The International Commission for Coordination of Solidarity Among Sugar Workers (ICCSASW)

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The International Commission for Coordination of Solidarity Among Sugar Workers (ICCSASW)

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The International Commission for Coordination of Solidarity Among Sugar Workers (ICCSASW) was an ecumenical church-sponsored organization founded in 1983. It emerged from the work begun by GATT(General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)-Fly, an inter-church initiative for an alternative trade policy. GATT-Fly’s initial focus was the sugar trade, chosen and researched as a case study of the impact of international trade policy on developing countries. GATT-Fly’s efforts to bring about an International Sugar Agreement (to provide a fair return to sugar exporting countries) were unsuccessful, however their research and network building linked Canadian missionaries in sugar exporting countries with local workers’ organizations. This led in 1983 to the creation of ICCSASW, financed largely by church overseas development agencies. Based in Toronto, Canada, ICCSASW had a 10-member international steering committee of sugar union leaders.

ICCSASW aimed to provide an independent forum and build solidarity among workers across the political spectrum, through solidarity campaigns, national and regional seminars, international conferences and its monthly newsletter “Sugar World.” In 1998, ICCSASW ceased to exist due to lack of funding, although much of ICCSASW’s work has continued under the Geneva-based International Union of Food Workers (IUF), a trade secretariat. A more detailed administrative history and a list of contents written by ICCSASW executive secretary, Reg McQuaid, have been added by the archivist to file 2006-060/001(01) “Historical notes from the executive director about ICCSASW and SWIERL [Sugar Workers and Industry Education Resource Library]”.

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