Brazil: innovative South – South cooperation between Brazilian and Haitian Unions

14 March 2017 11:10

"This initial value is to help our brothers in Haiti," it was the first statement made by the president of STICC (Workers Union from the Construction Industries of Porto Alegre/ Brazil), Gelson Santana, when it was delivered almost USD 2.000 (about 115,000 gourdes, local currency) to the Haitian FENATCO (National Federation of Construction Workers) in Port-au-Prince. The amount refers to six months of contributions by Haitian workers in the area covered by the STICC in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 


In December 2016, STICC signed an agreement with the Caribbean Federation, in which it was guaranteed the transfer of 100% of the union and confederative contributions of the Haitian workers established in Porto Alegre and its metropolitan region to FENATCO. Emphasizing the importance of solidarity to the Caribbean country, Gelson assured "We are abdicating of resources" in the name of solidarity. The agreement was mediated by the international trade union federation BWI (Building and Wood Workers International).

The BWI regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Nilton Freitas, who is also in Haiti, said that this initiative is an aid in the reconstruction of the country, which coexists with a high rate of informality in the labor market. "It is a practice of solidarity and humanism. It is fundamental" he concluded.

Currently, STICC estimates that 10% of the approximately 1,500 Haitians in the construction sector in the Rio Grande do Sul state, in Brazil, are already unionized.