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W&E Infobrief

Conference: Beyond free trade - Alternatives for decent work

05.10.2010: A conference for European trade unions and civil society organisations in Brussels on 5-6 October

Organised by War on Want, UK - WEED, Germany - WIDE, Belgium
As part of the Seattle to Brussels network

In cooperation with UNISON, GMB, IG BAU, UNITE, ver.di, CGIL, FIOM, Solidaires, FSU, AK Europa, Velferdsstaten



12:00h 5 October - 17:30h 6 October 2010


Espace Jacqmotte, Rue Haute 147, 1000 Brussels

Active translation in French/Spanish/English and lunch on both days will be provided.


5 October 2010

12:00 - 13:00 - Registration

13:00 - 15:30 - Opening plenary: Linking neoliberal threats to Decent Work inside and outside Europe:

Javier Moreno Sanchez (Global Progressive Alliance)
Raul Arroyave (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores CUT, Colombia)
Larry Brown (National Union of Public and General Employees NUPGE, Canada)
Josua T. Mata (Alliance of Progressive Labor APL, Philippines)
Bheki Ntshalintshali (Congress of South African Trade Unions COSATU, South Africa)

Chair: Dave Tucker (War on Want)

15:30 - 16:00 - Break

16:00 - 18:15 - Strategies to tackle current free trade deals I - issues

This session will be in smaller facilitated groups to discuss the issues of:

1) public services
2) social dumping and migration
3) investment

Penny Clarke (European federation of Public Service Unions EPSU)
Larry Brown (National Union of Public and General Employees NUPGE, Canada)
Gisela Dütting (independent researcher, Netherlands)
Jo Morris (Gender and labour rights researcher, UK)
Marc Maes (11.11.11, Belgium)
Ashim Roy (New Trade Union Initiative NTUI, India)
Elisabeth Beer (Arbeiterkammer Wien, Austria)
Renaat Hanssens (ACV-CSC, Belgique) tbc

6 October 2010

09:30 - 12:30 - Strategies to tackle current free trade deals II - opportunities

This session will discuss concrete proposals and strategies to mobilise against FTAs:

1) Colombia
2) Canada
3) India

Experiences of mobilising against FTAs will be shared by:

Ruy Mikyung (Korean Confederation of Trade Unions KCTU, Korea)
Thea Lee (American Federation of Labour - Congress of Industrial Organisations AFL-CIO, USA)
Bheki Ntshalintshali (Congress of South African Trade Unions COSATU, South Africa)

12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch

13:30 - 16:00 - Plenary debate: A new vision of trade - what alternatives for Decent Work?

John Hilary (War on Want, UK)
Martin Beckmann (ver.di, Germany)
Valeria Fedeli (FILCTEM-CGIL and ETUF:TCL, Italy)
Pierre Khalfa (Solidaires, France)

Chair: Pia Eberhardt (Corporate Europe Observatory CEO, Belgium)

16:00 - 16:30 - Break

16:30 - 17:30 - Closing and next steps

Chairs: Bruno Ciccaglione (Seattle to Brussels network)
Sophie Zafari (Fédération syndicale unitaire, FSU, France)


Lack of decent work is one of the main challenges for the trade union movement today, in the face of economic crisis and a globalisation that is putting pressure on working conditions, wages and social protections worldwide. But is it really possible to achieve decent work for all when governments continue to pursue free trade policies that put the rights of corporations far ahead of the rights of people and the environment?

This conference will explore the links between trade deals and neoliberal policies inside Europe that are undermining basic labour rights and promoting profits for big business at any cost.

Many trade unions are highly critical of free trade policies, most recently seen in the ETUC / TUCA statement in May that strongly condemned the current negotiations with Latin American countries, especially Colombia - notorious as the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. We will discuss the political opportunities and strategies to stop a deal with Colombia and to tackle trade agreements that threaten workers in Korea, Canada, India and Central America.

As the European Union revises its trade policies, there is a once in a decade chance to push for alternatives to a pure free trade agenda, so that trade helps us to exit the financial crisis in a way that promotes decent work and a social Europe. This conference offers an open space for discussion in the run-up to the next Joint Social Conference in March 2011. Join us and help to take a step towards a new kind of Europe in the world.

Background documents on the S2B-website.

To register and for more information, contact:

Hélène Cabioc'h (
Dave Tucker (

Please ensure that you register by 24 September so that we can send you travel and accommodation information.

Documentation with audio files, video clips and analysis can be found on the S2B website.


This conference has been prepared with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents are the sole responsibility of War on Want, WEED and WIDE and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Zugehörige Dateien:
conference invite_beyond free trade_5-6.10.2010.pdfDownload (145 kb)