PCS successfully obtained funding from the TUC International Development Learning Fund in 2008 to increase its internal capacity to undertake development awareness work with the membership. The project ran through to November 2009 and then PCS applied for funding to the Department for International Development; PCS did however find out in March 2010 that it was not successful in its application. PCS is currently looking at alternative sources of funding to carry on its valuable development awareness work with the membership.
A survey of the members has been conducted as part of the current international development project, the results of which are being used as a guide to shape its future direction.
As part of the above project PCS held its first ever “International Development Day” in York for 15 branch members from the Yorkshire and the Humber region on 4 July.
There were sessions on the impact of tax avoidance by multinational companies on developing countries, the importance of social protection measures such as old-age pensions to reducing poverty and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, and a presentation on how Britain’s hosting of the Olympics in 2012 can be used to promote Decent Work and higher labour standards. Ariel Castro, a Filipino trade unionist currently studying at Ruskin College, also spoke about public sector challenges in the Philippines.
At the end all participants were asked to complete an evaluation form, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One member wrote: “I thought it would be another boring seminar but I found it very enlightening and plenty of food for thought.”
Motion A198 2008 welcomed the work that PCS and the TUC had done to highlight issues around modern day wage slavery and exploitation.
The motion also called for MPs and MEPs to be lobbied, and to campaign with the TUC and global organisations to strengthen international legal protection.
This issue would best be progressed by supporting existing campaigns (e.g. with the TUC), along with the issue of migration/immigration. However, a co-ordinated approach will be required – working alongside other involved internal departments/bargaining units
PCS supports the TUC Aid Fund for major international aid. In 2007 the NEC agreed a donation of £10,000 to support the TUC aid appeal for Palestine, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, apportioned £8000 Palestine (PGFTU capacity building of women’s department); £1000 each to Zimbabwe (ZCTU – Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) and Swaziland (IRALE – International Research Academy for Labour and Education).
In general terms, it is more realistic to work through the appropriate global union federation (GUF) – in our case PSI.
Historically PSI has been a vehicle for those unions with resources to support unions on an international basis. It is proposed that we continue to use PSI as the main conduit for education and development.