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14 March 2017

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

"This initial value is to help our brothers in Haiti," was the first statement of Gelson Santana, STICC President (Workers Union from the Construction Industries of Porto Alegre/ Brazil), while delivering almost USD 2.000 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 guaranteed a 100% transfer of the union and confederation 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 providing these resources" in the name of solidarity. The agreement was mediated by the international trade union federation BWI (Building and Wood Workers' International).

Present in Haiti, Nilton Freitas, BWI Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, stressed: "This initiative is an aid for the reconstruction of the country. It is a practice of solidarity and humanism. It is fundamental."

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.