Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Connect and UNI meet Vodacom South Africa

UNI's affiliates with members in the Vodafone group of companies, met together in Johannesburg, South Africa and discussed the progress they had made in organising and developing union structures in the Vodafone Group of companies. They celebrated the recognition of unions in both Vodacom in South Africa and Vodafone in the United Kingdom and committed to work together to build stronger unions in those countries and to support union organising efforts in other parts of the global operations of Vodafone. Unions came from the UK, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Spain and the United States to plan and discuss how they could help the UNI Vodafone Union Alliance to gain union rights and workers rights wherever in the world that Vodafone operates.

The international colleagues also met with a number of the shop stewards for the CWU South Africa who are working to make Vodacom South Africa a better place to work. The CWU and the it's Vodacom members have been through a long struggle including a 5 week strike to gain union recognition at Vodacom and the international delegation heard about their struggles and the work they are now doing to gain proper bargaining with the company. This despite the intimidation and harassment that seem to be a daily concern for these workers. The UNI delegation was very happy to strengthen the relations between these workers and other Vodafone and Vodacom workers world wide so that there is a strong UNI family of workers in the Vodafone Group globally.

The international delegation also met with the CEO of Vodacom, Allan Knott-Craig and discussed the need for respect between workers and management if Vodacom was to become a truly good and socially responsible employer in the African continent. Mr Knott-Craig told the delegation that he personally respected union rights and workers rights and welcomed a union into Vodacom where he hoped that workers issues cold be dealt with in a respectful and honest manner by the company's management. He said that he would welcome a proposal from UNI Global Union to try and develop a global agreement and understanding on proper labour rights and standards for workers participation in the company. A number of issues of concern to the South-African colleagues were also discussed with Mr Knott-Craig and he said his door was always open to the unions to ensure the company ran in a respectful and socially responsible manner. He urged the CWU to raise issues of concern directly with him.

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