Post-covid-19 occupational health and safety: union leaders - members of the intersyndicale - facing up to the issues at stake and their responsibilities

Keywords : THE TRADE UNION BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19 Benin Newsletters Occupational Health and Safety

Strengthening the technical capacities of union leaders, members of the intersyndicale of Benin, on the challenges of post-Covid-19 recovery in relation to occupational health and safety was the ultimate purpose of a two-day training workshop organised by the Confédération des Organisations Syndicales Indépendants du Bénin (Cosi-Bénin) from 23 to 24 May 2022 at the Trade Union Centre in Cotonou.

The intersyndicale includes Csa-Benin, Cosi-Benin, Unstb, Cgtb, and Cspib (all affiliated to ITUC-Africa). The theme of the training workshop was: " post-Covid-19 occupational health and safety: state of play, issues at stake and responsibilities for the trade union organisations of Benin ".
The meeting helped to decipher the health crisis linked to Covid-19 and to analyse its consequences on working conditions in the workplace.

The Secretary General of Cosi-Benin noted that Benin, like the rest of the world, has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the implementation of protective measures in the workplace. " But, today, we are witnessing a return to business as usual. Complying with preventative measures and practicing of handwashing are no longer the order of the day. Covid-19 pandemic has not only created psychosis in the world, but also negatively impacted economic activities, including the health and safety of workers, especially with new forms of work, including home-based work, rotation and others," he said. As the Executive Director of the National Employers’ Council, Bernard Hounnouvi, sees it, the pandemic has left companies economically vulnerable in several ways. It has destroyed the production capacities of companies, weakened organisational capacities, eroded their profit margins and investment capacities, and led to insufficient and unstable demand due to disruptions in market access and retail chains. On top of this, the pandemic has disrupted and broken down the supply and demand chains for inputs, made workers redundant and destroyed jobs, reduced wages and purchasing power for workers and households.

At the end of the workshop, the participants developed a roadmap with priority actions to be carried out by the trade unions members of the intersyndicale to protect workers’ rights in terms of occupational health and safety in companies.

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