SARTUC Executive Board Meeting was successfully concluded in New Delhi, India on 30 August 2018.
The meeting of SARTUC Executive Board was held in New Delhi, India on 30 August 2017. The chair of the meeting was Mr. Harbhajan Singh Siddhu Mr Siddhu welcomed the executive board members to Delhi and thanked Mr Basnet for organizing the meeting. He further hoped that the meeting would engage in fruitful deliberations for the welfare of workers in the region. Mr Siddhu read out the agenda of the meeting to the board members, which was as follows: • Opening: Welcome address by SARTUC General Secretary Laxman Basnet Address by ITUC-AP General Secretary Shoya Yoshida • General Secretary’s report for FY 2016/17 • TU country Situation Report • Decision of 16th APRM meeting • Information on Global Compact • Announcement of Women Conference • Formation of Youth Committee • MoU between 5 regional TU blocks • Finance report • Administrative brief • SARTUC’s further activates • Any other matter Remarks 1. Address by Mr LaxmanBasnet, GS, SARTUC: Mr Basnet thanked all the members present for attending the meeting. He also brought it to the notice that some of the members from Afghanistan and Pakistan are not present, including Mr President, SARTUC. He welcomed Mr Shoya Yoshida, ITUC-AP General Secretary and thanked him for attending the meeting despite his busy schedule. Mr Basnet spoke about the regional workshop, which was held prior to the board meeting. He highlighted the issues of migration and informal economy in our region. Remembering late brother Arumugn Thondaman, co- founder of SARTUC 30 August being the birth anniversary of Late brother Thondaman, co-founder of SARTUC, SARTUC executive board took as an opportunity to remember him and his contribution to regional Trade Union Movement. Mr. Marimuthu Kathan briefly shared his contribution and expressed his gratitude that SARTUC acknowledges his contribution. Mr. Mahendra Sharma also took the opportunity to share some of his experience while working with him. 2. Address by Mr Harbhajan Singh Siddhu, Vice President, SARTUC: Mr Siddhu acknowledged the SARTUC activities in the area of migration and migrant workers and said there is need that SAARC also acknowledges the the same agenda. He expressed that there is a need to that SARTUC identifies domestic workers in its priority as per the need of the present time. Stressing on how important the domestic workers have been in the global economy he shared the flip side of it too. he said, they are the ones who are more exploited and are not covered by protection and laws. He added that the domestic workers are like bonded labours whether it is with in the country or in foreign countries. Thus it calls for an urgent attention which can be done by helping them organize, providing them with freedom and trying to provide them with the legitimate rights. Be also took the opportunity to inform the board about the strike called on November 9 -10 2017 by the Trade Unions of India. Mr Siddhu requested all the SARTUC affiliates to show their solidarity by presenting Solidarity letter to their respective Embassy of India. 3. Address by Mr Shoya Yoshida, GS, ITUC-AP: Mr Yosida thanked SARTUC for inviting him to the meeting and expressed that it is a great opportunity to attend the executive board meeting of SARTUC. Acknowledging the outcome of the group work in identifying the action plan of SARTUC, he said women are still in disadvantage, issues of migrants and refugees still needs lots of attention as they are still working in very precarious conditions, wages and benefits are very low. He stressed in the need of cooperation among all the TUs of the region. He said, Asia is the biggest producers of the global workers force. In order to protect them he said ILO recommendation 204, SDG are very important and he expressed that the participants of the workshop identified the same issues. He also stressed on the need of bi-lateral cooperation which is much required to attain the desire goals. Mr Shoya shared that TU movement should be based on ground which is very close to the community and the workers. He added that we can help them in formulating policy but the solution is with the workers who are in the community. Discussion on Agenda Agenda Items • General Secretary’s Report Mr Laxman Basnet presented his report to the board members. He outlined the activities of SARTUC in 2016/17. The report presented by General Secretary was accepted by the board. Annex 1 – General Secretary’s Report 2016/17 • Trade Union Situation Report Sri Lanka Mr Velayutham Ruthiradeepan thanked GS for the comprehensive report. He informed about the minimum wage situation in Sri Lanka. According to Minimum wage act 2016, minimum wage should be 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees. It is being implemented. However, there are workers who receive wage less than what is mentioned in the law. He shared his opinion by saying that the government lack of political will. He added that the Labour inspection is must and TU should take a lead. Regarding the Bali Declaration, he informed that the Ministry of Labour of Sri Lanka is working on it. Mr Mahendra Sharma, India: Mr