Ann Selin is a candidate for UNI Global Union presidency
Ann Selin, president of the Service Union United PAM, is a candidate for the next president of UNI Global Union. She was nominated as a candidate at the UNI World Executive Board meeting in Dublin in November. The elections will take place at the next UNI World Congress in Cape Town in 2014.
"It is an honour to the whole Finnish and Nordic trade union movement and our ways of doing things that I was asked to be a candidate. It is an important international task that will open even greater possibilities to examine how developments in the global labour market are shaping up and to influence these", Ann Selin says.
The Service Union United PAM is one of the major Finnish trade unions with 230,000 members who are working in private service sectors. UNI Global Union, based in Nyon, Switzerland, represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 unions in skills and services sectors. UNI has 12 Finnish trade unions as members.
Ann Selin was already involved in international activities back in the 1980's when working as the youth secretary in Liikeliitto, the predecessor of PAM. During the last ten years she has been a member of both the European and international Boards of UNI. At the moment Selin is the vice-president of UNI Global Union, representing Europe. She also has considerable experience when it comes to Nordic trade union cooperation.
Solidarity is important
"UNI is now working a lot with multinational companies", Selin says. The growing number of Global Agreements makes it possible to have trade union work even in countries with weaker traditions of trade unionism. The global economy and the resulting social consequences are firmly on the UNI agenda.
"UNI is also maintaining more cooperation with other global unions, as development in the different sectors are increasingly linked with each other." As an example of this Ann Selin cites the tragic events in a Bangladesh clothing factory when several workers lost their lives or got injured.
The international union for these workers is IndustryALL, but as the clothes are sold through retail companies, it has been reasonable for work also in this field, Ann Selin thinks. "In this sector UNI has naturally the best connections."
What would be the goals and priorities of Ann Selin as the UNI Global Union president? "We have to be sure that every worker in the world has a voice that will be heard. In many parts of the world there is still a danger of losing ones life when working for workers rights. The international presence is often a source of life insurance."
For this reason solidarity actions, recruiting members and cooperation to advance collective bargaining will be important also in the future. The social dimension has to be more visible in international politics, Ann Selin says.
"The companies in our fields of work are more and more connected with each other and we must influence the workers' position in the whole chain. I also would like to attract more service unions to the UNI in order to strengthen our voice, especially for and with those workers who are in the weakest and most vulnerable position."