Letter from UnionAID to TEU members

To TEU members,

I am writing to acknowledge and thank you for the generous financial commitment your union has made to UnionAID.”  As you may already know, our new CTU international development agency, UnionAID, was successfully launched at CTU activities on May Day

Your support, and the support of many others, will provide a sound financial base from which to build our UnionAID programmes”  to assist vulnerable workers in our Asia-Pacific region.

Dalit Workers in India

The Tamil Nadu Labour Union in South India organises dalit (untouchable) men and women, who are employed in poorly paid jobs such as scavengers, sweepers, quarry workers, and graveyard workers.”  Traditionally these groups have not been organised and they are highly vulnerable to exploitation.”  The UnionAID project helps provide them with training and education on labour and human rights and gender equality. Hundreds of local leaders have”  been trained and union membership has built to more than 30,000. Collective action has achieved respect for workers as well as tangible benefits.

Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand

This CTU project supports the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) to provide training and support for Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot on the Burma-Thailand border.”  The FTUB was formed by Burmese workers, who with their families , have fled the military regime in Burma by crossing the border into Thailand. Learning about local labour rights and how to organise gives the workers a chance to move beyond poverty and become self-reliant in their dealings with local employers.

You may like to check out our new website www.unionaid.org.nz It is our intention to develop the website to keep you informed about these and other projects so you have a good understanding of the real, and practical, benefits your financial support helps to provide.

Other project options

Other project options we are currently”  considering”  include:

  • A Joint Pacific programme with the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
  • A training programme for women leaders of Burmese migrant workers on the Thai border
  • A work skills training programme for Agent Orange disabled youth in Vietnam.
  • Occupational safety and health training in Vietnam and Lao
  • A capacity building project for workers in an export processing zone in Sri Lanka.
  • Trade union development and capacity building in Timor-Leste.

As unions we have a long tradition of international solidarity, but we were the only developed country which did not have a union international development agency. APHEDA, the ACTU agency, was established 25 years ago.

Every dollar donated will help fellow workers in poorer countries in our region lift their families out of poverty through training and education projects.

Unions are giving generously to provide a secure financial foundation for our new organization. I am also aware that many of you have already made donations or signed up to our Kiwi Solidarity Member Programme and committed to a regular monthly donation. All Kiwi Solidarity Donors signed up during the first 3 months from 1 May 2009 will be recorded for history as Foundation Donors.

If you would like to become a Kiwi Solidarity Member of UnionAID please advise us by email to unionaid@nzctu.org.nz and we will contact you with further information.

We appreciate the support from your union, and individually from union members, and will be keeping you informed about our programmes as they develop.

Yours in solidarity

Ross Wilson

Executive Chair,

Unions Aotearoa International Development Trust

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