Sharma thanked GS for comprehensive report presentation. Mr Sharma said with the changing time the dimension of migration is also changing. At present the priority for work is given to local people as a result many migrants are send back. Citing the example from Kerela, he said the returnee migrants and the problems associated with is becoming a major social problem. By saying so he suggested that while preparing and developing bilateral MoU it is important to consider and have a separate provision for rehabilitation. Mr Sukkur Mahmud, Bangaladesh informed that the demand for the minimum wage is 16000 taka but the Government of Bangladesh is of the opinion that it should be 8000 taka. Mr Ramesh Badal, Nepal suggested that it is important for SARTUC to identify only one agenda to work rather than being scattered in many. He added that the agenda should be carefully chosen so the it will change the lives of the workers. He suggested that there are two ways of doing it: 1. Take single agenda make it the agenda of all the countries, or 2. each countries come with one country specific agenda. Mr Kamal Siddiki, Bangladesh stressed on the needs to work for informal workers. He suggested that there is a need to organize hawkers and informed that they can be easily organized. Additionally, he said, efforts to include homebased workers under the labour law should continue. Regarding the pre departuretraining, he informed that the training provided by the government for 3 days is not sufficient. He proposed that the Trade Union should take a lead to provide the pre-departure training. He informed that most of the migrant workers are facing difficulties such as cheating by brokers, repatriation of dead body and so forth. He suggested that SARTUC should make national network so that more work in done for the informal sector workers. Mr. M. H. Ur R. Bhuiyan, Bangaladesh was of the opinion that the recognition of SARTUC is must. He draws the attention of the board towards the Readymade and Garment workers. As the workers working in this sector are in large number, the remittance sent is also huge. However, the conditions that they are working are very horror. The situation is worst in middle east countries. He suggested for all these problems TU activism is vital. Mr. Ashok Singh, India also shared his opinion regarding the recognition of SARTUC. He raised the concern by asking where the hurdles are and how it can be resolved. As a clarification to his concern, GS Mr Basnet informed that they have applied for SAARC apex body which was declined in year 2014. He also informed that the close meeting makes decision and it is not possible for us to identify where the problem lies. Mr Basnet informed the board that SARTUC will reapply for apex body. Ms. Champa Verma, India focused on the involvement of women and youth in all levels. She stressed on the need of prioritizing women and youth in all levels of decision making as well as building their leadership. She also informed that there is need to ensure reasonable number of women and youths in all programs and activities. Ms Verma emphasized on having inclusive gender committee and gave example of the composition of the gender committee of HMS where both male and female are in the members. Further she said, with changing time women’s participation in TU is slowing increasing and thus it is important to recognize the women participation and their performance. The face of trade union is slowing changing as we see increasing number of women being participated. Women can perform. She added women and youth should join hands in all joint struggles and minimum of 30 percent representation is must. Mr Marimuthu Kathan, Sri Lanka appreciated the idea of including women and youth in SARTUC committee and shared that if TU will not consider them important then they will be left out no there will be no place for them to participate and to represent. In regards to migrant workers, he advice that SARTUC should consider returnee migrants under its working area and SARTUC should take an initiative to get the data of returnee migrants. • 16th APRM meeting It was decided by the board that SARTUC will work on APRM Bali Declaration. However, the work SARTUC will carry forward should not be the duplication of what ITUC-AP is doing. The board also decided that Bali Declaration should be taken as an instrument to remind our respective government about their commitment. See Annex 2 – 16th APRM • Information on Global Compact The General Secretary informed about the Global Compact and requested the Board to follow up with their respective Government for their contribution. See Annex 3 –Global Compact • Announcement of Women Conference Mr. Laxman Basnet informed that the first Women Conference will be organized in Kathmandu, Nepal on 12-13 September 2017 as decided in SARTUC General Conference on 2016. The ad-hoc committee then decided to hold a Women Conference within one-year time form the time of conference in August 2016. • Formation of Youth Committee All the board members unanimously accepted the proposal. • MoU between 5 regional TU blocks General Secretary informed that MoU between 3 TUC (Arab, ASEAN and SARTUC) was