‘Organizing’ in the

changing world of work
Issues and Strategies
Arun Kumar, Actrav-ILO-Turin

ajymif;vJaeaom tvkyt
f udik Ef iS hyf wfouf
urBmwGif pnf;&H;k jcif;

udp&P yfrsm; ESifh enf;AsL[m
Arun Kumar, Actrav-ILO-Turin

Organizing – one of the main ways for unions to promote Decent
Work & Social Protection for workers
But its a task made very difficult in this period of flexible and
insecure employment where neither labour laws, nor labour
markets or employment conditions are favourably placed for
promoting organizing;
And in case of Burmese workers, the situation is even more
difficult.

So, what can FTUB and its unions do?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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pnf;&k;H a&; - oifjh rwfaom tvkyt
f udik f ESifh tvkyo
f rm;rsm;. vlra_ &;udk umuG,af &; wdk@twGuf
wd;k wufatmifjrif jrSiw
fh ifay;&mwGif t"duusaom vkyef nf;vky[
f ef wck jzpfonf/
odk@aomf jzpfysuv
f ,
G +f yD; tvkyt
f udik cf ef@xm;a&;twGuf pdwcf s&r_ r&Sad om tajctaewGif
&Sad om ,ae@acwfumvwGif tvkyo
f rm;Oya'/ tvkyt
f udik af ps;uGu/f tvkyt
f udik f cef@ xm;a&;
ponfwdk@onf pnf;&k;H a&;vkyif ef;twGuf rsuEf mS ay;onfh tajctaewGif r&Sad y?
jrefrmEdik if o
H m; tvkyo
f rm;rsm;. Tajctaeonf ydrk cdk ufcJonfudk awG@&onf/
TtajctaewGif jrefrmEdik if t
H vkyo
f rm;or*~rsm; tzGJ@csKyf ESifh 4if;tzGJ@0ifor*~rsm;taejzifh bmrsm;
vkyaf qmifEidk yf govJ?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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How do trade unions Organize? 
Strategies will depend on – 
Country legal framework (what rights exist?) 
Type of industry and state of the industry 
Nature of employment, types of workers (self    

employed/wage employed/home based/ contract/etc
Union Strategy & Structure?
Union resources (financial, material & people)
Image and status of the TUs
What else ? 

No ready made solutions, no single model;
Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;taejzifh rnfodk@ pnf;&k;H a&; vkyyf govJ? 

tqifoifh jyKvkyx
f m;onfh enf;vrf;rsm;ESifh ykpH w
H rsK;d xJ r[kwyf g 
enf;AsK[mrsm;onf atmufygtcsuw
f dk@tay: rlwnfonf 
vkyif ef;trsK;d tpm;ESifh vkyif ef;.tajctae 
tvkyt
f udik cf ef@xm;onfh tajctae/ tvkyo
f rm;rsm;. taetxm;ykpH H (rdrb
d mom cef@xm;jcif;/    

vkyt
f m;cpm; tvkyo
f rm;/ tdrw
f iG af eIvkyaf om tvky/f pgcsKyf csKyfq+dk yD; vkyaf omtvkyf ponfjzifh
tvkyo
f r;or*~rsm;. enf;AsL[mESifh ykpH H ?
tvkyo
f rm;or*~&Sd aiGa=u;/ ypPn;f ESifh vltiftm;
tvkyo
f rm;or*~ *k%jf 'yfEiS fh taetxm;
tjcm;bmrsm; use&f ySd gao;ovJ ?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Facing the Organizing Challenge
Broadly speaking, TU Actions need to be taken at
two levels  Macro policy level – to create enabling
environment for organizing 
In the field, at workplace, at community level –
where the workers are

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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pnf;&k;H a&;vkyif ef;wGif }uHKawG@ae&aom pdeaf c:r_
us,u
f s,jf yef@jyef@ wifjy&vsif tkvyform;or*~taejzifh tqifh ESpq
f ifh udik w
f ,
G f vkyaf qmif
&ef vdo
k nf?  

tqifjh rifh rl0g'ydik ;f qdik &f mtqifh - pnf;&k;H vkyEf idk o
f nfh ywf0ef;usit
f aetxm;udk zefw;D
ay;&ef
tvkyo
f rm;rsm;&So
d nfh uGi;f xJwiG /f vkyif ef;cGiw
f iG /f todik ;f t0dik ;f xJ ponft
h qifw
h iG f

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Creating enabling environment 
What are the main demands of trade unions in
your country? 

