L20: Global unions increase pressure on T-Mobile US to change its anti-union stance

At the L20 in Berlin, UNI, AFL-CIO & DGB urged Chancellor Merkel to demand change through T-Mobile US’s parent company Deutsche Telekom.

Pressure is intensifying on T-Mobile US to change course and respect workers’ rights of freedom of association.

At the L20 in Berlin, labour leaders drew attention to the unfair union rights policies of T-Mobile to Angela Merkel in their session with the German Chancellor. In his remarks in the session with Chancellor Merkel, the DGB Chairman Reiner Hoffmann made specific reference to the labour rights issues with T-Mobile. In an exchange with German Labour Minister Andrea Nahles, UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings drew attention to the T-Mobile’s poor labour practices in the USA and urged the ministry to help find a resolution to these long-standing grievances.

In a strongly worded letter the President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and the Chairman of the DGB Reiner Hoffmann, which was handed to Chancellor Merkel at the L20 Labour Ministers, urged her to use her influence to demand change via T-Mobile US’s parent company Deutsche Telekom.

In the letter, union leaders said, “Deutsche Telekom has not taken the actions necessary to stop T-Mobile’s continuing workers’ rights violations. The German government’s large ownership stake in Deutsche Telekom makes the government complicit in the labour violations of Deutsche Telekom’s controlled US subsidiary. These violations and the unwillingness of Deutsche Telekom to end them are clearly contrary to the principled positions you have declared in previous G20 meetings.”

The letter concluded, “Germany needs to assume a leadership role in lifting global labour standards, including the Freedom of Association. In our view, this includes that German companies abroad, as well as their subsidiary and associated companies, adhere to the social dialogue practiced in Germany beyond national borders.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings who addressed the L20 in Berlin this week said, “UNI ICTS and our affiliates are fully engaged in this struggle and we support the demands being made by the AFL-CIO and DGB.  Last week, our UNI Management Committee committed to support our affiliate the CWA in its action to demand change at T-Mobile.”

The statement said, “We oppose any attacks on the right to organise and urge T-Mobile US CEO John Legere to respect workers´ rights to form a union and bargain collectively. We also urge Deutsche Telekom AG CEO Timotheus Höttges to demand that T-Mobile US management respect T-Mobile employees´ right to collective representation and follow the path of social dialogue, as the German parent company does in its operations in Germany.”