A woman union leader has won a prestigious award for her struggle to support workers in Honduras supplying bananas to British stores for as little as £5 a day.
In Nicaragua, work in the informal sector is often family based, carried out by campesinos, the self employed, crafts people and those running small businesses. While crucial to the economy, this type of activity is not supported by the state, making it an increasingly impoverished sector that lacks any formal structure. Those who work in it have no access to finance, new markets, social security, assistance or education. They often live in conditions of extreme poverty and child labour is common.
In 2002, following false accusations of murder against people selling goods at traffic lights, the FNT (National Workers Front) made organising informal sector workers a priority by setting up the Confederation of Self-employed Workers (CTCP). The CTCP is now made up of five federations - money changers, transport workers, traffic light workers, bus stop workers and a general section - with 39,000 members.
Delegation of young trade unionists
In February, five young members from CWU, UNISON, UNITE/Amicus and UNITE/TGWU visited Nicaragua with the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group (NSCAG). They were hosted by the National Workers Front (FNT), as part of the NSCAG Linking Young Trade Unionists project, which builds links between young trade union members in the UK and Nicaragua. The aim was to learn about how unions in Nicaragua are involving young people, exchange ideas and experiences, and develop ideas for solidarity projects.
The delegates met with young members from five of the FNT’s affiliated union federations, representing a wide range of workers in health, education, communication, law, industry, manufacturing and the informal sector. The group also met civil society and women’s rights organisations to learn more about the political and social situation.