Campaigns at national level on issues such as – 
Freedom of Association (Right to Organise, to Union
Recognition) & Collective Bargaining Rights (ILO
Conventions 87 & 98)  Tripartitism – right to be represented in the decision making
bodies at Govt level 
Domestic social clause 
Building partnerships with other movements 

What else does Unions need to do?
Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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jzpfEidk af cs&aSd om ywf0ef;usit
f aetxm;udk zefw;D jcif;  

oif.Edik if w
H iG f tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;rS rnfonft
h csurf sm;udk t"du
awmif;qdak eygoenf;?
Edik if aH wmftqifw
h iG f wGe;f wGe;f wdkufwdkuf aqmif&u
G &f rnfh udprP sm; 

vGyv
f yfpmG toif;tyif;rsm; zGJ@pnf;cGifh (pnf;&k;H cGiEfh iS fh or*~tm; todtrSwjf yKjcif;)
pkaygi;f nSEd i_d ;f ta&;qdck iG fh (tdik t
f ,fvt
f dk jyXmef;csuf trSwf 87 ESihf 98) 
ok;H yGiq
fh idk f aqmif&u
G rf _ ? ? tpd;k &tqifYh qk;H jzwfcsuaf y;onft
h zGJ@wiG f ud,
k pf m;jyKcGifh 
jynfwiG ;f vlra_ &; tydik ;f u¾ 

tvkyo
f rm;or*~taejzifh aemufxyfbmrsm; vky&f ef vdt
k yfygao;vnf;?
Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Organizing Actions at Workplace
Questions to be considered 
Why should a worker join the union? What can union give
them in this age of flexible employment? 
Where is our power in a market economy? in numbers or ? 
How have we been organizing so far? 
What new strategies can we develop for organizing and
strengthening TUs?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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vkyif ef;cGiw
f iG f pnf;&k;H a&;vkyif ef; v_y&f mS ;taumiftxnfazmfr_
tvkyo
f rm;wa,mufonf rnfonft
h wGuaf =umifh tvkyo
f rm;or*~ tzGJ@0if jzpfoifh
ygovJ? ,ckacwfumv. tvkyt
f udik &f &Sad &; ESifh ywfoufI raocsm ra&&maom
tajctaewGif tvkyo
f rm;or*~taejzifh bmrsm;vkyaf y;Edik yf govJ?
aps;uGupf ;D yGg;a&;wGif u|Eykf w
f dk@ tiftm;onf rnfonfah e&mwGif &Syd goenf;?
ta&twGut
f m;jzifv
h m;?
rnfr#avmufxd u|Eykf w
f dk@ pnf;&k;H +yD;yg+yDvnf;?
tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;twGuf pnf;&k;H &efEiS fh tm;aumif;ap&eftwGuf u|Eykf w
f dk@ rnfonfh
enf;AsL[mtopfrsm;udk xyfrH wd;k csJ@+yD;yg+yDvJ?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Union Approaches
Servicing Model 
Union/union officials provide collective & individual services
to members; 
Members dependent on the Union & its Office bearers to
provide what they require. 
Unions’ officials control union resources, strategies, interests
& develop union tactics

NOT MUCH INVOLVEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP IN
TU ACTIVITIES
Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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tvkyo
f rm;or*~ csO;f uyfrr_ sm;
tvkyo
f rm;or*~/ tvkyo
f rm;or*~t&m&Srd sm;rS pkaygi;f Iaomf4if;/ wOD;csi;f aomfaomf4if;
tzGJ@0ifrsm;twGuf 0efaqmifra_ y;onf?
tzGJ@0ifrsm;onf tvkyo
f rm;or*~EiS fh tvkyo
f rm;or*~&;kH vkyif ef; aqmif&u
G o
f l 0efxrf;rsm;
taejzifh 4if;wdk@vt
dk yfonfudk jznfq
h nf;ay;&ef trSo
D [JjyKonf?
tvkyo
f rm;or*~t&m&Srd sm;onf tvkyo
f rm;or*~. ydik q
f ikd rf r_ sm;/ enf;AsL[mrsm;/ tusK;d pD;
yGg;ESifh enf;vrf;wd;k wufzGH@+zdK;&ef xde;f odr;f ay;onf?

