The Labor Education and Research Network, through this historic forum, brought together around 80 Filipino trade unionists, international labour activists, international partner organizations and individual colleagues in the Asian region to discuss new trends in workers\’ education and share experiences on trade union mergers.
The Philippine trade union movement has scarce experiences in trade union mergers or union unifications. In the history of Filipino labour movement, the opposite trend may be true; that of trade unions fragmenting into different factions. With the pervasive weakening of the labour movement in the county, trade union unifications or mergers are possible avenues to strengthen the trade union movement for the long term. In relation to strengthening the trade union movement, the methodologies in workers’ education needs to be updated to meet the challenges of our times. The forum addressed these needs and more. The sharing of expertise and experiences in the the latest trends and updates in adult education and trade union mergers, LEARN facilitated the presentations of international resource speakers from South Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.
The forum tackled the different experiences of trade union mergers and methods in adult education. Among the speakers were Sahra Ryklief from South Africa and currently the General Secretary of the IFWEA; Juan Carlos of PLADES from Peru; Namrata Bali of SEWA from India; Bjoern Richter of FES Singapore Office; Ulf Forsman of the Finnish Woodworkers Union; and Bertil Kinnunen and Helena Proos from the Social Democratic party and LO of Sweden respectively.. The two themes-in-one forum provided the opportunity for participants to present the experiences of trade union mergers or unifications in South Africa, Brazil and Finland; to openly discuss trade union mergers with Filipino trade unionists; and to discuss new updates and trends on Adult Education to feed on the workers’ education modules of Filipino trade unions.