Argentina SIGTUR congress will be to direct the debates and actions towards the issue of the transformation of work, and the role trade unions and workers play in a new scenario
Trade union confederations from 9 countries met in Bangkok on July 6th and 7th for the Regional Coordinating meeting of the Southern Initiative on Globalization and Trade Union Rights (SIGTUR). The meeting was attended by unions from Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and India.
The challanges of the trade union movement in these countries was discussed, with a common context of advancing neoliberal policies that affect workers’ rights in particular. The struggles carried out from the trade union movement were presented by each member country, reinforcing the need to connect these fights between organizations throughout the global south.
The Futures Commission was launched in June 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa, by the Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Union Rights (SIGTUR), a network of trade unions in the Global South. the meeting was hosted in partnership with the Chris Hani Institute (CHI), a left think tank based at Cosatu House in Johannesburg. Consisting of labour academics and trade union representatives from SIGTUR affiliates and supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung,
The Futures Commission was entrusted with the task of developing economic, social and political alternatives to neo-liberal globalisation. That first workshop began the process of developing ideas and strategies to achieve such an alternative future.
Subsequently, at its Congress in Perth, Australia, in December 2013, SIGTUR identified four key themes as common challenges for all of its affiliates. The goal of the Futures Commission thus was to formulate
proposals with an initial focus on the following key areas:
1. labour and tax justice, to ensure that transnational corporations pay their taxes;
2. a fair trade regime which includes a national policy space allowing countries to develop their own industrialisation strategies, and is based on the principles of food sovereignty, resource sovereignty and self-determination;
3. a democracy-driven, public sector transformation as an alternative to privatisation; and
4. in response to the climate crisis, a proposal for a just transition from fossil-fuel capitalism towards an eco-socialist future as an alternative to capitalist concepts of a green economy.
These key areas became the themes of the second meeting of the Futures Commission held in March 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. Attended by academics, trade unionists and activists from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom, the discussion at the three-day workshop was wide-ranging and stimulating.
It was understood that such a workshop could not solve the problems associated with neo-liberalism, nor could it produce a detailed blueprint for an alternative future. Such alternatives can only result from concrete struggles against neo-liberal exploitation. Rather, the aim of the second workshop was to develop proposals for further discussion within SIGTUR affiliates. To help make this possible, it was decided to produce an educational booklet based on the four key papers presented at the workshop. This booklet could then be distributed to and discussed by members of the various trade unions affiliated to SIGTUR.
The hope is that this would begin a process in which a conversation about alternatives is broadened and deepened, ultimately resulting in concrete change towards a more just and sustainable future.
This booklet is the result of that decision. It brings together the proposals in the four key areas listed above. Its purpose is to promote educational work in the labour movement across the Global South. We hope that the papers will form the material for study groups. To encourage debate at such groups, we have added a list of discussion questions to each chapter. We also intend to translate this booklet into the languages of the SIGTUR affiliates so that it can be made as widely available as possible.
1. You can find out more about SIGTUR at www.sigtur.com
Futures Commission booklet Challenging Corporate Capital Creating an Alternative to Neo-Liberalism 2015
We extend our thanks to everyone who made the workshop possible, especially the CHI and SIGTUR members who laboured to make our travels and our discussions take place in an orderly manner. We are also very grateful to the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in South Africa for its financial support which permitted us all to meet in Cape Town, and without whom the production of this booklet would not have been possible.