1. Solidarity is Part of International Industrial Relations
(01.07.1998) In May 1998 the Indonesian authorities released Muchtar Pakpahan, the leader of the country's independent trade union movement. He had been imprisoned for his trade union activities for over 22 months and had also been subject to arbitrary arrest several times before this. News of the release was received in Finland with some satisfaction.
Since 1995 the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland - SASK has provided funding for the educational work of the Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia - SBSI (Indonesian Prosperous Labour Union), the trade union centre led by Pakpahan.
A desire to help the oppressed is not the only reason for the support provided by the Finns. "Solidarity has become part of international industrial relations" the Director of SASK, Hannu Ohvo, explains. "Moral reasons aside, it is in our own interests to support the Indonesian trade union movement. The same thing applies with equal justification to our support for Malaysian woodworkers and African engineering workers. We are nowadays increasingly interdependent and so a rise in living standards in Indonesia or Africa is in everyone's interests."
The international trade union movement accepts that wages may be used as a competitive factor but it does not approve of social dumping. We are working for a world where the fundamental rights of working life are respected everywhere and in which everyone will have the right to organise and be active in trade unions" Ohvo stresses. "For example the international pressure on Nike to clean up its personnel policies is something which is very necessary and deserves the support of trade unions everywhere. We also support an international boycott of Nigeria and bringing pressure to bear on the Shell Corporation because Shell has a lot of influence in that country."
Co-operation Across the Demarcation Lines
The members of SASK include the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions - SAK and its member unions, representing a total of 1.1 million individual union members. Since 1997 union branches and private individuals have been able to join SASK as supporting members. There is a voluntary subscription fee and it is hoped that supporting members will get involved in the activities and general meetings of the organisation. By June 1998 61 union branches and 29 private individuals had joined SASK as supporting members.
SASK is also involved in joint projects with several other Finnish trade union organisations: the Union of Health and Social Services - Tehy, the Union of Finnish Enrolled Nurses - SuPer, the Union of Technical Employees - TL, the Financial Sector Workers Union, the Trade Union of Education in Finland - OAJ, the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees - STTK and its member organisation STTK-J, the Union of Salaried Employees in Industry - STL and the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland - Akava are among its more important project partners even though these have not yet become members of SASK.
There were 54 development co-operation projects under way during 1997. This work mainly involved training for trade union educators, leaders and grassroots activists. The total sum invested by SASK in development co-operation was FIM 8.9 million. Thirteen projects were completed during the year. Most projects are in Africa (24) and Latin America (18). SASK took part in seven projects in Asia, while twelve projects were implemented as joint regional endeavours involving the trade union movements of several countries.
The trade union movements of Central and Eastern Europe are also in need of support. The international trade union movement - including Finland - is also involved in this region and SASK has taken part in some concrete projects as a result. One example of this kind of work was a project in Bosnia which was prepared in 1997 and launched in 1998. Bosnia, however, was exceptional as the Central and Eastern European projects which are most important in the work of SASK are in regions nearer to Finland, particularly the Baltic States and Karelia.
Joint endeavours with the Development Co-operation Division of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have been constructive. In April 1997 this Division and SASK agreed to extend their framework agreement made for the years 1995-1997 so as to run until the end of March 1998. A new agreement for the years 1998-2000 was concluded in April 1998.
SASK considers the quality of its project operations to be at least as important as the volume of resources devoted to them. An increasing emphasis is being placed on evaluating the work which has been done.
SASK is not Exporting a Finnish Approach
SASK has no field organisation of its own. Projects arise according to the needs of the aid recipient. Proposals have been submitted by trade unions in the developing countries, by international trade union organisations and in certain cases by the Finnish partner. SASK provides the funding while the implementation of the project is mainly the responsibility of a professional international secretariat in various specialisms together with bilateral co-operation partners.
Finnish trade unions provide a significant contribution in implementing project plans in the near-abroad. Financial support to trade unions in the developing countries and in countries near to Finland is provided by hundreds of trade union organisations in the developed world. Although the roles of these organisations are harmonised at regular international meetings, Executive Director Ohvo finds that unnecessary reduplication of work still occurs and so co-ordination of the work must be still further improved.
