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TUC Aid - supporting working people around the world

A trade union charity providing financial support and solidarity for working people around the world.
Our objectives

TUC Aid works towards achieving four priorities, which are:

  • Enabling workers to build democratic and accountable unions, states and institutions
  • Securing equality and social justice through the trade union movement
  • Supporting vulnerable workers in improving their working lives
  • Ensuring international trade and investment drive decent work

What is TUC Aid? 

TUC Aid was set up in 1988 and is the charitable development arm of the Trades Union Congress.  TUC Aid exists to promote social justice by supporting working people in need throughout the world. Our development cooperation and education projects support the growth of independent trade unions and long-term, sustainable change. Projects always take a bottom-up, needs-based approach, and TUC Aid strives to work with project partners (unions and NGOs) as equals. 

TUC Aid is the charitable development arm of the TUC and promotes social justice by supporting working people in need throughout the world. Our projects with unions and NGOs promote decent work and equality, and support building stronger trade unions.  

Who are the TUC Aid Trustees? 

Gail Cartmail – Chair (Unite)

Mariela Kohon – Secretary (TUC)

Frances O’Grady - TUC

Chris Tansley – Unison

Sheila Bearcroft – GMB

Sue Ferns – Prospect

David Sachon – TU Fund Managers Limited (TUFM)

Ruth Cross – Usdaw

Who funds TUC Aid?

TUC Aid projects are funded through a combination of reserve funds, donations from the Trade Union Unit Trust (TUUT) Charitable Trust, project or issue-based appeals to the TUC’s affiliated unions, and Just Giving Crowd Funding or donations. In the past, TUC Aid also won funding from the Department for International Development (now Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office).

To date, over £2.5m has been raised to fund a variety of projects ranging from emergency aid and/or long-term rehabilitation of victims of disasters to trade union capacity building. Only about 1% of the total expenditure for the period as a whole was devoted to administration of the Charity

TUC Aid:

  • Is helping to combat gender-based violence in Brazil and the Latin America and Caribbean region, and raise its importance as a trade union issue. Trade unionists from 15 countries shared experiences and information about policy work to combat gender-based violence through a webinar, and training on digital campaigning was provided. These activities supported trade union participation in the UN 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in Brazil – reaching over 30,000 workers. This project is being delivered by Building and Woodworkers International.
  • Has helped provide training for 22 trade unionists from Kenya and Uganda to increase their capacity on trade policy and advocacy, with further training planned in Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. This is in support of promoting trade union objectives in trade deals, such as decent work for all, protecting public services, and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals – as the UK negotiates new trade deals in the context of Brexit. This project is delivered by the East African Trade Union Confederation.
  • Has supported a women garment workers’ leadership development project in Bangladesh. In the first phase of the project, 354 women were trained on labour law and trade union rights, and 163 women organisers were trained in organising and collective bargaining. This resulted in at least 20 women being elected to leadership positions in local unions. In phase two of the project, another 75 female trade union members were trained in labour laws, women’s rights, leadership, health and safety and collective bargaining. This was delivered with the National Garment Workers Federation and Danish Federation 3F.
  • Helped provide training and education on disability rights in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. This work helped institutionalise promoting disability rights within trade unions. Educational materials on disability rights were produced including 3000 copies of a booklet in Swahili which were distributed in workplaces. This project was delivered with the support of Disability Aid Abroad.

Current TUC Aid Projects

Projects – some historical highlights

Read about TUC Aid appeals

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