Friday, 24 July 2009

Building Global Unions


Still recovering from incredibly challenging/rewarding few days.

Most important at a personal level was a reunion with comrades (last weekend) I was at Ruskin College with in the 1989-1991 year group - our first reunion in 20 years! Of course others looked old and knackered whilst I remain the picture of perfection!

Prior to this was an extremely rewarding few days in Istanbul working with the global staff association (GSA) for UNICEF. A real challenge here to enable a global union to work in practice and so much of our work was around leadership, the role of the local, regional and global representatives, campaigning skills etc. Approximately 170 staff association representatives in one place for the first, and probably last, time.

Pictured above are:

Paul Brown - WorldWideBrokers - specialist finance experts for expatriats

Alan Irwin - General Federation of Trade Unions

Indah Susanti - UN Staff Union for International War Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) providing facilitator support

Sophie Morishkina - UNICEF GSA - Regional Chair for CEE/CIS

Rita Ann Wallace - President of UNICEF GSA

Rick Cottam - President UN Staff Union for International War Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) providing facilitator support

Judith Jackson - General Federation of Trade Unions

Chris Land-Kazlauskas - President - Co-ordinating Committe for International Staff Unions and Associations of the United Nations System (CCISUA) providing facilitator support. One of the bodies to which the UN staff unions/associations affiliate.

Jo Cain - Ruskin College

With support from a number of colleagues I wrote the core course for the training element of the GSA's meeting and this was entitled Building Global Unions: Leadership and Renewal. The work with the UN staff unions provides a really new dimension to my traditional work with unions in the UK and Europe. In particular the challenge is working with unions with none of the legal protections we take for granted and whose major challenges, alongside conventional terms and conditions matters, includes the problems of working in the middle of wars, armed conflicts, environmental disasters etc.

In this context those who step up to become union represenatatives need as much education and support as possible and the event in Istanbul last week was a key starting point for the UNICEF GSA.

No question for you on this post just wanted to let you know what I have been up to since my last contribution.

I am now off until the start of the Autumn term so the last post for me for a few weeks.

I do hope you all have a good break from fighting for the rights of women, men and their families.



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