Tekijä (16.08.2023 - Heikki Jokinen) Solidarity is an important part of the trade union movement DNA. Not only for members in their own countries, but also for the poor and exploited people throughout the world.
Trade union activity can be dangerous. According to the global trade union movement organisation ITUC, union activists were murdered in 13 countries in 2022. All kinds of harassment is commonplace, too, like battery, arrest and baseless dismissal.
The Industrial Union supports many trade union and working life projects around the world. These are financed from the Union budget.
The Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland SASK is the solidarity and development cooperation organisation of Finnish trade unions, with a focus on labour rights. The Industrial Union is also a member of SASK, and run several projects together with it. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs usually supports these projects, too, multiplying the original financial input of the Union.
Trade unions are doing very practical work everywhere. They are instrumental in improving the situation of working peoples' lives. For this reason, the local partners of the Industrial Union projects are usually trade unions. Sometimes the cooperation also covers the Global Unions like IndustriALL.
The Industrial Union projects are of a very practical nature. They can for instance aim at improving occupational health in certain working places or advancing collective bargaining. All this benefits the Industrial Union members, too. We can learn many things from the other unions.
In Malawi, SASK heard about the situation of women in the coal mines. They did long days and slippers were deemed good enough as safe shoes. SASK had supported local unions and trained their representative, who began to act.
Result: women no longer do night shifts. They got the same protective gear as men and their own locker room and toilet.
Now, the Industrial Union is working on a project to make Brazilian industrial unions stronger. The goal is that unions can be a strong voice in working life issues and in a just green transition.