tzGJ@0if wd;k yGm;vma&;twGuf vkyaf qmiftaumiftxnfaz:r_wiG f yg0ifjcif;
r&Sv
d yS g?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Union Approaches
Organizing Model 
Not just an approach to organizing but also a vision of union
purpose & form - workers active participants rather than
passive consumers, 
Instead of just solving problems, union seeks to empower
workers to solve their problems thru union 
Organizing – motivated thru activism & self-help among
workers; 
Education, research or communication activities; 
Develop campaigns, alliances & use members to support
external organizing
Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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tvkyo
f rm;or*~ csO;f uyfrr_ sm;
pnf;&k;H r_ ykpH H
pnf;&k;H &eftwGuf csO;f uyfonfomru tvkyo
f rm;taejzifh Ed;k =um;r_r&Sad om pm;ok;H ol
taexuf wufºupGg yg0ifvyk af qmifvma&;udk tvkyo
f rm;or*~ta&;tawG; tjrifjzifh
jy\emrsm;udk ajz&Si;f ay;jcif;tpg; tvkyo
f rm;rsm;taejzifh 4if;wd@k . jy\emudk tvkyf
orm;or*~rw
S qifh ajz&Si;f &efudk tm;ay;&ef
pnf;&k;H a&; - tvkyo
f rm;rsm;t=um;wGif Ed;k =um; wufºupGg ESihf ud,
k x
f u
l ,
kd x
f aqmif&u
G f
vma&; wGe;f tm;ay;&ef
ynma&;/ okawoe/ qufo,
G af &; vkyaf qmifrr_ sm;
tzGJ@jyifypnf;&k;H a&;twGuf taxmuftuljzpfap&ef zGH@+zdK;wd;k wufa&; uefyed ;f rsm;/ r[mrdwf
rsm;ESifh tzGJ@0ifrsm;udk tok;H jyKonf?

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Organizing
workers: what are
unions doing?
Some ideas

tvkyo
f rm;rsm;tm;pnf;&k;H jcif;/
tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;rS bmrsm;
aqmif&u
G af eygovJ
t}uHOm%fwcsKd@ay;yg

Organizing Strategies
1.

TU resources limited - We cannot go out & organize
each & every worker. SO, can we then think of a way to
make workers come to us?

2.

Need to go beyond wage bargaining – into social welfare
- linking with govt schemes for providing access to
workers for social welfare programmes
- Using group insurance schemes to provide social
protection - health care, life insurance
- Organizing thru thrift, credit and social welfare services

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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pnf;&k;H a&;enf;AsL[mrsm;
1? tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;wGif t&if;tjrpf tiftm;rsm; tuef@towf ESi&fh o
Sd nf –
u|Eykf w
f dk@taejzifh tvkyo
f rm;wdik ;f udk oGm;Ipnf;&k;H Edik rf nf r[kwyf g
xdk@twGuaf =umifh tvkyo
f rm;rsm;rS rdrw
d dk@xo
H dk@vma&; rnfo@kd vyk af qmifrnfudk pOf;pm;
=urnfvm; ?
2? vkyt
f m;ctwGuf nSEd i_d ;f ta&;qdx
k uf ausmv
f eG v
f yk af qmif&ef - vlrz_ v
l akH &;udpq
P o
D @kd
tvkyo
f rm;rsm;tm; tpd;k &pDru
H ed ;f rsm;ESifh qufE,
G I
f vlrz_ v
l aHk &;tpDtpOfrsm; vufvrS ;f
Edik af p&ef
vlra_ &;umuG,rf /_ use;f rma&;tmrcHEiS fh touftmrcH ponfw@kd &&Sad p&eftwGuf tkypf k
vdu
k f tmrcH pDru
H ed ;f udk tok;H jyKjcif;/
aiGp/k aiGacs; ESifh vlrz_ v
l akH &; vkyif ef;rsm;rSwqifh pnf;&k;H jcif;

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Organizing Strategies
3.

