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The Global Solidarity Champions Course

Issued on May 13, 2009 at 10:00 AM

The first Global Solidarity Champions - The first twelve ICTU Global Solidarity Champions together with the International Trade Union Confederations Deputy General Secretary Jaap Wienen.
The first twelve ICTU Global Solidarity Champions together with the International Trade Union Confederations Deputy General Secretary Jaap Wienen.

On the 7th of April 2009 ICTU finished its first Global Solidarity Champions training course. 12 trade unionists received their certificate as "Global Solidarity Champions" from the final speaker at the course, the Deputy General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Jaap Wienen. The overall evaluation of the 5 day course was very positive. The "Champions" felt committed to develop the international solidarity work in their own union and to take part in the future work of the global solidarity project in ICTU.

The main speakers come from the international trade union movement and progressive NGOs. At the first course we had trade unionist speakers from Colombia, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands and introductions made by representatives of Irish Aid, Concern and Trocaire.

A variety of important issues are introduced and discussed, for example:

  • The difficult situation for trade unionists in the global south, some working under very hard conditions with extremely low pay, some of these even risking their lives for carrying a union card
  • The urgent need of a trade union engagement for and viable solution to Climate Change, a solution that must include fight against social injustice.
  • Poverty and exploitation as one of the effects of today's world trade and how the international trade union movement can fight against the power of the transnational corporations and the international financial institutions.
  • The huge gender inequalities in the world and the importance of a trade union mobilisation for women's' rights and gender equality.

The training course gave an insight to all the main social justice problems in our world, but it also offered explanations and reasons for the existence of these problems. It showed why international trade union solidarity is the key to progressive change on local, national and global level.

The participants of the training course made evaluations of each course day and several proposals were made on how the training course can improve. A new Global Solidarity Champions training course will start on the 3rd of November. If you are a member of an ICTU affiliated trade union and you want to book a place at the next course, you can contact the Global Solidarity Officer Stellan Hermansson.

Three Champions' comments on the course:

Alison GSCAlison Gililand, INTO ; "The training course is extremely beneficial from two points of view. One was the actual content and how it was presented: trade unionists giving their on-the-ground experiences, videos showing life for workers around the globe, interactive and facilitated group discussions. This allowed us to really get to grips with the issues and explore them. The other benefit was cross union networking - getting to know and share perspectives with other trade union members and officials.

Dominic GSCDominic Murray, UNISON :" The Global Champions Course is a tremendous oppurtunity for all us fortunate Trade Unionists in Ireland to put a piece in the jigsaw, to ensure that less fortunate International Trade Unionists can strive with us, for a fairer deal, and a greater voice ,climatically and politically for a less polarised world."

Karan GSCKaran O'Loughlin, SIPTU ; "I would recommend this course to all trade unionists who ever wondered how the world actually works and the effect of our daily mundane actions on the lives of people who are now and remain the most disadvantaged people