7th BRICS Trade Union Forum takes place in Durban, South Africa
Under the South African presidency of BRICS the 7th BRICS Trade Union Forum was held in Durban on July 28-29, 2018 bringing together representatives of the leading trade union centers of the member countries. The Forum was opened with the welcoming addresses by the presidents of the three leading trade union centers of South Africa, after which the heads of the national delegations made their reports in which they briefed the audience on current social and economic situation in their countries, outlined the trade union position on the most acute problems of the labour market and possible ways to address them .
The keynote speech at the Forum was made by Mr. Bheki Ntshalintshali, General Secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and national trade union coordinator for South Africa. The subject of his presentation was “African Agenda which places people at the centre of industrialisation, investment and development.”
High on the Forum agenda was the presentation made by the Director of the ILO African Bureau in Pretoria devoted to the upcoming centenary of the ILO and the future of Decent Work, as well as the ILO’s technical contribution to the achievement of BRICS Trade Union Forum objectives.
During the panel discussions that followed, delegates to the Forum reflected on the problems of the world of work and the tasks of trade unions in terms of possible consequences for the workers' rights, creation of new jobs and skills development to ensure sustainability in the long-term perspective.
A separate session was devoted to the New Development Bank BRICS (NDB), its role in the development of infrastructure for sustainable development and job creation in the developing countries. Alternative views on the role of the NDB, its mandate and structure were considered with account for the existing needs and expectations. For the first time a BRICS Business Council representative addressed the Trade Union Forum to speak about the structure, tasks and modalities of the Council's operation.
Participants in the Forum discussed the implementation of the earlier decisions taken by BRICS trade union centres and adopted the Declaration which sets out the six principal trade union goals. In particular, the Declaration notes the intention of trade unions to further enhance their role within BRICS, to facilitate social dialogue through establishing constructive cooperation with BRICS Business Council in promoting the decent work principles, including in projects implemented with the help of investments from the NDB.