier companies and workers of Asia-Pacific region,
  • Inform the impact of global economic crisis on the workers of Asia-Pacific Region,
  • Provide training on the union organizing strategies for workers in collective bargaining and education.

Participants and Resource Persons

There were altogether 25 participants including 3 women. There were two resource persons-Korea 1, India 1 and Nepal 2 to facilitate the training. Participants represented several unions, such as Postal, DHL and other CEPL companies.

Content and Methodology

The content of training involved situation of CEPL companies in Asia and Pacific, UPS, FedEx, DHL, TNT, turn over of their profits, global economic downturn, speed up of liberalization, cut jobs and layoff, hub in Asia and Pacific, trade unionism and team building, campaign, organization building, , project presentation, effective communication, presentation skills, group exercises, motivation skills to recruit new members, organizing skills and reaching consensus, delegating responsibilities, leadership development, presentation of proposals and action plans, evaluation, etc. five groups represented presented their findings for group discussion. The UNI-APRO provided resource for reading and reflection.

Outcome

As this was the first program on these sectors participants expressed that they could come to the workshop only after completing their jobs assigned by their respective offices. They expressed that they neither know labor laws, nor their rights granted by the constitution not even changing nature of economy. Many of them were also not familiar with the benefits in joining unions. After the program participants become familiar with the functioning of their offices, FES and UNI, expressed commitment to form trade union in their respective sectors within this year and acknowledged the support provided by the FES and UNI to them. The local UNI office in Nepal has also expressed its commitment to help in training leadership, organizing workers, providing materials and linking them to national and regional movement of workers for democracy, social justice and dignity of labor.

 
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