When the IEU’s Catholic systemic school members held a full-day stop-work action on 27 May, IEU officers and organisers also forewent a day’s pay in solidarity. The union has donated this collective day’s pay to Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA.
APHEDA will use this donation to support two causes in Timor Leste: strong and sustainable farmers’ unions that are lifting wages and providing a stable food source for thousands of people; and the Working Women’s Centre Timor Leste (WWCTL), which aims to establish rights for vulnerable women domestic workers.
“The IEU has a long and deep history of supporting APHEDA and its important work,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam.
APHEDA Programs and Quality Manager Sharan KC said: “One of the challenges in Timor is informalisation of work – informal workers are not part of the labour laws. Through our support, the Working Women’s Centre is organising domestic workers and lobbying for legal protections. This would not only help domestic workers but all informal workers.” WWCTL's recent conference was opened by President Jose Ramos Horta.
The farmers' project is a long-running one supporting ordinary farmers through supplies of fertiliser, seeds and pesticides. Through this project, farmers are learning about sustainable agricultural practices, how to adapt to a changing climate, and how to advocate for themselves.