|A happy reunion at breakfast.|
Besides the professional training, seminars strengthen the links between the trade union leaders who live and work scattered throughout the huge continent of Latin America and the Caribbean. Maybe this function of strengthening mutual bonds between trade union leaders is as important as the training function of such seminars. Contrary to Europe, trade union work in Latin America and the Caribbean is still difficult, arduous, not recognized by Governemnets or Employers and sometimes even dangerous.
|Picture with instructions|
In many countries you have to dare because sometimes trade union work can be very dangerous work. Not so much life threatening, which unfortunately occurs too often, but mostly because authorities and / or employers threaten you, intimidate or create other ways to make your work difficult or even impossible. In such difficult times it is good to have not only colleagues in your own country but also abroad. You know that like you, they are going on with their work in spite all these problems.
Such international seminars therefore works encouraging and motivating. You know you are not alone. There are others, friends and colleagues who support you. In case of emergency, they are also willing to set up international support actions. The latter makes international trade union activities very important.
|A selfie made by someone else|
Despite or perhaps because of the severity of the meetings and seminars, there is also time for friendship and fun. Relaxing not only from the daily trade union work, but also from the seminar itself. Because on such seminars one talks about uncomfortable topics such as unemployment, the impact of the global economic crisis, the growing informalisation of the economy, the breakdown of social services, the uneven distribution of incomes, the poor social dialogue with employers and government etc. etc. It is for the participants important to learn about what solutions trade unions from other countries have or what experts can teach you about the problems. All this together are valuable experiences and information that you can use in your own country.
|It is not always exciting what you hear.|
Such seminars are of course expensive. Just only the flight tickets are already expensive in such a vast continent as Latin America. Then there are the accommodation costs and expenses for the seminar itself. Especially translation systems and translators make a seminar extra expensive. In Latin America, where Spanish and Portuguese speakers usually understand each other without a translator so you do not need translation systems. That is why costs are lower than for example for a European seminar. Even the trade unionists from Curacao and Aruba speak fluent Spanish.
|A hug (abrazo) among qualified eyes during graduation|
In Europe, the European Commission gives grants for the high translation costs, as well as payment of travel and subsistence expenses and the hiring of experts. In Africa, Latin America and Asia, such arrangements do not exist at all. So there the participating unions themselves have to pay the costs or appeal to the international trade union movement.
|A hug for everybody|