Recently experts from the Finnish trade union movement have served as trainers in trade union organisation training events arranged in the third world. Representatives of the Chemical Workers Union and the Union of Health and Social Services - Tehy have worked as trainers in Brazil and representatives of the Transport Workers Union have performed similar duties in Africa.
"Although exporting know-how is a growth industry, we take pains to avoid exporting model solutions to our target countries. The Finnish labour market system is unbeatable in Finland, but models have to be individually designed for each country by harmonising the rule of law, local custom and practice together with local political conditions" Ohvo advises.
"In countries with a strong trade union movement, working life is generally regulated by collective bargaining, while in those with a weaker trade union movement the main emphasis is on legislative measures. However, both approaches are needed everywhere."
Among sources of funding, the closest foreign partners for SASK come from the other Nordic countries and from The Netherlands. Links with an international trade union co-operation organisation, the Commonwealth Trade Union Council - CTUC, have become closer and projects supported jointly by organisations in several countries are becoming more common.
The First Fruits Were from Africa
"The change in South Africa is undoubtedly one of the most positive processes in which SASK has been involved" says Ohvo. "For many years we provided direct budget support to the largest central trade union organisation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions - Cosatu." Now Cosatu has become so powerful that relations have entered a new era. Cosatu proposed that a programme of co-operation should be compiled in place of the earlier projects. This programme will be based on an exchange of know-how and experience between partners of equal status. The change will apply both to central organisations and to individual trade unions.
"This is the long-term objective of all project work. We want to reinforce the status of partners which are in a disadvantaged position to the point where they no longer need help from stronger partners and where co-operation is placed on a normal footing. The regular relations between trade union organisations in the Nordic countries is, for us, the finest example of what we mean by normal co-operation."
The development of the trade union movement in Chile is reminiscent of the rise of Cosatu, even though progress in Chile has not been as spectacular as that in South Africa. However, the situation in Chile has strengthened to such a degree that SASK has been able to allocate its resources to other countries on the same continent.
"We started supporting the South Africans and Chileans in a strong spirit of solidarity, without considering the value of such work in the industrial relations context. Subsequently our reasons have become more diversified. Working particularly in the latest target areas for solidarity operations - in the near-abroad - has helped us to realise with increasing clarity that solidarity work is also international industrial relations."
Ohvo considers that the work which has been done to improve the status of women has had important results. "The improvement of attitudes within the trade union movement has been an important advance", he stresses. This has improved the prospects for increasing the degree of unionisation of women and the representation of women in elected bodies and training events.
2. Trade Union Rights are Trampled on Almost Everywhere in Africa
Ever since SASK was founded, Africa has been one of its most important target areas. In the beginning we concentrated on supporting liberation movements like the ANC and SWAPO, but now the objectives of our solidarity work are to establish strong national unions and central organisations as well as consistency in the trade union movement" says Project Manager Mirjam Korhonen.
"It is the aim of all projects to increase the number of local trade union activists and to enhance their abilities."
SASK channels most of its aid to Africa through international and local trade unions, which reinforces their status. The most spectacular result of the work sponsored by SASK is the transformation of South Africa from a State characterised by institutionalised racial discrimination into a democracy and the country's trade union movement into an important independent force in society.
The situation provides new opportunities for developing the trade union movement across the whole of southern Africa. A project whereby shop stewards in the mining, energy generation and chemical industry sectors exchange their experiences across international borders is one indication of this.
International networking serves as a check on social dumping and creates a counterweight to the might of South African capital, which is a powerful factor across the whole of southern Africa.
Establishing an Independent Trade Union Movement
is Laying a Cornerstone of Democracy
The work of SASK partners has also made good headway in Zimbabwe. The central labour organisation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions - ZCTU, has become an influential factor in the country expressing views on which the government cannot remain indifferent. The organisation has served as a source of proposals and as a uniting force in the democratisation of the country.
For years the Zimbabweans have published a paper called "The Worker", which is subsidised from Finland and has a readership going beyond the confines of the trade union movement.
The Commercial Workers Union of Zimbabwe - CWUZ is improving its financial self-sufficiency with the aid of the Finnish Commercial Workers Union and SASK.
