UnionAID Fact Sheet 7 Workers in New Zealand helping workers overseas
Leading real change A key to successful project work is excellent leadership and UnionAID is fortunate in having very talented and committed project leaders in both our Tamil Nadu and Mae Sot projects. But the different conditions mean different strategies are used. The Tamil Nadu Labour Union (TNLU) This South India project is led by Edward, and Manohari Dos. Edward, who is a lawyer and president of the TNLU was born a Dalit and Manohari is a qualified community worker. Although Dalit people are very oppressed they do have legal rights as workers and citizens in a democracy, and under the special constitutional quotas for Dalits. The TNLU strategy is to organise Dalit communities into co‐ operatives and unions, to collectively bargain for better pay and conditions, to publicly campaign for their rights, and where necessary to take legal cases to enforce their rights. Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) This project with Burmese migrant workers on the Thai‐Burma border is led by Min Lwin and is a testament to his commitment and organizing skills. The situation in Thailand for migrant workers is very difficult (see Fact Sheet 6) and although education work on labour rights is an important part of the project work, a very strategic approach to implementing those rights has to be taken. A key part of the project strategy is to work closely with the local legal aid office and the Thai Labour Dept officials to enforce labour standards against bad employers while working with good employers. The project is also developing a vocational training centre to provide skills training in industrial sewing and knitting, and computer skills. The FTUB also operates a school for children of migrant families, and a safe house for women.