On the 9 and 10 April, SOLIDAR members together with representatives from trade union organisations from Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Jordan, Italy, France and Spain gathered in Marseille for a workshop entitled “In search of mutually reinforcing policies between trade union rights and human rights in the Mediterranean region”. This workshop was organised by SOLIDAR in the framework of SOLID, an EU-funded initiative aiming to promote a dynamic, inclusive and reinforced social dialogue in the MENA region via the strengthening of the capacity of Trade Unions, Employers’ Associations and civil society organisations. SOLID is led by the Arab Trade Union Confederation (ATUC) in partnership with six other partners, including SOLIDAR.
During the encounter in Marseille, the European and Arab trade union confederation (ETUC and ATUC), together with civil society organisations represented by SOLIDAR, drew up a roadmap of advocacy priorities to promote labour rights in the Southern Mediterranean region.
The participants analysed the situation of trade union rights in Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Jordan. Trade unionists from each of the mentioned countries, but also from Spain, Italy, France, and ETUC exchanged views on this important subject.
The main objective of the workshop was to develop collectively a joint advocacy paper to be presented to European institutions and EU Member States in the coming months, in different forums. The workshop produced the outline and main points of the paper, which will now be completed with an overview of the regional context, as well as a description of the specific trade union and human rights issues that need to be addressed in each country.
The workshop also included a joint reflection about the progress and role of the Union in the Mediterranean, and aimed to elaborate a common position to be presented at the next Summit of the Two Shores convened by French President Macron in Marseille on 24 June 2019.
Participants discussed the urgency of common actions in Algeria, and issued a statement of support for the Algerian people, paying tribute to their immense, peaceful and legitimate demand for freedom, dignity and democracy, and calling for a democratic outcome to the current crisis, for a positive impact on the Algerian people, workers (men and women) and the entire region. The statement, signed by the three participating trade-union and civil society platforms, has been published on different websites.
Other important initiatives to be taken to support other countries, such as Libya to fight against the alarming situation of the sub-Saharan migrants, or Egypt to condemn the shrinking space for trade unions rights and the arbitrary detentions of young people, were highlighted and will be followed up by our three platforms of like-minded and committed trade-unions and CSOs.