Trade union international solidarity makes a difference for workers’ rights in Asia-Pacific

Through its international programme, the Belgian trade union ACV-CSC strengthens the capacity of trade unions in Asia-Pacific to conduct effective social dialogue and increase their negotiating skills in defense of workers’ interests and rights.

The programme is led by Stijn Sintubin, ACV-CSC International, and coordinated in Asia-Pacific by Maria Emeninta, KSBSI (Indonesia). The main goal of the programme is to utilise social dialogue to create decent work in multinational enterprises active in the region as well as along these enterprises’ supply chains.

“As trade unions, we are the driving force behind social justice and sustainable development. Therefore, social dialogue and collective bargaining are key for the social and economic stability of society. They bring prosperity to workers and their families. Social dialogue is the instrument of excellence for the equal redistribution of wealth and for fighting inequality,” said Stijn Sintubin.

In every country of Asia-Pacific, workers continue to face severe violations of labour rights and fundamental workers’ rights. By consolidating a strong and proactive network of trade unions, the programme provides technical and financial support for unions to engage with greater efficiency in discussions with employers and governments. The programme 2017-2021 focuses especially on two main countries: Indonesia and Cambodia. It also integrates a wider partnership with unions in Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines and Bangladesh. The new programme 2022-2026 – launched on 1st January 2022 – also integrates the Philippines as a third focus country. The network will also be looking into expanding towards other unions in the region.

“The programme has helped us to identify the many gaps and violations that workers face in multinationals and their supply chains. It has also offered us the chance to network and join forces to better structure our actions in companies present in our countries, and improve our capacity, as a network, to defend efficiently and effectively workers in these companies and along their supply chains,” said Maria Emeninta.

The programme also contributes to progressing towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 8. It provides unions with the capacity to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, productive employment and decent work for all, independently of their contractual status.

Watch the video about the outcomes of the programme for 2017-2021: