South-South cooperation, a new concept implemented by the CSC

Like the other Belgian unions, the CSC receives an allocation from the Belgian development cooperation budget to finance its partnerships. Ten trade union partners in ten countries of the South were able to take part in an exchange of “good trade union practices”, as part of the triennial development cooperation programme.

The 2012-2014 programme is gradually drawing to an end. One of the last stages has been completed with the organisation of a South-South seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia, attended by some 50 people from ten trade unions from the South.

Through its partnerships the CSC would like to strengthen three dynamics within the organisations: the capacity to provide services for their members the organisation’s development, and the capacity to work in a network with other organisations and institutions.

Each confederation was invited to describe its practices on these themes and then to compare them with another organisation. Hence, for example, the Nigerians went to Morocco to talk about their strategies for integrating “gender” into their trade union work and working on equality between men and women, the South Africans went to India to compare their methods of working on migrant workers’ rights, the delegates from the DR Congo went to Togo to discover how they organise workers in the informal economy, those from Indonesia went to Brazil to discuss how trade unions can contribute to facing up to climate change and the impact on employment and workers’ training. Finally, the Cambodians and the Colombians met in Jakarta to talk about a key issue for both countries, where being a trade unionist can be dangerous: strategies to follow for achieving the respect of trade union rights.

"It was genuinely mutually enriching for the participants, and very stimulating to share the struggles they have in common. Finally, some sometimes very strong links were forged between participants, which will last well beyond this seminar" explains Veerle Lens, from the international department.

We have lost two trade union colleagues, but their spirit and their memory must make us stronger

On 24 March, the Malaysian authorities announced that a Boeing aircraft, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, had crashed into the sea. The announcement put an end to any hope of ever seeing two Chinese colleagues form the ACFTU again.

Gan Fuxiang and Li Wenbo had boarded the flight to return home, to China, after taking part in the South-South seminar organised by the CSC in Jakarta, Indonesia. Gan Fuxiang had been deputy director of the international department since 2013. Li Wenbo was a member of the international department.
We are deeply saddened by their loss and send our sympathies to their colleagues and families. We wish them courage.