Korhonen explains the background: "Making the transition to a market economy and multi-party system has been a serious challenge to the trade union organisations of several African countries. We have been supporting trade union movements in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and certain other countries as they adapt and try to find an independent role in the transition process. The establishment of an independent trade union movement improves the prospects for democracy."
In 1997 SASK extended its operations to the northern end of the African continent. "It's vital that Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco do not become isolated but rather become increasingly involved in international collaboration" says Korhonen. There are also plans to begin work in the French-speaking regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
Under a Tree - Democracy Through Study Circles
Despite the progress made by stronger trade union organisations, work to construct the African trade union movement is still at a fairly early stage and faces major obstacles.
The study circles of the Tanzanian and Ugandan public sector unions are an encouraging example of progress. These involve large numbers of women and there are many signs of increasing participation by women, which is one of the aims of the project.
Study circle activities reinforce the sense of belonging which the members feel and they encourage recruitment of new members. Shop stewards have training programmes of their own, alternating duties at the workplace with periods of training lasting a week or several days.
"Study circle participants are generally active and inspired to make something happen, at times even impatient to find a practical application for what they have learned" says Matti Lahtinen, who is serving as acting co-ordinator during 1998. Many employers let their subordinates engage in trade union studies during working hours because it is their experience that a broad understanding of matters increases commitment to the enterprise and improves morale at the workplace. Such thinking ought to be more widespread!
Aids has undermined the trade union movement in many African countries. The fight against aids in Uganda is something of prime importance. Aids education is an important part of training programmes elsewhere in Africa, too.
The African trade union movement receives a great deal of external support. Co-ordination between donors has developed in an exemplary manner in recent years but there is still room for improvement in co-ordinating project work. This objective will be served by a project database currently being compiled by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
3. Favourable Results Encourage Further Work
The fall of military dictators and the end of several civil wars have made room for a rising trade union movement in Latin America but the pace of regeneration is not swift.
"Improvements in recent years have been seen more in qualitative reinforcement than increases in numbers. Military dictatorships seriously undermined the trade union movement. Following a period of severe persecution it has been necessary in many countries to start reconstruction work in the movement almost from scratch and the political parties of the left are no longer behind the trade unions in the same way as they were in the 1970s." The analysis comes from Liisa Mery, a project co-ordinator working with SASK in its Latin American projects.
"In spite of hard work, the degree of unionisation remains low, which significantly limits the influence of the trade union movement. The trade union organisations also consider it to be important to increase their own financial self-sufficiency while democratic accountability to the members leaves much to be desired."
"We are helping the trade union movement to shift from an enterprise-specific structure to industry-based national unions. We also support work to build trade union structures covering entire continents", Mery says.
Examples of the development of uniform structures are the establishment of a Health Service and Social Workers Union in Brazil and a Sugar Workers Union in the Dominican Republic which cut across central organisation demarcation lines. Nor has the process stopped at this. Preparations were begun in the Dominican Republic to merge organisations of foodstuffs industry workers belonging to four central organisations.
SASK has also supported the development of trade union training activities in the Dominican Republic into a comprehensive system.
Over 40 per cent of the members of trade unions in the central trade union organisation Confederacion Trabajadores Unitario - CTU are women. Training to reinforce the status of women has been given priority and, according to Mery, this has led to concrete results. An increasing number of women are now getting involved in the elected bodies of individual unions and at central organisation level.
A Social Dimension for Globalisation
The most important social changes taking place in Latin America include economic integration and privatisation. If the trade union movement is to have an impact, it must be prepared to take a wide range of measures. This has been taken into consideration in the educational projects supported by SASK, which implements them in association with La Organizacion Regional Interamericana de Trabajadores - ORIT, which is the regional organisation of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. "Training is no longer viewed as a separate area of operations, but is expected to support every aspect of our work" says Mery.
"Economic integration increases competition between countries and enterprises. Trade union organisations across the continent are not opposed to this, but they emphasise the point that the change must not be made at the expense of social rights. It is stressed in the educational work of ORIT that the trade union organisations of various countries must not be at the mercy of international competition, but instead must improve their cross-border co-operation. There is talk in the regional trade union movement of the need to "democratise globalisation". The free trade agreement between the Central American States and the Dominican Republic provides a typical example of development to the contrary. "The trade union organisations of the Dominican Republic were entirely excluded from the negotiations for the agreement, which contains no social dimension whatsoever", Mery observes. Similar problems are also reported by the trade union movements of other countries in the Central American and Caribbean area, even though the trade unions of the southern Latin American States are represented in its Mercosur integration project.