signed in 2014 and another MoU between 5 TUC (Arab, ASEAN, SARTUC, Africanand American) is in the process of getting signed. Comments: Mr. Mahendra Sharma suggested to consult ASEAN and Arab TUC if there are any amendments. Accepting the suggestion General Secretary informed that the preliminary draft which was prepared in Cochin was shared with African and American TUs and they have given their comments. See Annex 4: MoU between 5 TU • Finance report Mr Laxman Basnet presented the Finance report of 2016/17 to the board members. One of the issues raised was that there should be a signature of a Treasurer to make the financial report authentic. Clarifying the issue General Secretary informed the board that the provision of Constitution of SARTUC gives (4. The General Secretary shall, with the consent of the President call a meeting of the Executive Board and be responsible for the preparation of the Agenda and relevant documents. The General Secretary should circulate all documents and send resolutions to all affiliates. The General Secretary shall also exercise the functions of Treasurer). Another issue raised was regarding the date of the reporting period. It was advised that the month and the year of the fiscal year to be clearly mentioned. It was also advised that the audit report should be presented to the board with the seal and signatureof the Auditor. See Annex 5: Finance report • Administrative brief Mr Laxman Banset requested the board and its affiliates to communicate effectively via email. Mr Basnet informed that the nomination is not done within the given time which leads to delay in many managerial aspects. Additionally, he informed the board that change in names of the participants and route of travel has financial implications. Another issue raised regarding the payment of affiliate fees. $ 9200 is due to collect from different affiliates. It was decided by the board that all the dues of the various affiliates is to be cleared by 31st December 2017. Mr Sukkur Mahmmad, Bangladesh informed that the dues will be cleared after returning back to Bangladesh. Mr MarimuttaKathan, Sri Lanka informed that the union was going through internal problems which are now being resolved and under the same process they are clearing all the international dues. • SARTUC’s further activates General Sectary presented to the board the future activates of SARTUC anonymously approved by the Board. Agenda Action plan Strategies Level 1. ILO Recommendation 204 2. SDG 8:Promote sustained, inclusive & sustainable economic growth, full & productive employment & decent work for all. 3. SDG 16: Promote peaceful inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. - Formalizing informal economy into formal - Organizingfor action - Getting implementation of 204 - Digitalization of payment, - Joint efforts - Ccampaigns - Monitoring & supervision of Rec 204 - Ssocial dialogue - Eensure support of the labor inspectorate - Regional and sub-regional - Government Registration of all the workers (both Formal & informal) social security under labour laws - Joint efforts by TUs - Eenhance labour inspection - All levels Promote tripartite mechanism & social dialogue - Policy research and discussions, stakeholders meeting, social dialogue, and interaction - Regional level & national level Basic education, vocational training & skills development , OSH - Establish institutions - Incorporate contents into existing institutions - Design manuals - Collaborate with private and public institutions for incorporating the contents of the manual designed - All central and local level Gender Equality & maternity protection - Policy advocacy, campaign, and wider engagement of the stakeholders - Central Government (policy level) - Ministries at national level & local level of respected countries After the discussion of Agenda Items, following decisions were made: 1. The General Secretary’s report was approved by the board. 2. It was decided that the solidarity letter will be send to the Embassy of India of all respective countries in support of the strike called by Trade Unions of India on 9-10 November 2017. The draft letter will be send by Indian TU and SARTUC will circulate it among its affiliates. 3. The finance report was accepted by the board. However, SARTUC secretariat should complete audit process with seal and signature from the Auditor. 4. All the board members unanimously accepted the proposal of formation of Youth Committee. 5. It was decided that all the dues of affiliation fees are to be cleared by 31 December 2017. 6. In regards of participants for the program, nomination and travel route should be submitted on time and should not be changed. 7. Decision was made to reapply SARTUC for apex body. 8. SARTUC will work on the decision made on APRM Bali Declaration in coordination with ITUC-AP making sure that there is no duplication of work. 9. It was decided that future activities of SARTUC will be based on the approved Action Plan which includes ILO Recommendation 204, SDG 8 and 16. List of Annex Annex 1 – General Secretary’s Report 2016/17 Annex 2 – 16th APRM Annex 3 – Global Compact Annex 4 – MoU between 5 TU Annex 5- MoU between 5 TU Annex 6-Finance Report