Women's TUC: Sweatshop Labour policy

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 10/04/2007 - 11:06

The TUC has still not deemed to post on its website the resolutions passed at Women's Conference over a month ago. Instead, we get a decidedly unhelpful "no documents available".

I'm not going to do their job for them and post the whole lot, but I am posting the resolution on sweatshop labour, that was proposed by RMT, seconded by CWU, and passed unanimously.


Conference recognises the majority of sweatshop workers, including those working in the developing world, are women. Foreign companies are encouraged/bullied - by the likes of the World Bank - to set up areas where they can invest easily. These companies recruit women - expecting them to be docile/cheap/uneducated/unorganised.

There are many examples of pittance pay by companies such as Reebok but few examples of how some exploited women workers have won recognition disputes - the Korean foodworkers' federation being one. Their struggle was fought around the issue of sexual harassment. A study by the ILRF showed all the women workers had experienced/witnessed serious workplace sexual harassment. Ninety-five per cent failed to report it, believing it to be futile.

Sweatshop employers operate in the UK. They get away with it because of poor enforcement of minimmum wage and health and safety laws. The transport industry is also effected, especially our catering and cleaning contract members.

The strongest protection against sweatshop employers is strong trade unionism - Conference therefore asks the General Council to:

i) develop a strategy for recruiting and organising low-paid, super-exploited women workers;

ii) publicise and organise solidarity with women organising against sweatshop conditions worldwide;

iii) work with the 'No Sweat' campaign.

Issues and Campaigns

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