#timefor8: By incorporating the SDGs into its lines of action, ASI Venezuela reinforces its role in the construction of a sustainable and resilient country

Founded in 2015, the same year as when the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed, the Central de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras Alianza Sindical Independiente de Venezuela (Central ASI) has successfully included the SDGs in its strategy of building a new model of unionism that stands at the service of all Venezuelans.

The effort undertaken for several years by the Central ASI to mainstream in its work structures the SDGs, and particularly SDG 8 on decent work and sustainable economic growth disconnected from environmental destruction, was concretised with the ratification of ASI’s Strategic Axes of Action during its National Union Council in March 2021. These axes of action established the union movement’s contribution to the achievement of the priority SDGs for workers in Venezuela, reflecting them in the political and organizational work of the Central, which includes them permanently in their actions.

“For the Central ASI Venezuela, the SDGs are part of our daily work, they are part of the tools of our leaders, who clearly understand the importance of the SDGs to achieve better living and working conditions for every Venezuelan,“ explains Edita Fernández, National Director for Sustainable Development at Central ASI.

This preparatory work is translated into concrete actions on the ground. For example, during the Dialogue Tables established between the government and social actors, on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) C26 (methods for setting minimum wages), C87 (freedom of association and protection of trade union rights) and C144 (tripartite consultation and promotion of the application of international labor standards), ASI insisted on the inclusion of the SDGs, and mainly SDG 8, in the measures to be adopted in relation to these conventions. It is important to underline that these Dialogue Tables convened by the government are a historic event in Venezuela. For the Central ASI these tables are extremely important platforms to promote social dialogue as the best tool to achieve decent work, social justice, rights and benefits for working people, and promote a fair and more equitable exit from the crisis.

In parallel, the Central has presented to the Ministry of Labor a proposal for a "Labor Emergency Law" in accordance with the five key workers’ demands of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to achieve recovery and resilience which are covering such matters as minimum vital income, a living wage, social protection, equality, non-discrimination and fundamental rights. This law protects workers in the public sector, the private sector and the self-employed. In addition, the Central also requested the Ministry of Labor to organize talks on the implications of the SDGs in the social aspect of work, with the creation of indicators and analysis of social policies.

Further on the New Social Contract, the Central ASI has utilized the global campaign #timefor8 - The clock is ticking for a New Social Contract as an alternative communication channel with the government and other strategic interlocutors. In June 2021, Central ASI asked the president, vice president and several key ministries to make sure that the unions’ positions are reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of the UN High Political Level Forum, including creating decent and sustainable jobs with Just Transition measures, establishing universal social protection, protecting and respecting workers’ rights, promoting equality and inclusion to end discrimination, and ensuring universal access to treatment and vaccines against Covid-19. Several of these demands were finally integrated into the ministerial declaration, and taken up in the report "Our Common Agenda" by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

In addition, the ITUC’s campaign to adapt jobs to the climate and employment (CEPOW) also served as a platform through which the Central ASI organized no less than 15 simultaneous meetings with the Ministry of Labor; the National Institute of Prevention, Health and Occupational Safety (INSAPSEL); and various governors, mayors and private companies.

The SDGs are also integrating in the work that ASI does in terms of capacity building of unions, and of alliance-building to promote unions’ positions among allies in the civil society. For example, ASI Venezuela incorporated the SDGs and the #timefor8 campaign in the thematic contents of the School of Trade Union Women, which will also work on the thematic content of the CEPOW campaign in October 2021. And it participated in more than 20 strategic alliances with other civil society actors on issues related to the SDGs and a unionism of services. And, since June 2021, the Central has created a team to investigate and analyze the union reality of the country called the Integrated System for Union Monitoring and Observation (SISOS), which prepares a monthly report for dissemination among union organizations and opinion public through social networks and other means of communication. Among the issues planned in its launch stage for the coming months, it will address the issue of the union priority SDGs.

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