Delegation takes union rights protest to Swiss heartland

26 Sep 2013

A forty-strong international delegation took its protest over a lack of labour rights direct to the Swiss heartland today, when it put a global company headquartered there on notice that it has to listen to its workers.

The  high level group rallied in the small Swiss town of Châtel-St-Denis to ensure that offshore pipeline installation and subsea construction company Allseas Group SA abides by its and Switzerland’s obligations under international conventions and recognises the union rights of those working for it.

Speaking from the scene, ITF offshore taskforce group chair Norrie McVicar reported: “This was a great, peaceful and colourful display of international solidarity that has put Allseas on record that its behavior is unacceptable and has to change. Our invitation, delivered to them personally today, is to engage with their workers and recognise their union rights, and to do it now.”

Today’s delegation included officials from unions and union organisations including IndustriALL global union (headquartered in Switzerland); Nautilus International (from the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland); the UK’s RMT (The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers); France’s CFDT; Belgium’s ACV-Transcom; Germany’s ver.di union; the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA); the Maritime Union of New Zealand (Munz); Norway’s Industri Energi; Indonesia’s KPI (Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia; Swiss trade union organisation the USFR/FRGB (Union syndicale fribourgeoise/Freiburger Gewerkschaftsbund); The Seafarers’ Union of Croatia; Switzerland’s Unia union, and others.

The event was mirrored with protests and delivery of letters to Allseas offices in Mumbai, India; Houston, USA, and Perth, Australia, where a sister demonstration reportedly brought the city’s Main Street to a standstill.

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