New discussions on the Development Platform for the Americas

The Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) Working Group on Hemispheric Development and Integration (GTDIH) is meeting in Sao Paulo today, 5 November, and tomorrow, 6 November, to determine the Development Platform for the Americas (PLADA), which will be launched in 2014. The PLADA, uniting four dimensions of development (economic, social, political and environmental), seeks to establish a trade union alternative to neoliberalism and serve as a tool for political action and discussion on the continent.

Eighty-five trade union leaders representing 24 organisations from 17 countries of the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela) are taking part, together with representatives of the Working Women’s Committee of the Americas (CMTA) and the TUCA Executive Committee (EC).

Representatives from the Coordinadora de Centrales Sindicales del Cono Sur (CCSCS), Coordinadora de las Centrales Sindicales Andinas (CCSA), Consejo Sindical Unitario de Centro América y Caribe (CSU), Public Services International (PSI), Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), Education International (EI), IndustriALL and UNI Global Union are also contributing to the meeting.
Seven civil society organisations were also invited to the event as special guests: Vía Campesina (Brazil), World March of Women (Brazil), Fórum Brazil de ONGs e Movimentos Sociais (FBOMS, Brazil), Redes - Amigos de la Tierra (Uruguay) and the Centro de Formación para la Integración Regional (CEFIR), Uruguay. The process is supported by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

Global trade union tool

At the event’s inauguration, Álvaro Padrón, speaking on behalf of the Regional Trade Union Project of the FES, underlined that the PLADA will enable the trade union movement of the Americas to develop the resolutions adopted at the 2nd TUCA Congress and will bring together the various levels of the trade union movement (national, regional and continental). The PLADA should also increase the trade union movement’s influence and its dialogue with governments, political parties and other social movements.
The TUCA general secretary, Víctor Báez, insisted that organising and collective bargaining rights must be at the heart of development. He reiterated the fact that the PLADA will serve as a key instrument for international action and recalled that the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has already expressed an interest in initiating discussions with the TUCA based on the process and results of the PLADA discussions.

Content and process

Rafael Freire, the TUCA Secretary for Economic Policy and Sustainable Development, presented a summary of the 226 points covered by the Platform thus far. They include regional integration, participatory planning of the social and solidarity economy, poverty eradication, social inclusion and distributive justice, environmental justice, the recognition and preservation of public goods, participatory democracy, the strengthening of regional parliaments and coordinated action among social movements to promote an agenda offering a better alternative to neoliberal capitalism.
The participants split into four groups in the afternoon to discuss the four dimensions of the platform in detail. Tomorrow, the main conclusions will be discussed in the plenary.

Written by the TUCA