Privatisation Can Also Provide Opportunities
The trade union movement in Latin America is stronger in the public than in the private sector. Trade unions in the energy sector of Panama and Guatemala see in privatisation not only threats but also opportunities for a brighter future. These unions have decided to make an effort to participate in the privatisation process, which governments will put into effect come what may. This shift in thinking is a considerable one and has taken place over the last couple of years. The unions are seeking a situation in which the private sector will also have strong trade unions and better prospects in industrial relations.
The trade union movement has great difficulties in the free production zones of many countries because most governments have prohibited all union organisation in these zones in a manner which is quite clearly contrary to internationally accepted principles. The prohibition is flagrantly exploited by several enterprises based in the United States and in the rapidly industrialising countries of the Far East. In spite of many inadequacies in the Latin American trade union movement and the strength of the opposition to it, Mery is optimistic. As project co-ordinator for SASK since 1991 she has seen how projects which are planned and implemented well can produce encouraging results.
4. Gradual Steps into Asia
SASK provides less support to Asian trade union movements than it does to those of Africa, Latin America and the near-abroad. As resources increase, some efforts are being made to bring this state of affairs into balance. Despite the fact that this target area is home to more than two billion people, there is nobody on the current staff who could take full-time charge of the work of SASK in Asia.
"The trade union movement in Asia is a weak one. The need for support is evident and a great deal of international aid is in fact available," says Ohvo, who feels that it would be worthwhile for SASK to extend its work on those Asian projects to which the other solidarity organisations have paid less attention.
"This is what SASK did in 1995 when it began to finance the severely oppressed central organisation of the Indonesian independent trade union movement SBSI. Our decision to go into Indonesia was also justified by the increased scale of operations of Finnish-owned enterprises in that country."
"Muchtar Pakpahan, the leader of the SBSI, told us that Finnish enterprises were welcome to come to Indonesia provided that they brought with them the norms which govern working life in Finland," says Ohvo, who visited Indonesia in April 1998.
Malaysia has rapidly become wealthy over the last decade. While the trade union movement is officially sanctioned there, the rulers of the country have put obstacles in its way. There are large income differentials and there is still a very long way to go before the Malaysian worker enjoys the norms of European working life and the standard of living of a European wage-earner. The Finns finance trade union training in the Malaysian telecommunications and woodworking industries. In India SASK has long supported the Self-Employed Women's Association - SEWA. SASK also has projects in Pakistan and works in association with the Commonwealth Trade Union Council - CTUC in the Pacific islands.
"The political changes necessary for profitable project work in China have still not yet taken place" says Ohvo. However, he is satisfied that the Confederation of Finnish Trade Unions - SAK maintains contacts with the official trade union movement in China. "There would be no sense in trying to isolate the Chinese trade union movement".
5. Support for the Near-Abroad as well
The latest field of operations for SASK lies in areas near to Finland with a combined population of more than 15 million people. This region includes Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and regions of the Russian Federation in the near vicinity of Finland such as the Murmansk Region, the Republic of Karelia and St. Petersburg together with the surrounding Leningrad Region.
Local support work by the Finnish trade union movement began soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakup of the Soviet system. New governments in the new and old independent States set their sights on a market economy, the operations of which only a tiny fraction of their populations had any kind of understanding whatsoever.
In Russia, and especially in its north-western territories, the economy has collapsed, leading to a severe social crisis. The economic downturn has continued all the way to the beginning of 1998 and there are no credible indications that it is going to end soon. Trade union membership has also declined, although the high level inherited from the Soviet era has generally continued, and is as much as 70 per cent in the Karelia Region.
The set-up in the Baltic states is very different. The economy has avoided a trough and growth has been rapid, especially in Estonia, although trade union membership is not popular and people in general do not have a high opinion of trade unions. The average rate of unionisation in the Baltic States is 30 per cent. The total membership of the trade union movement in Estonia has remained roughly static since 1996.
