The GTDIH debates the industrialisation policies and defines a plan for the implementation of the PLADA

The Working Group on Hemispheric Development and Integration (GTDIH) of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, jointly organised with the FESUR, held its last meeting of the year in Montevideo, Uruguay on 6 and 7 November.

The aim of the meeting, divided into two parts, was to discuss the industrialisation policies for the region and the national and international strategies for implementing the PLADA.

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to the seminar entitled "Industrial and productive complementarity policies, keys to a development strategy for the Americas?", held in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Uruguay (FESUR) and the Training Centre for Regional Integration (CEFIR).

The event was attended by members of the TUCA executive secretariat: Víctor Báez, General Secretary; Rafael Freire, Economic Policy and Sustainable Development Secretary; Amanda Villatoro, Trade Union Policy and Education Secretary; and Laerte Teixeira, Social Policy Secretary. Simone Reperger, director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Uruguay, Álvaro Padrón, FES Projects Director, representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Gustavo Crespi, Juan José Toccone and Graciana Rucci, and Executive Secretary of CEFIR, Federico Gomensoro, were also present.

In his welcome speech, Víctor Báez underlined the importance of the meeting, given that it was the first time the IDB and the TUCA were meeting to discuss key aspects of development in the region. "This is a very important event. We have already worked with FESUR and CEFIR but it is the first time that we are meeting with the IDB to discuss industrial and development policies," he said. He also underlined the role of the Development Platform for the Americas: "The PLADA sets out the dreams and aspirations of the trade union movement. In spite of the asymmetries, we share a common dream, the productive complementarity that can be achieved by complementing rights, in industrial processes."

Simone Reperger, director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Uruguay, stated: "We are here in the midst of electoral processes that are decisive for Latin America and we are reflecting on the paths for development, the theme of productivity and the paths for integration. We cannot talk of the future of countries without considering industrial development and the production policies within the framework of that development. That is why the content of the activity, made possible thanks to the organisations present, TUCA, CEFIR, is important, and it is important that the IDB, when looking at industrial development, listens to the trade union movement and the wager it has placed on the PLADA.

"We consider the strengthening of the trade union movement’s influence on the projects of our countries’ governments to be important and that productive integration should be based on the interests of our countries rather than those of foreign capital," said the Executive Secretary of the CEFIR, Federico Gomensoro, who also highlighted the issues of privatisation and its impact on the region’s economies and regional integration as a response to the global economic crisis. "The issue of industrialisation is a long-standing theme in the trade union movement and we cannot talk of industrialisation without talking of development, and the PLADA is a tool for progressing towards industrial development and integration from the perspective of sustainable development, as advocated by the TUCA," concluded Gomensoro.

The IDB representatives, Gustavo Crespi, Juan José Toccone and Graciana Rucci, gave the panel presentation, presenting the content of the book "Rethinking Productive Development: Sound Policies and Institutions for Economic Transformation", by Gustavo Crespi, Eduardo Fernández-Arias and Ernesto Stein.

Sebastian Torres, a lecturer at the University of Uruguay and former National Director of Industry, gave an overview of the various policies implemented by governments over the last eight years and the contributions to achieving an economy that is more balanced and addresses the social needs of the population. Rafael Freire, TUCA Economic Policy and Sustainable Development Secretary, closed the discussion of the presentation before moving on to the plenary, highlighting the significance of industrialisation policies from the workers’ perspective, taking into account the emergence of new sustainable development paradigms, following more that 15 years of progressive governments. He also highlighted the maturity shown by the trade union movement in its formulation of the PLADA, with a strategic outlook covering the next 20 to 30 years in the region.

PLADA implementation strategy

The second day of the meeting was dedicated to strategies for implementing the PLADA. A Work Programme for the coming year was approved, placing emphasis on the strategies of Training, Dissemination-Communication and Policy Advocacy, which should be structured and should enable national, regional and international action, with the trade union movement engaging with governments, political parties, social movements and multilateral organisations.

Article initially published on the CSA website (in Spanish).