The LO-TCO Secretariat of International Trade Union Development Co-operation was founded by its two members: the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen - LO) and the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (Tjänstemännens centralorganisation - TCO). LO and TCO represent a total of 3,2 million union members.
The LO-TCO Secretariat is dedicated to promoting a more equal distribution of power and resources to eradicate poverty in the world, to fostering equality and welfare and to strengthening democracy.
We aim to achieve this by supporting the creation and development of independent, democratic trade unions throughout the world. All our projects emphasise equal opportunities.
We believe that strong unions are vital agents in bringing about change in all countries. Where people are union members, demand their rights and reasonable working conditions, existing power structures and society as a whole can be changed. Collective agreements are one of the best mechanisms for combating poverty, and the struggle to negotiate and defend collective agreements is a permanent feature of trade union work – here in Sweden as in other countries throughout the world.
OUR ACTIVITIES AND NETWORK
The LO-TCO Secretariat sponsors approximately 220 projects in some 60 countries.
Our projects aim to promote the development of free, democratic trade unions. Support is therefore usually given to basic trade union training, education in human rights, leadership, the work environment, equal opportunities and the effects of globalization or HIV/Aids. Project may also include support for the development of administrative capacities and networks connecting different unions or sectors. We do not, however, provide support for congresses or for renting premises.
Trade unions must work together on a global scale to counterbalance the pressure of multinational corporations which dominate international trade. For this reason support for projects in a number of geographically-related countries (regional projects) or in more than one continent (global projects) may be co-ordinated to take advantage of the experience, material and educators that already exist in participating countries. The common denominator might be, for example, a multinational corporation or the creation of a union network.
LO, TCO or one or several Swedish unions often work on projects with the Global Union Federations and a union in the country receiving support, but it is the receiving organization that specifies its needs and priorities and carries out the project.
The Global Union Federations support unions throughout the world and help them to become stronger; they assist union members subjected to persecution and fight to wrest global agreements from multinational companies – a crucial factor in achieving acceptable working conditions - and are actively engaged in international institutions like the ILO, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, defending workers’ interests, to mention only some of their activities.