Trade union programmes


The Belgian development cooperation has since 2002 been subsidising trade union cooperation programmes set up by the Institute for International Workers' Education (IIWE), the International Trade Union Training Institute (IFSI) and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

The scope of this cooperation, which is set out in an agreement signed with the three Belgian trade union organisations on 6 June 2007, covers:

  • ensuring the development of independent, free and democratic trade union organisations;
  • from an institutional, structural and functional point of view, strengthening trade union organisations present in one or several partner countries at both the local and national level;
  • supporting the regional trade union organisations present in several partner countries whose national organisations receive or have received support from the not-for-profit association;
  • encouraging local dialogue between the public authorities, company managers and local trade unions;
  • promoting and defending the rights and interests of the working classes living in poverty;
  • advancing the cause of social justice as an element of societal democratisation;
  • ensuring that partners are involved in and take over initiatives, with the result being sustainable development in the context of a partnership;
  • raising awareness among workers and their organisations in Belgium and the South of international cooperation and solidarity initiatives carried out by the organisations having signed this agreement.

Attaining these objectives will be made possible by:

  1. Supporting initiatives aiming to create and develop trade union organisations in partner countries as well as efforts to foster a context favourable to their existence and actions.
  2. Supporting trade union training initiatives in the context of national action plans.
  3. Supporting the work of trade union leaders and secretariats in partner countries with regard to organisation, functioning and initiatives.
  4. Supporting trade unions’ efforts to defend and promote their rights in partner countries and with regard to social and economic matters.
  5. Supporting international training initiatives for senior trade union officials in all fields.
  6. Consolidating multilateral action by trade union movements (regional, sub-regional, international, sectoral and cross-sectoral) in partner countries.
  7. Sharing experience acquired through study missions, working visits by senior officials, observation missions, seminars, colloquiums and traineeships, at both the bilateral and multilateral levels, and in the North as well as the South.
  8. Technical assistance missions carried out by experts from the North based on the progress made in realising objectives and programme actions.
  9. Awareness-raising and rallying initiatives to inform Belgian workers and public opinion on the importance of international solidarity in this field.