Solifonds: 30 years of trade union solidarity from Switzerland

The Union syndicale suisse (USS) has a long history of involvement in trade union development aid and policy. The USS is active in this area through the Solifonds organisation which it co-founded and also through other organisations. Solifonds, the “Solidarity Fund for Social Struggles for Liberation in the Third World” this year celebrated 30 years involvement in development aid. Solifonds’ objective, in accordance with its Constitution, is to support the social liberation movement in the Third World and the struggle to achieve and ensure human rights. In particular, SOLIFONDS supports political and trade union fundamental rights throughout the world and disseminates information about these struggles in Switzerland and Europe.

Against the criminalisation of trade union organisations
The criminalisation of social and trade union movements has constituted one of Solifonds’ priorities over the years. In Latin America, Asia and Africa, trade unions, peasants and all those who defend their lands against the extension of monocultures or mining exploitation are not only subjected to repression. Unjust criminal charges aim to destroy their movements and sap their strength, their meagre resources and above all, their credibility. This year, more than ever, Solifonds, the USS and the other organisations represented by the foundation contributed to the funding of legal aid, mobilisations and the dissemination of information destined to combat these criminalisation strategies. In Paraguay, a massacre of landless people served as a pretext for the removal of the President, Fernando Lugo, the survivors were accused of murder. In Colombia, spurious allegations have been made against many leaders of trade union organisations and other movements.

For democracy
During this anniversary year, the USS and Solifonds have also been able to pursue promising projects in precarious sectors involving: domestic workers in Mali, domestic workers and naval demolition workers in Pakistan, fruit and vegetable packers in the South of Spain have formed trade unions in order to demand the respect of their fundamental rights. In Tunisia, as in Algeria for example, Solifonds has supported the engagement of trade unions in the more progressive environments for a more equitable economy.

Article provided by the SGB-USS