Ann Selin, president of the Service Union United PAM from Finland, was elected as the next president of the UNI Global Union in the UNI World Congress in Cape Town.
In her acceptance speech she stressed the need for peace and sought to highlight the need for tripartism in the labour market as one part of this process. When first introduced in the peace congress in 1919 it was a daring idea, but now it has become a reality in many countries as well being central to the work of the ILO, the International Labour Organisation, she said.
”The idea of tripartism carries widely in promoting peace. We must use this and implement it nationally in every possible way we can. It helps nations to see that there is common ground and that cooperation is the key to peace and better lives for people.”
”Tripartism doesn’t mean the same thing all over the world – this is obvious. Still it helps to build common ground and is worth striving for. At the moment tripartism is under some attack in various countries. Neo-liberalist politicians don’t seem to be too keen on giving the workers a voice and some enterprises certainly are in the same choir, singing the same song over and over: It is called ‘Money and only money is power’.”
The task of the unions is to include everyone and make the workers’ voice heard, Selin said. ”We need to include the whole working world to union work. We need to listen what the workers need for their unions to do for and with them. We need to make participating not only possible but easy. We need to organize, organize and organize.”
UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions in the skills and services sectors. It has 53 global agreements with multinational companies to set standards and conditions for their more than 10 million workers around the world. The office of UNI is in Nyon, Switzerland.
The Service Union United PAM is one of the major Finnish trade unions with 230,000 members who are working in private service sectors. Ann Selin has been chairperson of PAM since 2002.