IMF seminar examines needs of non-manual workers
Non-manual occupations account for an ever-increasing share of employment in the metal industries.
GENEVA: Some 50 delegates from affiliated unions in Australia, Japan, Singapore, North America and Europe gathered in Geneva on November 10-11 to participate in the IMF's second seminar on organising non-manual workers.
With the structural and technological transformation of industries in the metal sector, major changes have taken place in the composition of the labour force, with non-manual occupations accounting for an ever-increasing share of employment. Greater emphasis, therefore, must be placed on making unions relevant to these workers who, just like their manual colleagues, are bearing the brunt of ruthless competition and corporate restructuring.
The purpose of the IMF seminar was to examine the needs of non-manual workers, and discuss ways to provide collective representation while responding to requests for a more tailored approach. Participants also sought to respond to the question of how to better integrate these structural changes in IMF activities and policy.
Working time, work/life balance and equality issues were high on the agenda, as were training and career development. Special attention was also paid to the need to design communication methods and strategies both for recruitment and retention of members, and services to members, ranging from legal advice to the availability of help lines and call centres, were discussed.
As a follow-up to this seminar, the issue of non-manual workers will be dealt with in other regions which could not be represented at this meeting.
Nov 13, 2003 – Katherine Livas