The rulers in Estonia and the Baltic States have implemented such a tough programme of capitalism that many are asking whether the public sector is going to disappear entirely. In many respects the still undeveloped and inadequate legal system leaves loopholes which are exploited by various fly-by-night enterprises with questionable scruples. It has not (yet) become customary to know and abide by existing legislation. Many employers operating in unregulated conditions have taken unscrupulous advantage of the situation and the trade union movement has not been prepared to face the changes in circumstances which have occurred.
A new kind of know-how and attitude is now required of leaders and activists in trade union organisations. Gaining knowledge and experience of operating in market economy conditions is the most urgent and primary task facing the trade union movement in the countries to the immediate south and east of Finland.
The Finnish trade union movement is financing trade union training and the provision of modern equipment to trade union offices across the eastern border and in the Baltic States. Trade union members from various districts of Finland are also sending humanitarian aid to these regions.
Opposition to Social Dumping
"When the old system collapsed, the focus of interest of the Finnish trade union movement changed. It became important to encourage enterprises not to engage in social dumping in the near-abroad" says Eila Kämäräinen, who has worked as a project co-ordinator for SASK since 1996.
The Finnish trade unions have, since the very beginning, participated actively both in compiling and implementing plans for co-operation projects in the near-abroad. Their role in developing countries further away from Finland has been narrower, most often confined merely to providing project funding.
The Finnish State subsidises projects in the near-abroad to the tune of hundreds of millions of Finnish marks, but it was not until 1997 that it began to allocate a small portion of this subsidy to work done by trade unions and other voluntary organisations. The amount concerned was FIM 4 million, while the demand was for many times this amount. SASK received FIM 300,000 of this sum for use on two projects in Lithuania and one in Latvia.
In 1998 the SASK share of Finnish State subsidies to development in the near-abroad is FIM 449,000. SASK applied for a budget four times this size and, with its member organisations, sought to enlarge its ability to engage in such development work. In 1998 SASK is supporting seven projects in the near abroad. Four of these are being implemented in Estonia and the others in Murmansk, Latvia and Lithuania. The trade unions are also implementing projects in the near-abroad, principally in Estonia, with no State subsidy at all. SASK is only participating in project activities which enjoy a State subsidy.
The first EU-funded SASK project began in Karelia in 1997. SASK was the first Finnish non-governmental organisation to receive project funding from the EU programme for developing democracy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Through a project which is 80 per cent financed by the Tacis fund, activists from Karelian trade unions are being trained to work in new conditions. By June 1998 almost 500 local activists had participated in the training organised within this two-year project.
In a project continuing to 1999 functional membership records are being compiled for the central trade union organisation of Estonia - the Association of Estonian Trade Unions - EAKL, and for its ten member unions. The project also includes training in democratic fair play procedures both within the trade union movement and across the entire social spectrum. 80 per cent of the finance for this project comes from the Phare fund of the European Union.
A Tradition of Co-operation Lives on in Russia
According to Eila Kämäräinen, trade union work in Russia is easier because collective action is a traditional way of getting things done in the country. The work is hampered by the negative attitudes of employers towards the trade union movement. Furthermore, many wage-earners are wary of becoming active in the trade union movement, fearing that they will become unpopular with their employers and lose their jobs because the law and collective agreements provide no effective protection for shop stewards. Trade union activists in the Baltic States have the same problem. "It is unusual for employers in Russia and the Baltic States to realise that a competent trade union organisation is not a threat to an enterprise but is rather a useful partner for it" says Kämäräinen.
6. Child Labour Must be Abolished
For years the international trade union movement has engaged in a high-profile campaign to stop the use of child labour and such activities in the developing countries have recently been a prime concern of domestic campaigning by SASK. The trade union press and other media have received from SASK written materials and photographs bearing on this subject, and a great volume of this material has been published. SASK has also disseminated information on child labour at non-governmental organisation seminars and other events pertaining to the developing countries as well as at trade union functions.
Public opinion in Finland is strongly opposed to the exploitation of children. One difficulty for the campaign has been that of how to transform the progressive attitude of the public in Finland into effective practical action. In contrast with the situation in certain other industrialised countries, there is no strong tradition of consumer boycotts in Finland, nor is the business community particularly vigilant in investigating the origin of the products and materials which it uses.
