Action Plan Gerrit Stoop FEDUSA, South Africa TITLE OF ACTION PLAN: THE CREATION OF AWARENESS ON ILS AMONGST TRADE UNIONS OF THE FEDERATION, AND ASSISTANCE IN DESIGNING FRAMEWORKS FOR DEALING WITH ILS AT THE UNION AND FEDERATION LEVEL 1. Background The perception amongst individual trade unions and many trade unionists in South Africa is largely that the ILO and International Labour Standards (ILS) are something distant and obscure, and that ILS, and the various processes involved therein, are purely for the attention of a few bureaucrats in the Department of Labour, or certain individuals employed by Head Offices of trade union federations. Also, some senior officials at trade union offices and many persons in leadership positions of unions, are not fully aware of the processes involved in the setting and monitoring of ILS, or of the crucial role unions could play in these processes. These unions then very often leave it entirely up to the Federation to deal with the various processes involved, and hardly ever work pro-actively towards involving itself therein. Even when asked to reflect reactively on issues, they often neglect issues pertaining to the ILO and ILS. The result of this is that ILS are often dealt with in a somewhat haphazard and ad hoc fashion, as opposed to a systematic approach. Very often no framework for action exists, and there is not always an official or officials allocated to the task of dealing with matters related to the ILO, and more specifically, ILS. Most common is the trend to act reactively rather than pro- actively, in other words to wait until requests are received from the ILO before any action whatsoever is taken. The wide array of available publications, the ILO website, and other documentation, are also not always utilised to their fullest possible extent by trade unions in South Africa. More specifically, there exist a lot of very authoritative publications that unions can use on the so-called “core conventions” of the ILO, also contained in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The core conventions deal with the following rights, namely: (a) Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; (b) The elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; (c) The effective abolition of child labour; and 2 (d) The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Peripheral (though not necessarily lesser or unimportant) issues for trade unions in South Africa emanating from discussions on matters related to ILS are the following: Organising the unorganized in the country, specifically the fast-growing informal economy under the auspices of FEDUSA. Utilisation of technology by trade unions, especially the use of the Internet. Co-operation between trade unions and federations on various levels and on a variety of issues. Codes of practice of unions in dealing with the effect of HIV/AIDS in the workplace. Gender issues and the total eradication of discrimination in this regard. Although these issues are not part of the objectives of this action plan, they nonetheless have to be dealt with as priority issues on a variety of levels and in a number of manners within the Federation. The author of this action plan therefore undertakes to engage in discussion with the General Secretary of FEDUSA, in order to ensure that the 5 issues mentioned above are placed on the agendas of relevant committees (if not already there) for thorough discussion. 2. Target groups The target groups of this action plan are the following: The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) as an organisation, both on leadership level and the level of officials. Trade unions affiliated to FEDUSA. Members of the trade unions affiliated to FEDUSA, specifically the leadership and members appointed/nominated to represent unions at various forums, as well as those who would be involved in the training of members on various related aspects. 3. Objectives 3.1 Immediate objectives The immediate objectives of this action plan are to: create awareness amongst affiliated unions on the substance and processes of ILS, and the role unions can play therein 3 create an information land data base relating to the matter of ILS that will be easily accessible and well-resourced. 3.2 Long-term objectives The long-term objectives of this action plan are to: attempt to assist in putting into effect certain systematic ways and means of dealing with ILS at the Federation level. attempt to assist in guiding unions towards designing their own frameworks for action for dealing with matters related to ILS. 4. Plan of Action Objective Person/s or Action to be taken Final date organisation involved 1. Creation of Gerrit Stoop/General In collaboration with the 31 July 2003 awareness amongst Secretary/National GS of FEDUSA and the unions Training Officer National Training Officer, Mr Denis George, design and distribute a comprehensive information guide for use by affiliated unions. 2. Creation of a data Gerrit Stoop/General 1. Index and store the As soon as base and information Secretary/National documentation centrally, documents arrive in base Training Officer with the view to adding South Africa. regularly. 2. Make ILO website address widely available to affiliated unions: www.ilo.org and www.itcilo.it. 3. Creation of a Gerrit Stoop/General Set up a meeting/- Meet before 31 July system for dealing Secretary/National workshop with GS and 2003. Framework with ILS within Training Officer the National Training before 31 December FEDUSA. Officer of FEDUSA, Mr 2003. Denis George, to discuss the drafting of a framework for dealing with all matters concerning the ILO, with the view to drafting formal FEDUSA policy. 4. Assistance to Gerrit Stoop/General In collaboration with the Meet before 31 July affiliated unions in Secretary/National National Training Officer 2003. designing frameworks Training Officer. of FEDUSA, Mr Denis for action on ILS. George, design or revise the training module on ILS and 4 Objective Person/s or Action to be taken Final date organisation involved design a training schedule. Include guidelines for individual frameworks for action. 5. Financial implications This action plan will have very little immediate financial implications. The cost of the design of the information guide will be minimal, and will be borne by the author’s union. The cost of the distribution of the guide will be covered by affiliated unions themselves. The training workshop/s on ILS will have to be conducted within the current FEDUSA budget for training. If these funds are insufficient, the training will have to stand over until the 2004 financial year.