Leveraging power of the ‘organised’- Eg. Railway unions
extending their reach to hawkers, coolies, contractors
workers, etc

4.

For MNCs and those companies with Export interests in
OECD countries – companies that are susceptible to
consumer power – build links with international TUs
(GUFs), NGOs and consumer movement.

5.

Role of international labour solidarity & International
Framework Agreements

6.

Organizing not at workplace but at workers living areas –
role of self help groups

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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pnf;&k;H a&;enf;AsL[mrsm;
3? pnf;&k;H r_tiftm;udk wd;k jrSio
fh nf/ Oyrm – rD;&xm;tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;onf ysu
H saps;onfrsm;/
ukex
f rf;orm;rsm;/ uGex
f &ufwm tvkyo
f rm;rsm; ponfwdk@ukd pnf;&k;H onf?
4? OECD Edik if rH sm;wGi&f aSd omukr%
` rD sm;xHodk@ ydk@uek v
f yk if ef;jzifh tusK;d tjrwf&adS om ukr%
` rD sm;
ESifh MNCs rsm;onf pm;ok;H ol0,fvt
dk m;Esifh ywfoufpeG f@pm;r_rsm;&So
d nfh twGuf tjynfjynf
qdik &f m tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm; (GUFs), NGO ESifh pm;ok;H olvy_ &f mS ;r_w@kd jzifh qufE,
G f
vkyu
f idk o
f nf?
5? tjynfjynfqidk &f m tvkyo
f rm; aoG;pnf;nDnw
G rf .
_ tcef;u¾ ESifh tjynfjynfqidk &f m
oabmwlnrD r_ sm;abmiftwGi;f
6? tvkyo
f rm;rsm; tvkyv
f yk u
f idk o
f nfh vkyif ef;cGiw
f iG f r[kwb
f J tvkyo
f rm;rsm; aexdik o
f nfh
ae&mwGif oGm;a&mufpnf;&k;H &ef – ud,
k x
f u
l ,
dk x
f vkyaf qmifaom tkypf rk sm;. tcef;u¾

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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Organizing Migrant Workers
Suggested Strategies    

Advocate for universal labour rights – abolish distinctions for
temporary workers (delinking workers rights from nationality/
citizenship)
Working at community level, Self-help groups – building
leadership among migrants
Needs of Migrant workers? Set up Welfare & Service
centres– health care & workers rights services – help lines
TU Education and Rights Awareness Activities

Federation of Trade UnionsBurma

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a&$@ajymif;tvkyo
f rm;rsm;tm; pnf;&k;H jcif;
enf;AsL[mrsm; t}uHjyKcsuf
tjynfjynfqidk &f mrS vufcaH om tvkyo
f rm;tcGit
fh a&;rsm;twGuf axmufct
H a&;qdjk cif; ,m,Dtvkyo
f rm;rsm;tm; rwlncD GJjcm;xm;r_udk zsuo
f rd ;f jcif; (tvkyo
f rm;rsm;. tcGifh
ta&;udk vlrsK;d / Edik if o
H m;wdk@EiS fh rqufE,
G )f
vltodik ;f t0dik ;f =um;xJ tqifw
h iG f vkyu
f idk o
f nf/ ud,
k x
f u
l ,
kd x
f tkypf k
a&$@ajymif;tvkyo
f rm;rsm;twGi;f OD;aqmifru
_ dk wnfaqmufonfa&$@ajymif;tvkyo
f rm;rsm;
vdt
k yfonft
h &mrsm; - vlra_ &; (oma&;/ ema&;) ESifh taxmuftuljyKonfh pifwmrsm;
use;f rma&;aqmifah &SmufrE_ iS fh tvkyo
f rm;rsm;tcGifh ta&;0efaqmifra_ y;aom
tultnDay;onfh zke;f vdik ;f rsm;
tvkyo
f rm;or*~ ynma&;ESifh tcGit
fh a&;qdik &f m todtjrifE;kd =um;ap&ef vkyaf qmifrr_ sm;

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Organizing thru SHGs & Cooperatives
relevant for informal economy workers, self employed and
home based workers.
builds workers own leadership and self reliance; brings in new
activists into the labour movement,
successfully used by the NGOs but not trade unions.

