British trade union Amicus builds an international alliance

By Sophia Fuber
Published: Thursday 15 March 2007

british trade union Amicus has announced plans to create an international 'super union' over the next decade to protect workers' rights in today's globalised world. The 'super union', it says, will protect labourers in the South from exploitation by pushing multinationals to follow international norms for working conditions and pay.

"We aim to create a single union that can transcend borders and challenge the global forces of capitalism," said Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus. "The world is changing and the new global realities involve trans-national companies being able to trade off countries and workforces against each other," he said.

Amicus, which is left of centre, is the largest union in the uk's manufacturing sector. As a first step towards building a transnational union, it is preparing to join the uk's biggest general trade union, the Transport and General Workers Union. A ballot in May will decide on the merger and, if successful, the unions will amalgamate by the end of 2008 forming the country's largest union. Amicus has also signed solidarity agreement with Germany's engineering union ig Metal and two us unions: the Machinists and United Steel Workers.

Of late, Amicus has been working extensively with overseas trade unions. "A single global union would enable unions across the world to share experience and expertise with each other," said Amicus spokesperson Catherine Bithell. "Because there still lies a need for an international body to regulate the conditions and supports provided to workers," she said.

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