Speech of Jan Ridder CNV in KICK OFF meeting CLC-EU PROGRAMME 2014-2016
Dear colleagues of the CLC,
Esteemed guests from EU, Dutch Embassy, Ministry of Labour and ILO,
Dear colleagues from CLC and other unions, employers organisations and labour NGOs,
Dear colleagues in the field of social development,
I am very happy to see so many of you here. For CNV and CLC this is a sign that core labour standards in Cambodia and our joint project can count on your interest.
As programme officer for CNV Internationaal I was invited by the CLC to enlighten you about the objectives of the project that is co-funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Cambodia. But before I get to this, I will introduce CNV and CNV Internationaal to you as some of you do not know us yet.
Secondly I will elaborate shortly on the cooperation between CNV and CLC.
Finally I will discuss the CLC-EU project.
CNV and CNV Internationaal
CNV is the second largest trade union confederation in the Netherlands, located in Western Europe. We cover all sectors of the economy in 7 major federations, representing 330.000 members.
The CNV as confederation sees as its major role to defend the rights and interests of the affiliated members. CNV representatives do their work in a constructive way, together with representatives of other trade union confederations, employers and also government officials in an elaborated system of social dialogue.
Next to this role towards members in the Netherlands, CNV also feels the responsibility for workers outside the Dutch boarders. Therefore, CNV established CNV Internationaal. CNV Internationaal is the CNV department supporting trade union confederations and related NGOs in their efforts to improve labour rights and labour situations for the benefit of workers worldwide.
The current programme of CNV Internationaal – which is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – “A World at Work” lasts until the end of 2016 and is implemented in 16 countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. The programme has three subprogrammes focussing on:
1. Establishing changes in lives of people through extensive support to trade union work, training, organisational strengthening
2. Contributing to a stronger civil society in the programme countries through training and lobby support in Cambodia
3. International Lobby, advocacy and campaigns to establish an international enabling environment that contributes to a world in which labour rights are respected.
While the main sponsor for our work has always been the Dutch Ministry of Development Cooperation, next to some funding from private donors and CNV Members, the recent years we are working hard to extend our number of institutional donors to reduce financial dependency.
The current CLC-EU project is a very successful example of the combined effort of CLC and CNV to get such additional funding.
After several years of cooperation with the C. CAWDU, at the time a strong textile federation in Cambodia, CNV Internationaal supported the founding of the CLC confederation in 2006.
Since that time the cooperation has deepened and extended. CNV assisted the CLC in its efforts to improve its programme design, execution and management. This so called process of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation resulted in a balanced programme, closely linked to the basic needs, parts and activities of the organisation, with enough space to strengthen the organisation as a structure.
Nowadays, with the arrival of the new subprogrammes, this PME setting has to be linked to the current setting of subprogrammes and the connected result areas.
Next to this support programme, CNV Internationaal has always closely followed the developments in Cambodia. When trade rights were violated and trade union activists were in gaol, we wrote letters to the government and the accusing employers. Sometimes we tried to support families of workers who lost their job due to trade union activities.
In addition, CNV Internationaal financed several studies: research on the context of the Cambodia, aiming at trade unions and labour oriented organisation; research on the functioning of CLC as an organisation; research into new union sectors for the CLC, like plantation agricultures (other research is planned).
The CLC-EU project:: the start
CNV and CLC jointly developed a project proposal based on the needs of CLC to raise awareness and build capacities in the field of core labour standards, women workers rights and young workers rights. The proposal has been approved and we started the project on the 1st of April 2014.
We know that the CLC is in the frontline of the Cambodian trade union work.
We know that they do their work independent of any political party.
Nevertheless, a union sometimes has to disagree with the government, which can put them on the side of the opposition.
We understand that for some people, to link up with a programme of such an organisation can be difficult.
We would like to underline here and now that the programme is not politically directed, the programme is not aimed at organising strikes and causing problems.
Therefor we do not see any reason why people who have a heart for labour and labour issues can not and should not join forces with such a programme.
The CLC-EU programme: activities
What can be expected from this project? I will just underline some highlights in this programme.
The programme consists of three components:
1. Institutional Capacity Building
Capacity building will be organised on several levels and for different parts of the CLC and federations. It will be aimed at leadership, financial management, skills and thematic training, project management etc.
This component is fully aimed at preparing and enabling the CLC as a whole, and specific teams in particular, for the execution of the CLC-EU project in the other two project components.
In the next phase, training lobby and campaign will be organised within the context of the alliances, aiming at core labour standards, women workers rights and young workers rights.
2. Alliance Building
In general, one can say that in this component, CLC strengthens its lobby capacity and effectivity by making alliances with organisations with shared ideals and goals. These can be (labour) NGOs, CSOs, research institutes and universities, government agencies and departments, employers, unions, women organisations and organisations of young people and young workers etc.
This will result in the new ‘Alliance on Core Labour Standards’, ‘Alliance of Women Workers Rights and the ‘Alliance on Young Workers Rights’.
3. Promotion of core labour standards: rights of women workers and young workers
The goal of this component it to raise the knowledge about core labour standards and the options to apply them under the leadership and members of the CLC and its affilates.
Under the new ‘Alliance on Core Labour Standards’, trainings and campaigns will be organised within the CLC affiliates, sometimes together with other members of the alliance. Three pilots will supply information on Organising, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
These activities will also result in campaigns around and at importants days like Internal Womens Day, International Human Rights Day, International Labour Day and International Youth Day.
The CLC-EU project: the team
The project is executed by a team of CLC officers, supported by some additional experts. CLC enables with the support of the CLC-EU budget its staff with relevant expertise to actively take part in the preparation, execution and reporting for the programme. In all, a team of around 14 CLC staff is involved, most of them part time. For the large number of trainings, experienced trainers from the federations are involved. Next to that, external trainers are hired when and where required.
Project management is also done by expert project and financial staff of CLC, under the supervision of a member of the CLC board, and with backstopping from project management and financial staff in the Netherlands.
A Steering Committee comprised of representatives of the project management staff and several external experts from related organisations here in Cambodia will carefully follow the progress, regular meet and discuss the reports and advise the team where ever they can.
CNV and CLC have put a lot of time and energy in this project and we are proud and glad that the EU saw the value of our intentions by agreeing to support this programme.
As CLC and CNV we want to ensure you that we are going to make this project a major success! On behalf of CLC and CNV I already want to thank you now for attending this special occasion and please keep track of our project during the coming years.
Thank you for your attention.