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ud,
k x
f u
l ,
dk x
f tzGJ@rsm;ESifh or0g,rvkyif ef;rsm;rSwqifh
pnf;&k;H jcif;
ykrH eS rf [kwaf om pD;yGg;a&;vkyief;wGi&f aSd om tvkyo
f rm;rsm;ESifh qufE,
G o
f nfh wud,
k af & wum,
rdrb
d mom tvkyv
f yk af om tvkyo
f rm;rsm;ESifh tdrw
f iG ;f tajccHtvkyo
f rm;rsm;/
tvkyo
f rm;rsm;taejzifh rdrw
d dk@bmom OD;aqmifru
_ ¾wGif &Sv
d map&ef/
ud,
k x
f u
l ,
dk x
f aqmif&u
G v
f map&ef v_y&f mS ;aqmif&u
G o
f l vlopfrsm;udk tvkyo
f rm;or*~ v_y&f mS ;r_
twGi;f odk@ a&mufvmatmif qGJaqmifjcif;/

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Organizing Strategies 

Using Workers Capital to promote Union Rights and other
labour standards
– Labour Social Clause in the Investment Pattern
- Need to think beyond Rate of Interest.

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pnf;&k;H a&;enf;AsL[mrsm; 

tvkyo
f rm;rsm; t&if;tjrpfudk tvkyo
f rm;or*~tcGit
fh a&; ESihf tjcm;aomtvkyo
f rm;
pHEe_ ;f rsm;udk wd;k wufjrifrh m;ap&ef tok;H jyKjcif;
- &if;ES;D jrSKyfErSH y_ pkH w
H iG f vkyt
f m;/ vlra_ &;tyd'k f
- twd;k E_e;f xuf ausmv
f eG I
f pOf;pm;&ef vdo
k nf

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Organizing Strategies 

Adopt & advocate policies that will apply to all
workers and prevent further divisions of the workers
in the labour market – that is, put all workers in one
boat. 

Equal Pay campaign 

And – what else can TUs do ???

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pnf;&k;H a&;enf;AsL[mrsm; 

tvkyo
f rm;aps;uGut
f wGi;f tvkyo
f rm;rsm; 0d0g'uGJjym;r_ xyfrrH jzpfap&ef wm;qD;&ef
twGuf tvkyform;tm;vk;H wdk@tay: wajy;nDouf&mufaom rl0g'rsm; twnfjyKjcif;
tqdjk yKaxmufcjH cif;/ Todk@tm;jzifh tvkyo
f rm;rsm;tm;vk;H onf wavSxJp;D wc&D;xJomG ;
jzpfvmonf?

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Group Work     

What are the hurdles/difficulties in organizing
Burmese workers – inside & Outside Burma?
Give examples of how you organize in current
situation?
What are the reasons for young people &/or
migrant workers not being keen to join the unions?
What services or benefits does the union
membership bring to a member?
How can

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tkypf v
k u
dk af qmif&u
G cf suf     

rnfonft
h csuw
f dk@onf jynfwiG ;f ESifh jynfy&Sd jrefrmEdik if o
H m; tvkyo
f rm;wdk@udk pnf;&k;H &ef
twGuf twm;tqD;/ tcuftcJrsm; jzpfygovJ/
vuf&t
Sd ajctaewGif oifwdk@taejzifh rnfuo
Jh dk@ pnf;&k;H vkyu
f ikd af eonfudk Oyrmay;yg/
rnfonft
h a=umif;&if;wdk@onf i,f&,
G o
f rl sm;ESifh a&$@ajymif;tvkyo
f rm;rsm;onf
tvkyo
f rm;or*~rsm;odk@ tzGJ@0iftjzpf 0ifa&muf&ef wkef@qikd ;f aeygovJ/
rnfodk@aom 0efaqmifrr_ sm;ESifh tusK;d tjrwfwdk@onf tvkyo
f rm;or*~tzGJ@0if jzpfvmap&ef
twGuf vkyaf qmifygovJ/
rnfuo
Jh dk@ vkyEf idk yf govJ/

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