Strong unions for an Africa that works for its people

4th ITUC-Africa ORDINARY CONGRESS - November 2019 Keywords : Congress2019

African workers deserve an Africa in which rights are respected and exercised and where the wellbeing of the people is secure. To achieve this, strong representation of workers’ interests at workplace, national and continental level is essential. The fourth congress of the International Trade Union Confederation, Africa has concluded with the adoption of an ambitious agenda for the next four year.

Trade unions: uniting to make a difference
A major focus was placed on building unity within the movement in order to maximise impact on the policy-making process. Two underlying components of strengthening workers’ power were highlighted in the congress outcomes: growing the movement through organising more workers; deepening the internal democracy of the movement. The past four years have seen workers from the informal economy organise into unions and take important strides towards formalisation, notably through the extension of social protection coverage. This inspiring work remains the exception, but we can work to generalise the approach to ensure that more people can collectively improve their living conditions in a context where over 80% of workers operate in the informal economy.

We have not shied away from taking a good hard look at our own strengths and weaknesses. It is an ongoing and necessary process if we are to make the changes now in order to build a stronger more independent African labour movement that can ensure a better life for working people across the continent,” said Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, unanimously re-elected as General Secretary during the congress.

Deepening democracy within unions also means ensuring the space for the participation of all. Women, youth, people with physical challenges all have their place in a vibrant and impactful labour movement. The collective struggles of workers need their energy. Youth aged between 15 and 25 represents over 60% of the continent’s population and 45% of its workers. Unions must ensure that they actively reach out to engage them.
“Strong unions need women. We have seen what their leadership can achieve with the historic ILO Convention 190, the international treaty that they won to tackle gender-based violence in the world of work. As we launch ratification campaigns across the continent, this congress has resonated with their power. With the number of talented, visionary and determined women coming up through the ranks, a new dawn is coming for the movement,” stressed Adu-Amankwah.
In terms of policy objectives, the African labour movement aims to advance social protection for all, to deepen democracy and advance workers’ rights and interests, tackle corruption including through reducing the influence of money on politics and ending illicit financial flows. Furthermore, it was stressed that the labour movement is committed to building industry to ensure that the value added on top of raw materials, is added here in Africa and can benefit the working people of the continent, their families and communities.
Who to follow: elected leadership of the secretariat @ITUC-Africa
@KAduAmankwah - Kwasi Adu-Amankwah was re-elected General Secretary by a unanimous vote for a further four-year mandate at the helm of ITUC Africa.

@ManziEric65 – Eric Manzi, trade union leader from Rwanda will be bringing his astute and always impact-oriented vision to the international stage as Deputy General Secretary.

@AkhatorO - Akhator Joel Odigie, a committed social justice crusader wise beyond his years who hails from Nigeria has been elected as Deputy General Secretary.

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