CONGRESS STATEMENT: Unite and Make a Difference

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

The contemporary African trade union movement draws inspiration from the great and heroic struggles waged by earlier generations, their resilience and the gains of rights of freedom of association, collective bargaining, improved conditions of employment including better wages, health and safety at work, employment security, maternity rights, pension rights and others. These rights today are under relentless attack from neoliberal forces that threaten to condemn the majority of Africans to insecurity and precarious working and living conditions.

Congress statement: "Unite and make a difference" - Abuja Nigeria - Nov 2019

The trade union movement needs to hold itself together and work to withstand the systematic onslaught on the historic gains of the working people. Trade unions must build workers’ power and move steadily to achieve decent work and social protection and to consolidate rights, peace, democracy, social justice and progress for our people. Workers’ power can only be built through unity.

African workers deserve an Africa in which rights are respected and exercised and where the wellbeing of the people is secure. The current situation of Africa with its 54 neocolonial states born out of colonialism during the second half of the last century is a challenging one in which most states are predominantly subject to the dictates of global capital characterized by massive exploitation of natural resources, particularly minerals and oil, leading to the impoverishment of the majority of the population.

The situation of global African workers in other parts of the world, particularly in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East is also marked by exploitation, domination, oppression, subjugation and subordination that spans several centuries.

ITUC-Africa demands a united Africa; an Africa that is independent, strong, purposeful and one which provides a safe home to all its people; an Africa where development is anchored on the principles of democratic participation, transparent management of its natural resources and equitable distribution of wealth, creation of decent and sustainable jobs, rights at work, gender equality and social inclusion. The vision of ITUC-Africa is to achieve a united, representative, democratic and independent regional trade union organisation that works for the welfare of all African workers, in a world where everyone can realize their full potentials under conditions of freedom, equality and social justice.

Trade unions have the potential to be among the most representative, democratic and powerful organisations with the ability to drive social transformation. But there is a great deal to address in our trade unions before we can impact on what happens in our societies at large. Thus, trade unions must do their own self-reflection and overcome their internal governance challenges relating to democratic participation and accountability. Our unions must become places where women can fully participate and play a meaningful role leading our movement; a place where young people can be politically educated, respected and given opportunities to build their leadership skills; and where all workers can feel that they have finally come home.

There is thus much to gain from organizing and uniting Africa’s working people, in empowering the youth and women and harnessing the creative energies of all to rally behind the goal of a peaceful, socially just and economically prosperous Africa.

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