UNI Global Union is a global federation of trade unions in the services sectors, including telecommunications, with more than 20 million members in more than one 140 countries throughout the world. The employees of Cable & Wireless and Columbus Communications, now part of Liberty Global, are among some of the Liberty Global work places that form the UNI Liberty Global Trade Union Alliance in the Caribbean and Europe.
Today simultaneously in 8 different countries Liberty Global workers in Belgium, Germany, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada, St Lucia, and Antigua are speaking out to denounce Liberty Global’s use of outsourcing and mergers to lower labor standards, justify continued redundancies and make work ever more precarious. “I am participating in this Global Day of Action so that Liberty Global knows that its workers are united throughout the world and we will stand together in solidarity to ensure fair working conditions and job security for all Liberty Global employees,” stated Albert Van Acker, a Liberty Global worker in Belgium through their subsidiary Telenet.
Throughout the Caribbean and in Europe, Liberty Global workers have seen a common pattern where workers are outsourced and find themselves doing the same job for the same company, but for lower pay and without job security. Liberty Global through its subsidiary Cable and Wireless is using acquisitions, like its merger with Columbus Communications (FLOW), to try and lower the hard won pay and benefits of its long time employees.
In many cases this is contrary to national laws and industrial practices of the countries where they operate. “Liberty Global believes it is above the law and continues to try and illegally reduce workers’ pay and benefits in Antigua and in other countries. But today we are sending a clear message that trade unions across the world will not stand by and allow this
injustice to occur,” said Chester Hughes, Deputy General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union.
Liberty Global´s practices have led to repeated labor conflicts in Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada and Jamaica, just to name a few.
These conflicts are avoidable distractions that threaten Liberty Global’s competitiveness. Yet Liberty Global has refused to meet with the UNI Global Alliance of Liberty Global Trade Unions. “We call upon Liberty Global management to engage in a global partnership with its workers through UNI Global’s affiliated trade unions by meeting with our unions as a united group. Only through dialogue that promotes fair and stable jobs can Liberty Global retain the high quality employees that keep this company competitive,” stated Alke Boessiger, head of UNI ICTS at UNI Global Union.