The TUC today published a new five year international development strategy, setting out how it plans to use members' money along with funding from government and other grants to raise wages and improve rights for some of the world's poorest workers.
I was involved in contributing to the development of the strategy and am delighted with the result.
It has four key priorities:
- enabling workers to build democratic and accountable unions, states and institutions;
- securing equality and social justice through the union movement;
- supporting vulnerable workers to help improve their working lives; and,
- ensuring international trade and investment promote decent work.
'Global justice, global solidarity' contains a number of case studies to illustrate the work that the TUC and its member unions are involved in around the world, including work with Nepalese domestic workers like Rohini Prasad Dahal. Rohini started work aged ten, and has worked for half a dozen different families in the last eight years. He says:
'One house owner treated me like a thief and if they went out, they would lock the doors and lock me out too. They would only give me leftover food to eat, dirty bedding to sleep on and old clothes to wear. I had no day off, and during the first five years, I received no pay from any employer.'
Rohini is probably the youngest union General Secretary in the world, and at just 18 years old, the union he heads, the Nepal Independent Domestic Workers' Union (NIDWU), is increasing its influence with support from the TUC as part of a global fight for rights at work for domestic workers. The union was only set up a few years ago, but already it has almost 1,000 members.