Enterprises generally shift the blame onto parts of the production and distribution chain which are far away from Finland. This information is part of an investigation of importer operations performed in spring 1998, which SASK and 14 other organisations compiled as part of the Global March Against Child Labour campaign.
Trade unions representing the staff of sectors with a high proportion of women workers such as sales staff, textile and garment industry workers and municipal employees have been particularly active in opposing child labour.
"Pakistan has become an example country for our campaign against child labour. It is a country in which, despite agreements, legislation and political decisions, tens of millions of children are still working full-time, millions of them as debt slaves" says Helena Lipponen, Secretary for Information and Finance.
SASK is financing a project in Pakistan which began in 1997 and seeks to reduce the use of child labour in the country's textile industry. "International pressure together with support for local trade unions and other non-governmental organisations are needed to correct the situation in Pakistan. The role of collective bargaining in Pakistan is a relatively underdeveloped institution and in this developing process employers can be required to give an undertaking not to use child labour." explains Helena Lipponen. "Although in forums such as the ILO the issue of child labour has now become a matter for concrete action instead of mere speechmaking, we must persist in this campaign. The question is one of choice and we are all responsible. Child labour could be abolished within a very short time if only the necessary real political will to do so existed."
7. Seeking a Joint Solidarity Centre
for the Entire Trade Union Movement
The domestic climate for the work of SASK is a favourable one, as public opinion polls indicate that a large majority of the population of Finland supports at least the present level of development co-operation. This suggests that the State and trade union organisations will continue to devote significant resources to international solidarity work.
SASK has no great resources of its own for influencing public opinion. Thus the most important target groups for information work by SASK are the managerial and administrative staff of trade union organisations and trade union activists.
According to Director Hannu Ohvo, there has even been an improvement in attitudes within the trade union movement during the 1990s. "This change matches the expectations of those trade union officials who were involved in international work in the early years of SASK operations, back in the late 1980s" Ohvo notes. In the 1990s it has been easier to identify international solidarity with concrete industrial relations as the daily workload of trade union officials now includes international affairs and there have always been small groups of solidarity movement activists at the workplace. However, there is always scope for making more information available.
One of the specialities of SASK solidarity work are its work brigades. In recent years these have focused on the Dominican Republic, where the brigades have renovated trade union premises. Since 1992 between 8 and 20 volunteers annually have participated in the SASK brigades and have returned to Finland with new insight into the lives of people in the developing countries and of the operational framework of their trade union movements.
"The popularity of solidarity work depends decisively on what kind of idea the public has of the results of the work. By carefully reporting successes and being candid about problems we can ensure that the work continues" Helena Lipponen observes.
SASK was established in 1986, following a model which had already been set up in Sweden some ten years before.
"Only with the establishment of SASK did any serious professional development co-operation work begin in the Finnish trade union movement" says Director Hannu Ohvo. He believes that SASK will become a joint solidarity centre for the entire trade union movement in Finland.
"We are aiming to bring in both of the central organisations which have so far remained outside of our work, the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland - Akava and the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees - STTK, together with as many of their member trade unions as possible. Elsewhere in the Nordic countries the largest trade union organisations have already long engaged in solidarity work through a joint services agency."
Combining forces would give extra impetus to international trade union solidarity work and industrial relations, which would be something in the interests of all parties in Finland and in the target countries. Enlarging the membership base would also reinforce the financial basis for project work.
An increase in the level of self-financing would also mean activating the member unions of SASK which have so far not been involved in project work.
The State has facilitated the work of non-governmental organisations by reducing the self-financing level of the projects which it supports from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. A great deal still depends, however, on how the Finnish economy develops in future years and on whether decision-makers continue the policy which has been followed in recent years by cautiously increasing the development co-operation budget. Ohvo stresses, however, that any enlargement of SASK operations must be implemented in a controlled manner. During 1997 and the early part of 1998 SASK has made a thorough analysis of its own operating methods and of the division of labour between its member organisations and other partners. The division of labour with overseas partners is also being studied.
"We have come a long way in a short time. There are currently no pressures for fundamental changes in our policies," says Ohvo.