South-South cooperation in action

Five practical examples shared between CGSLB/MSI and its partner organisations

From 21 to 24 July 2014, a meeting was held with MSI/CGSLB partners in Johannesburg, South Africa, during which a number of good trade union practices were shared and presented. The partners from South Africa, Burundi, Burkina Faso and Senegal completed the "good practical example" sheet, with a view to sharing and learning about each other’s good practices at the meeting.

An international policy document
COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) stressed how important it is for a union to establish an international policy. COSATU’s international policy document covers a record of the union’s work and activities at international level, the basic principles, vision, mission, objectives and operational aspects of international relations. In COSATU’s view, a good international policy allows a union to speak with one voice at international level and to ensure greater coherence in the actions taken.

Forming trade union partnerships
SACCAWU (South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union), working in conjunction with UNI Global, has played a leading role in the formation of trade union partnerships in the wholesale and retail distribution sector in Africa. These trade union partnerships (called international works councils) come to the assistance of trade unions in different countries and are active within the same multinationals, which contributes to better information sharing and the harmonisation of working conditions for all workers.

Recognition for informal economy unions
Strengthened by its experience of organising informal economy workers, the FNTT-SI (Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Transport, du Social et de l’Informel) succeeded in securing the Burundian government’s recognition of informal economy trade union centres as social partners. The FNTT-SI has the knowledge and experience required to give informal economy workers a voice through social dialogue and to secure, through this channel, better social protection for these vulnerable workers.

Regional cooperation to strengthen labour legislation
The CSB (Confédération Syndicale Burkinabée) has been cooperating with Niger, organising study visits aimed at sharing information about social protection and labour legislation. These visits were conducted by the general secretaries of the regional offices and were aimed at harmonising legislation. This cooperation project also benefitted from the support of the Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). In 2014, Mali also joined this cooperation initiative.

Inter-union cooperation to build workers’ power
The CNTS (Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Sénégal) reported on its success in setting up a platform aimed at better representing and organising informal economy workers, thanks to the cooperation between several national trade union federations. The platform brings together four national trade union federations and its aim is to present the government with the problems encountered by informal economy workers in all sectors.

At the end of the meeting, the MSI/CGSLB partners committed to applying one of these good practices within their own organisation and to promote them through the NIVU (Network for Informal Economy and Vulnerable Trade Unionists) and ITUC Africa.
The workshop was held within the framework of our three-year partnership programme (2012-2014), co-funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation Ministry.

Article written by CGSLB International Department