Labour Internationalism and Political Change in South America

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:48
Oral Presentation
Thomas COLLOMBAT, Universite du Quebec en Outaouais, Canada
What has come to be known as the “Pink Tide” in Latin America has had a variety of political, economic and social consequences. The rise to power of several progressive governments in the region has offered a particularly favourable environment for labour internationalism. Organizations such as the Coordinadora de Centrales Sindicales del Cono Sur (CCSCS) and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) have largely benefited from this context, putting forward ambitious positions while finding open, if not friendly, interlocutors in their national governments.

Starting in 2015, the demise of several left-leaning governments in the region (in Argentina and Brazil) and the crisis facing others (such as in Venezuela, Bolivia or Ecuador) have opened an era of uncertainty and a return to power of openly anti-union forces. This represents a considerable challenge for labour internationalism organizations such as the CCSCS and the TUCA, that are now confronted not only to attacks on workers rights but also to renewed internal tensions among themselves and within them, due to divergent analyses and positions toward this new situation.

This paper, based on fieldwork conducted in South America in 2016 and 2017, aims at taking stock of those changes, understanding their dynamics and offering analytical perspectives in these challenging times for labour internationalism in the region.