President of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), Paddy Cumlin, has promised a redoubled defence of workers’ rights.
He was addressing the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 28th International Convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday, where he promised to join with the Teamsters, North America’s most powerful union, to fight what he termed ‘the war against workers’.
The ITF represents over four and a half million workers in the freight, shipping and logistics sectors across the globe.
“We are here because we are angry about what is being done to workers and because we want to do something about it,” he said.
“We are here to get those rights back, our labour freedom back from the thieves and carpetbaggers robbing us with one hand and patting themselves on the back with the other.
“We are here because of the lies said about our unions and our labour movement and because we want the truth to resonate across our workplaces and be heard in all of our communities and nations.”
Mr Cumlin spoke about the freeing of Mansour Osanloo, the Iranian bus driver who was imprisoned, bashed and humiliated for many years in his country for seeking wage justice for his members.
He also welcomed Chinese union representatives, whom he said faced similar pressures and demands in the protection of workers’ rights in the next largest economy to the US.
“Whether it is in Wisconsin, Liverpool, Mumbai or Sydney, the war against workers continues to be motivated by the same elitism, arrogance, ignorance and negligence today in seeking to deny us of the rightful share from our labour,” he said.
“We will organise to get behind the wheel of this great trade engine of the world economy and, this time, drive it to our workplace, to our pension funds, mutuals, banks and credit unions.”