South-South cooperation in action: Five practical examples shared between the CGSLB and its partner organisations

By the International Service of the CGSLB (Belgium)

In 2014, CGSLB partners met in Johannesburg, South Africa, to exchange good trade union practices. The partners from South Africa, Burundi, Burkina Faso and Senegal came to explain one of their good practices in the field of trade union training, social dialogue and capacity building. All the participants had an opportunity to respond to the presentations.

An international policy document
COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) stressed that it was important for a trade union to establish an international policy. They had set out in a document the history of COSATU’s international work, the basic principles, the vision, the mission, the objectives and some of the operational aspects of international relations. In COSATU’s view, a good international policy enables a trade union to speak with one voice at the international level and to take action in a more coherent fashion.

Creating trade union alliances
In collaboration with UNI Global, SACCAWU (South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union) has played a leading role in the creation of trade union alliances in Africa’s wholesale and retail sectors. These trade union alliances (which go by the name of international works councils) are there to help trade unions in the different countries and are active in the same multinationals, which helps them to share information more effectively and to harmonise the working conditions of all workers.

Recognising informal economy trade unions
Thanks to its experience in organising informal economy workers, the FNTT-SI (National Federation of Transport, Social and Informal Workers) has won recognition by the Burundian government of the informal economy national trade union centres as social partners. It has the necessary knowledge and experience to enable informal economy workers to express their views through social dialogue and thereby provide greater social protection for these less well protected workers.

Regional cooperation strengthens labour legislation
The CSB (Burkina Trade Union Federation) has worked with Niger to organise study visits to discuss social protection and labour standards. These visits were directed at the general secretaries of the regional offices and the aim was to harmonise legislation. This collaboration also had the support of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHBLA) and in 2014 Mali became another partner.

More information in English and in French.

Inter-union collaboration to grow stronger together
The CNTS (National Workers’ Confederation of Senegal) aimed for success by setting up a platform to better organise and represent informal economy workers, with the collaboration of several national trade union federations. This platform consists of four national federations and its purpose is to present to the government the problems encountered by all informal economy workers.

This workshop was organised within the framework of our three year partnership programme (2012-2014) co-financed by the Belgian Development Cooperation Ministry.