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From 25-28 May, FIA, UNI MEI and UNI Americas carried out a joint three days’ seminar in Bogota to provide targeted capacity building training for leaders of Colombian audiovisual trade unions.

The training was organised in the framework of a joint UNI MEI and FIA project co-funded with the support of Union to Union, the Swedish International Trade Union Development Co-operation, and Teaterförbundet the Swedish member of FIA and UNI MEI. The two-year project aims to build the capacity of trade union leaders representing workers in the audiovisual sector in Latin America with a strong focus on Colombia where the audiovisual sector is growing constantly since several years with many international co-productions.

Following previous seminars which UNI MEI and FIA organised in Colombia in 2015 and 2018, the focus of this years’ capacity building training was to consolidate the achievements made so far by the still young trade union movement in the audiovisual sector. 

Four Colombian trade unions for actors and film technicians (ACA, CICA CINE and ACTV) and radio and cinema theatre workers (SINPRISA) were invited to participate in an in-depth exchange with Argentinean union leaders (AAA, SATSAID, SUTEP and SICA) which shared their rich experience of building a strong and sustainable trade union network in Argentina. 

The training focused on a variety of issues, including sustainable internal trade union governance, systems for membership fees, organizing workers and collective bargaining. Individual planning sessions with each of the four Colombian unions allowed to devise tailor-made targets in terms of organizing workers and collective bargaining.

The Colombian film technicians’ unions ACTV and CICA CINE reinforced their inter-trade union cooperation. With the support of UNI Americas and SICA from Argentina the two Colombian unions established a joint roadmap aiming to achieve an agreement with film producers in Colombia, setting basic standards for working conditions and remuneration in film production.

A joint session between all Colombian and Argentinean unions on how to address sexual harassment allowed for mutual learning on a sensitive issue on which unions continue to increase their capacity.

A major outcome of the seminar is that Colombian and Argentinean unions have set up strong bilateral partnerships. This will allow for an individual follow-up with each Colombian union and help them achieve the targets and objectives they have fixed for increased union power in audiovisual sector in Colombia. 

The capacity building of Colombian unions will continue in the coming weeks and months. During the regional seminar in Mexico City in November this year, members of UNI MEI-Panartes and FIA-LA will have the opportunity to further exchange with their Colombian colleagues on the progress they have achieved and any further targeted support they would need in the coming years.